Consider an 8-year mortgage to build equity faster

House and calculator atop $20 bills

You can never be too rich or have a mortgage that’s too short.

Although most homeowners looking for a new loan consider 15 years to be the shortest possible mortgage, it isn’t.

Some lenders will give you a fully-amortizing loan that requires your entire debt to be repaid in as little as eight years.

You won’t get a dramatically lower interest rate by opting for a super-short home loan. Lenders charge about the same as they do for 15-year loans.

But if you can afford the outsized monthly payments, it works like an enforced savings plan with a big payoff at the end -- owning your home free and clear.

That kind of commitment makes particularly good sense for homeowners who are close to retirement and don’t want to worry about a loan payment after they quit working.

If you’re considering a reverse mortgage to supplement your retirement income, you’ll have to pay off your existing home loan before you can qualify.

Although 8-year mortgages are widely available in Europe and even Canada, you’ll have to hunt around to find them in the United States.

We’ve recently seen Quicken Loans offering super-short loans, as well as some smaller lenders.

A Connecticut credit union, for example, was recently charging 3.99% for an 8-year loan with no points -- which was actually a little bit more than the 3.875% it was charging for a 15-year loan with no points.

Let’s say you wanted to pay off a balance of $100,000 on your home.

With an 8-year loan, the monthly payments for principal and interest would be $1,218.

You can use our mortgage calculator to figure out the monthly payments for any fixed-rate loan.

Over the life of the loan, you’d make 96 payments totaling just under $117,000, of which just $17,000 is interest.

If you borrowed the same $100,000 with a 15-year, fixed-rate loan from that credit union, the monthly payments would be just $733, or nearly $500 less.

But it would take another seven years to repay the loan and cost $33,000 in interest, or $16,000 more than with the super-short loan.

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