What is a 15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage?
The X amount of years can be a big deciding factor when choosing your mortgage. The most common fixed mortgage terms are 15 and 30 years, though some go up to 40 years and some can be as low as 10 years, depending on the amount of the loan and your monthly payments
15-year mortgages typically have fixed interest rates, which means you’ll pay the same amount every month, every year (though taxes and insurance costs may change). They’re also usually amortizing loans, which means that you pay the principal + interest in one monthly rate.
Compare the Top 5 Lenders for 15-Year Mortgages
The Pros and Cons of a 15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
Rate History and Trends
While 15-year mortgages come with fixed rates, there are different types of loans that will affect your rates and APR. Bear in mind that rates change from day-to-day, so don’t be surprised if you get different quotes on different days or weeks.
Below is a table with the April 2018 rates for different types of 15-year loans. These rates are for people with excellent FICO scores (740+) and for single-family houses. Your personal rate will depend on a number of factors, including your credit score, cost of the house, your down payment, and more.
Conventional 15-Year Fixed Rate
-.04% to .04%
15-Year Fixed Rate FHA Loan
15-Year Fixed Rate VA Loan
15-Year Fixed Rate Jumbo Loan
Top 5 Lenders for 15-Year Mortgage
Minimum down payment: 5% (with PMI), 20% (without PMI)
LendingTree is a loan marketplace that allows you to search its network of 350+ partners and find the mortgage that’s best for you. Using LendingTree is free and doesn’t affect your credit score, which means you can search risk-free for the best 15-year loans out there. What’s more, because it has so many partners, you can find the best loans to suit your specific financial situation and repayment needs.
- Checks your credit score for you
- One form for multiple lenders
- 15-year loan offers in minutes
Best for: Borrowers looking to compare rates and options quickly
Best perk: 5 free quotes
Minimum down payment: 5%
Quicken Loans offers up to $3 million in loans for qualifying borrowers, and both the application and approval process go very quickly due to the top-rated technology Quicken Loans uses. Rates are updated on a daily basis, so don’t be surprised to receive different quotes on different days. The upside is, Quicken offers a large variety of mortgage options, including 15-year options, and has specific loans for low-credit situations.
- Minimum down payment of 3% on government back loans, 5% on conventional loans%
- Fast online application
- Live chat
Best for: Tech-friendly borrowers who want access on all their devices
Best perk: Low-credit option
Minimum down payment: 10% (without PMI)
SoFi appeals to today’s new crop of professionals through its all-digital platforms and nontraditional underwriting criteria.
With more than half a million users and a philosophy that seeks to break the mold on rigid, old-school lending, So-Fi offers unique benefits like an entirely digital platform, a streamlined application process with personal loan officers, and community-based resources. Down payments are low as 10% and mortgages include 15- and 30-year fixed mortgages as well as refinancing and student loans.
So-Fi’s goal of creating a new model of lending materializes in its mission to harbor a community of informed and confident members. Be sure to check out its member guides, tutorials, and other resources.
Best for: Self-employed purchasers or those with RSUs
Best perk: Fully-digital application with assistance from mortgage loan officers
Minimum down payment: 5%
Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans is a good option for borrowers in different financial situations, and even accepts down payments as low as 3% on government back loans and 5% on conventional loans. Both the application and approval for 15-year loans are done online, and the site allows you to e-sign all of the relevant paperwork. Before you decide which loan you want, you can easily compare loan options online and contact the customer support team, which is available nearly around the clock.
- Fast paced automated platform
- Personalized quotes
- Mobile application
Best for: Borrowers who want to do everything online
Best perk: Entirely online
Minimum down payment: 20% (without PMI)
Freedom Mortgage is perhaps one of the most well-known, trusted names in the lending industry. Its loan application is simple and straightforward; you can fill it out easily online or call a customer service representative to walk you through. While Freedom Mortgage does charge an origination fee for 15-year mortgages, it’s lower than most of its competitors. The customer support team is knowledgeable and can inform you whether you may qualify for federal financing programs, and then help you through the process.
- Low origination fees for 15-year mortgages
- In-person and online service
- Mortgage educational tools
Best for: Borrowers looking for an automated application and loan processing
Best perk: Excellent customer service
Is a 15-Year Mortgage Best For You?
A 15-year mortgage is good if you:
- Can afford higher monthly payments
- Can consistently pay on time
- Want to own a home faster
- Have money left to spend on daily necessities and saving after making payments
Unlike 15-year fixed rate mortgages, standard 30-year mortgages are better for people looking for lower monthly payments—but they come with higher interest. If you have the income to afford a higher monthly payment that will come with a 15-year mortgage, you’ll develop equity more quickly and pay less over the course of your loan for a home of equal value.
How to Apply?
If you use any of the above 5 lending institutions to apply for a 15-year mortgage, the application process is fairly easy.
- Fill out your personal information online (name, date of birth, location of house, cost of house, credit score) and the size of your down payment. In most situations, you can pre-qualify in a matter of minutes.
- Once you pre-qualify and are shown various loan options, you can then choose the loan that suits you best.
- Then you’ll need to provide more detailed information in order to actually qualify for the loan, such as:
- Proof of income, such as pay stubs
- Tax documentation
- Disclosure of debts, assets, and other paperwork proving your financial standing
- Copies of your most recent credit card statements
While many lenders allow you to upload the paperwork online, you can also reach out to a customer service representative for whichever company you choose. Because taking out a mortgage is a big decision, it can be reassuring to speak to a knowledgeable rep and get advice that might not be included on the website.
A 15-year mortgage is a good option for anyone who can afford relatively high monthly payments and who is eager to pay off their loans quickly. 15-year mortgages typically have lower interest rates than 30-year mortgages, which can save borrowers money in the long term. However, before jumping into anything, it’s important to review your finances and make sure that you will indeed be able to make significant monthly payments consistently for the next 15 years. Compare the top lenders and read up about their features to get the terms that are right for you.