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What's the difference between a 15-year and 30-year mortgage?
A 15-year mortgage is designed to be paid off over 15 years. A 30-year mortgage is structured to be paid in full in 30 years. The interest rate is lower on a 15-year mortgage, and because the term is half as long, you'll pay a lot less interest over the life of the loan. Of course, that means your payment will be higher, too, than with a 30-year mortgage.
When to consider a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage
The main draws of 15-year fixed-rate loans are their lower interest rates and the fact that they'll be paid off more quickly. Like any fixed-rate loan, they also offer stability; the monthly payment won’t change no matter what happens to inflation or market interest rates.
But the monthly payment will be much higher than that of a 30-year loan for the same property due to the shorter term, and that will make it harder to qualify for the loan.
When to consider a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage
You can likely claim a sizable tax deduction based on interest payments for your 30-year loan, especially in the early years, when most of your payments go toward interest. And because it's a fixed-rate loan, you’ll pay the same amount every month. However, if you don’t plan to stay put for several years, or if you want a lower rate, a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage or an adjustable-rate mortgage might be a better option.
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