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I have never been a homeowner but have considered taking the plunge the last few years. And when thinking of 15 vs 30, seems to me 30 makes more sense, for the same reason I opt for the longest auto loan I can get. I do this to get the lowest monthly payment possible. With the full intention of paying off much more than the monthly minimum due. But with the knowledge that I don't have to, if something comes up and I lose my job or have to come out of pocket unexpectedly for something very expensive and want my monthly bills/obligations to be as cheap as possible if/when life happens.
I know the downside to longer term limits for a house or car is you likely get saddled with a higher interest rate. So at that point, its just a math equation to be worked out. To see which route accrues the most overall interest paid during what time frame. If they are same interest rate, I would always go 30. If its way higher, 15 would start to look way more attractive.
If you plan to pay your mortgage off in 15 years anyways, and know you can without any issue, and you get a much better interest rate with a 15 year vs 30, then it makes sense. And especially makes sense if you plan to pay a 15 year off even sooner. Like 5 or 10 years. But if you live more modestly, want a house but are still working with paying off debt or don't have the most secure job or a lot of savings, then as long as the interest rates are close to the same with a 30 vs 15, I would go that route, if you have determined you should be getting into a mortgage in the first place.
Is there any appeal to getting a 15 year over 30 outside of a lower interest rate? Why not just get the 30 year but pay it off like its a 15 year, with the freedom of a lower monthly obligation in case something comes up? Just pay something like double your 30 year mortgage payment every month, which would all go the principle anyways, and be done in roughly 15 years either way. As long as your mortgage loan doesn't have prepayment penalties... I think that would be the only other issue/downside I can think of.