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
|Lender||APR||Required Credit Score||Best Feature|
Starts at 3.75%
Varies per lender
Up to 5 free quotes
At least 620
Respected name in the industry
At least 600
Multiple loan options in an easy to read table
Everything can be done online or via mobile
Starts at 4.086% but changes frequently
The Pros and Cons of a 15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
|Own your home faster||Higher monthly payments|
|Get lower interest rates||You may qualify for less expensive properties only|
|Save money||Lose out on possible interest reduction due to fixed rate|
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. In 2017, 15-year interest rates ranged from 3.11% in September to 3.41% in March, averaging 3.28% for the year.
Below is a table with the current rates (as of April 30, 2018) 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.
|Loan||Rate||1-Week Rate Change||1-Week APR Change|
Conventional 15-Year Fixed Rate
-.04% to .04%
-.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: 20% (without PMI)
J.G. Wentworth 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 J.G. Wentworth 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
Minimum credit score: 620 for conventional loans
You can apply for an AmeriSave mortgage online or by phone; when you apply online, you just type in some information (cost of house, amount of loan, credit score, etc.) and you’ll get a detailed listing of the best possible loans available. AmeriSave also has excellent resources to help you figure out which 15-year mortgage is best for you, as well as 500 mortgage specialists on call for your convenience.
- Competitive interest rates for 15-year mortgages
- Online mortgage calculators
- Credit scores of 620+
Best for: Borrowers who want quotes without sharing personal information
Best perk: Easy to understand quotes comparison
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 onlineVisit Rocket Mortgage
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
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.