How to Pay Off a 30-Year Mortgage in 15 Years

How to Pay Off a 30-Year Mortgage in 15 Years: Tips and Tricks

Want to know how to pay off a 30-year mortgage in 15 years? A homeowner can use one of a few strategies to pay off a home loan early and save a boatload of interest.

Here’s what you need to know about how to pay a 30-year mortgage in 15 years and what to consider before you do.

Paying Off a 30 Year Mortgage Faster

When you start paying on a 30-year mortgage, most of your payment will go toward interest rather than the principal (the amount you borrowed). This makes it hard to pay down your mortgage and build equity.

Over time, the percentage of your payment that goes toward interest vs. principal will change. Toward the end of your 30-year loan, you will pay more toward the principal than interest. This is what’s known as mortgage amortization.

Instead of following the amortization schedule, paying more on your mortgage — in one way or another — will reduce the principal more quickly, which means you’ll pay less interest on your loan.

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster?

Paying off your mortgage faster may give you a sense of accomplishment and save you a lot of money in interest charges, but if it takes you further away from your financial goals, it may not be worth it to you. Consider what you value most before deciding to put extra money toward paying off your mortgage.

Recommended: Is is Smart to Pay Off a Mortgage Early?

Pros and Cons of Paying Off Your Mortgage Early

Paying off a 30-year mortgage in 15 years has benefits, but in some cases, it may not make sense to. Consider these pros and cons.



Higher monthly payment
Own your home outright sooner You will lose the home mortgage interest tax deduction (if you itemize)
Ultimately no mortgage payment
Build equity faster Less money available for retirement, higher-interest debt, a rainy day fund, etc.
Save money on interest Gains by investing could trump interest saved

Factors to Consider Before Paying Off Your Mortgage Faster

While paying off your mortgage early — a few zealous borrowers aim to pay off a mortgage in five years — can save you tens of thousands of dollars in interest, the lost opportunities from not having money readily available for other things could be more valuable. Think about:

•   Have I been contributing enough to my retirement plans as an employee?

•   Have I been funding retirement as a self-employed person?

•   Do I have three to six months of expenses, or more, if my personal situation calls for it, in an emergency fund?

•   Am I able to secure a lower rate or shorter term for a refinance to pay off my mortgage faster? Would a cash-out refinance make sense?

•   Do I have higher-interest debt like credit card debt or student loans I should tackle first?

•   Have I set up a college fund for the kids?

•   Does my mortgage carry a prepayment penalty (unlikely for loans originated after January 2014)?

How to Pay Off a 30-Year Mortgage Faster

There are at least three methods to pay off a 30-year mortgage in 15 years if that’s your goal.

Make Extra Principal Payments

Paying more toward principal is the primary way to pay off a 30-year mortgage early.

Here’s an example of how interest adds up: Assuming you buy a $350,000 house and put 10% down on a 30-year mortgage at 5.5%, this mortgage calculator shows that total interest will be $328,870. Even by the 120th payment, you will have paid only $55,000 of the $315,000 principal and will have paid nearly $160,000 in interest.

Putting just $200 more per month toward principal, you’d save $80,837 in interest and pay off the mortgage six years and four months earlier.

Switch to Biweekly Payments

Biweekly payments are half-payments made every two weeks instead of a full payment once a month. Making biweekly payments instead of monthly payments results in one additional payment each year.

Using the example above, making one full, extra mortgage payment each year will reduce the amount of time it takes to pay off your 30-year mortgage by five years.

Look Into Refinancing

Refinancing your loan into one with a lower interest rate and/or a shorter term can help you pay off your mortgage faster. A shorter term usually comes with a lower interest rate, so you’re saving on interest while also paying your mortgage off sooner than 30 years.

Refinancing to a lower interest rate will reduce your monthly mortgage payment, so if you continue to make the higher payment, you’ll pay your mortgage off faster.

Recommended: Mortgage Questions for Your Lender

The Takeaway

There are a few ways to pay off a 30-year mortgage in 15 years. Paying off your mortgage early will result in substantial interest savings, but the tradeoff for many borrowers is not having extra money to put toward retirement and other purposes.

Whether you’re on the path to paying off your mortgage or shopping for a new mortgage, SoFi is here to help. SoFi offers traditional refinancing and cash-out refinancing. SoFi Mortgages come with competitive rates, flexible terms, and Mortgage Loan Officers who can help.

Take a look at SoFi home mortgage loans, and then get your own rate quote.


Is it cheaper to pay off a 30-year mortgage in 15 years?

The amount of interest you’ll save by paying off your mortgage in 15 years instead of 30 is substantial.

Why shouldn’t you pay off your mortgage early?

Homeowners who haven’t fully funded their retirement accounts, who don’t have an emergency fund, or who have other debt with high interest rates may not want to pay off a mortgage early. Also, those who think they can earn a better return on their money with investments may not want to pay off their mortgage early. (They need to keep in mind that past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.)

How do you pay off a 30-year mortgage in half the time?

Paying more toward the principal early in the mortgage can help you cut the amount of time you spend paying on your mortgage in half. The good news is you don’t have to make double payments to cut the amount of time you pay on your mortgage in half. Because each payment will reduce the principal, you will pay less overall.

Are biweekly mortgage payments a good idea?

Biweekly mortgage payments, or half-payments made every two weeks, will add a full mortgage payment every year. Using this method can take a few years off your mortgage.

Photo credit: iStock/everydayplus

SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See for more information.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see Equal Housing Lender.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.


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How Much a $300,000 Mortgage Will Cost You

How Much Will a $300,000 Mortgage Cost You?

If you plan to take out a $300,000 mortgage, the costs of the loan can vary considerably based on your rate, term, property tax and insurance costs, and whether you need mortgage insurance.

Read on to learn how much a $300,000 mortgage could cost over the life of the loan.

What Are the Monthly Payments on a $300k Mortgage?

In April 2022, Redfin found that the monthly mortgage payment on the median asking price home had risen 39% from a year earlier, thanks to rising mortgage rates.

Ouch. But calculating the average monthly payment on $300,000 mortgages is not straightforward.

The lower the interest rate, the lower the monthly mortgage payment, holding other loan terms constant. The interest rate can be calculated differently for different types of mortgages. For instance, fixed-rate mortgages maintain a steady interest rate, whereas an adjustable-rate mortgage fluctuates over time based on market conditions.

The mortgage term also affects mortgage costs. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is by far the most popular choice, but a 15-year loan translates to a higher monthly cost for a $300,000 mortgage yet much less total interest paid.

Owning a home comes with annual property taxes based on the local tax rate and the home’s assessed value, which can change over time. Generally, this expense is divided across your monthly mortgage payments.

Your down payment also matters. Borrowers putting less than 20% down on a conventional mortgage usually need to pay for private mortgage insurance, often 0.5% to 1.5% of the original loan amount per year, until the mortgage balance reaches 80% (homeowner requests cancellation) or 78% of the home’s value, or the mortgage hits the halfway point of the loan term.

FHA loans require mortgage insurance premiums, which will last for the whole loan term if your down payment is less than 10%. MIP ranges from 0.45% to 1.05% of the loan balance, divided by 12 and added to your monthly payments.

Homeowners insurance is typically required by mortgage lenders regardless of the down payment amount.

How Much Income Is Needed to Qualify?

When taking out a home loan, lenders often ask for proof of consistent income, such as W-2s. But income is just one aspect of your personal finances a lender will evaluate to determine if you qualify for a mortgage on a $300,000 house.

Lenders use borrowers’ debt-to-income ratio to get a more holistic assessment of their ability to make monthly payments. DTI is calculated by dividing your monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income, then coming up with a percentage.

For example, if you gross $5,000 a month and have a $400 car payment and a $600 student loan bill, your DTI ratio is 20%.

A DTI ratio of 43% is usually the highest a borrower can have to obtain a qualified mortgage, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. However, lenders may prefer a lower DTI ratio — usually below 36% — for greater certainty that borrowers can afford their mortgage payments.

Programs like the FHA loan and Fannie Mae HomeReady® loan allow a DTI of up to 50% when compensating factors like a higher credit score exist.

Your credit history is another important factor to qualify for a mortgage on a $300k house, and will determine the rate you’ll pay.

How Much of a Down Payment Is Needed?

So how much do you have to put down for a $300k mortgage? The traditional ideal of a 20% down payment is not always necessary or doable. In fact, the latest median down payment is 13%.

How much you need for a down payment depends on the mortgage type, the lender, and if you’re planning to occupy or rent the property.

This is how much you’ll need to put down for different loan types.

•   Conventional loan: As little as 3% down for a primary residence. Buying a second home or investment property typically calls for at least 10% down and 25% down, respectively.

•   FHA loan: As little as 3.5% down if your credit score is 580 or higher. Borrowers with lower credit scores will need to put down at least 10%.

•   VA loan: Usually available with no down payment. This option is only available for active and veteran service members and some surviving spouses.

•   USDA loan: No down payment required. Eligibility is based on income and buying a home in a designated rural area.

But do down payment requirements change for different types of houses?

If you’re planning on buying a duplex or up to four units, you’d still qualify for residential financing, with the same parameters, if you plan to live in one of the units.

Recommended: A Guide to Buying a Single-Family Home

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.

What Are the Parts of a Mortgage Payment?

What you pay to your lender each month includes more than just what you owe on the loan. The mortgage payment consists of the principal, interest, and potentially, escrow costs.


The principal portion of the mortgage payment goes toward gradually paying the amount initially loaned to you.

When you start making mortgage payments, the amount paid toward the principal is somewhat low. Over time, greater proportions of each monthly payment will chip away at the principal balance.


The interest rate — how much you’re being charged to borrow the money — is determined by the type of loan, your personal finances, and market factors outside your control.

Borrowers with high credit scores are usually able to snag the best rates. Just a 1% increase in mortgage rate can add tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a 30-year loan.

The bulk of the mortgage payment goes toward interest at the beginning of an amortized loan.

You may be able to recoup some of the interest cost through the mortgage interest deduction.


Most lenders require an escrow account to roll tax and insurance bills into monthly mortgage payments. This includes property taxes, homeowners insurance, and, if applicable, mortgage insurance.

How Much Interest Will Be Paid on a $300k Mortgage?

If you have a fixed-rate loan, the total interest can be easily calculated for the life of the loan. Borrowers with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 5.6% APR would pay about $320,000 in interest on a $300,000 home loan.

Shortening the loan term to 15 years and getting a rate of 4.8% APR would reduce the total interest paid to $121,302.

With an adjustable-rate mortgage, the interest rate can change over time with market conditions.

Try out this mortgage payment calculator to see how much you might pay in interest with different rates and down payments. You can also toggle the amortization chart on a desktop.

How Much Is the Mortgage on a $300k House?

Using the previous example of a 30-year fixed-rate loan with a 5.6% annual percentage rate, the principal and interest would be $1,720 per month, and would total about $620,000 over the 30 years. To capture the full mortgage cost, you also need to estimate the tax and insurance costs.

•   PMI (if applicable): often 0.5% to 1.5% of the original loan amount but up to 2.25%. Assuming a 1% rate, monthly PMI would be $250, with $21,303 the total amount of PMI you’d pay until you reach 20% equity.

•   Homeowners insurance: $2,305 on average annually, or $192 per month.

•   Property taxes: 0.28% to 2.49% of assessed value on average, depending on U.S. state. Most states have a homestead exemption that gives homeowners a tax break.

Recommended: A Guide to Mortgage Relief Programs

How to Get a $300k Mortgage

Prospective homebuyers can take steps to help qualify for a $300k mortgage and obtain more favorable terms.

•   Budget: First, it’s important to estimate how much you can afford.

•   Check your credit: Assess your credit history and take care of any late payments to improve your FICO® scores.

•   Get pre-approved: Starting the mortgage pre-approval process with one or more lenders gives you tentative approval for a loan amount and type, making you a more competitive buyer.

   Consider the interest rate, fees, and closing costs among lenders when shopping for a mortgage.

•   Make an offer: When you find a home that meets your needs and budget, consult with a real estate agent to submit an offer with your pre-approval letter.

•   Apply for the mortgage and get loan estimates: Now that you have a property address, you might want to request loan estimates from a number of lenders. A loan estimate is a three-page standard form that details the loan after you apply for a mortgage. Applying with more than one lender within 14 to 45 days counts as a single credit inquiry.

•   Choose a lender, and wait for the lender to verify your finances and appraise the property to underwrite the loan.

•   Close the deal: Get your cash to close and homeowners insurance ready and finalize the paperwork to close on your $300,000 mortgage.

Recommended: SoFi’s 2022 Home Loan Help Center

Where to Get a $300k Mortgage

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and others recommend getting quotes from multiple lenders. Buyers can choose from banks, credit unions, online lenders, and mortgage brokers to finance a home purchase.

While we’ve identified the interest rate and loan term as key information to compare, keep an eye out for fees paid directly to the lender, like origination fees and mortgage points.

The Takeaway

How much will a $300,000 mortgage cost you? The interest rate, loan term, insurance costs, and taxes will determine the amount you pay each month and over the life of the loan.

As you begin comparing lenders, give SoFi a look. SoFi fixed rate mortgage loans require as little as 3% down for qualifying first-time homebuyers.

Check your rate in just minutes


How much is a $300,000 mortgage per month?

The monthly payment on a $300,000 mortgage depends on the loan length, interest rate, whether mortgage insurance is required, and more.

How much do I need to earn to get a mortgage of $300,000?

The required annual income to get a $300,000 mortgage is affected by your other debts and the down payment amount.

Can I get a $300,000 mortgage with a bad credit history?

You might be able to obtain a $300,000 mortgage with subpar credit, but the terms may be less competitive. For instance, borrowers with credit scores from 500 to 579 could be eligible for FHA loans, but they’ll have to make a down payment of at least 10% instead of 3.5%.

Photo credit: iStock/Vertigo3d

SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See for more information.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see Equal Housing Lender.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .


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Should I Pay Off My Mortgage or Invest?

Should I Pay Off My Mortgage or Invest?

Is it better to pay off a mortgage or invest? The answer will depend on your financial situation, but let’s look at pros and cons of each along with a strategy that can allow you to combine the best of both worlds.

Paying Off a Mortgage vs. Investing in the Market

How Does a Mortgage Loan Work?

In general, someone borrows money from a lender to buy a house at a certain interest rate and term length. As payments are regularly made (usually monthly), part of each payment goes toward the principal, lowering the balance. As the balance goes down, more of each payment typically goes toward the principal.

Further reading:

•  the different mortgage types

•  tips for shopping for a mortgage

•  the value of getting mortgage pre-approval

•  how to get answers to common mortgage questions

Components of a Mortgage Payment

You may hear the components of a mortgage payment summarized in an acronym: PITI. This stands for principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.


Initially, your principal is the amount of money you borrow. As you pay down your loan, the principal is the remaining (current) balance. When it comes to the mortgage loan payments themselves, the principal is the portion of the payment that goes toward the balance, reducing the amount. As the balance goes down, more of your payment goes toward the principal and less to interest.


The interest is based on the interest rate charged on the loan’s principal, and these dollars go to the lender, serving as a key part of the cost of borrowing. As your loan balance goes down, less of your payment typically goes toward interest. Most mortgage loans have a fixed interest rate; others are variable, based on a certain financial index.

Move your cursor on the amortization chart of this mortgage calculator tool to see how principal and interest change over time.

Taxes and Insurance

A mortgage payment typically contains a month’s worth of property tax, which is based on the assessed value of the home and the tax rate where you live. A payment also may include a month’s worth of homeowners insurance and, if applicable, mortgage insurance that protects the lender in case of default.

Investment Gains vs Loan Interest Saved

At a high level, to determine which strategy can have the biggest positive financial impact, you can compare what investment gains you’ve had (or estimate future gains) and compare that to how much interest you would save when paying down your mortgage more quickly.

Pros and Cons of Paying Off Your Mortgage Early

Pros include the following:

•  You won’t have a mortgage payment anymore, which frees up money for other purposes: investing, paying for a child’s college expenses or wedding, and so forth.

•  You no longer have to worry about having the funds to make your payment. This can be especially helpful if unexpected expenses arise.

•  Typically, paying off your mortgage early will lower the amount of money that you pay in total interest — which means that you’ll pay back less on your mortgage overall.

•  Paying off your mortgage can give you a real sense of accomplishment, and if you pay it off early, those feelings can be magnified.

•  If you need to borrow against the home in the future, none of the proceeds will be needed to pay off a current mortgage.

Here’s more about paying off a mortgage early.

Cons include the following:

•  Depending on the current stock market return and the rate you’re paying on your mortgage, it could be more financially advantageous to keep making regular payments and then invest available funds.

•  Your credit score could drop a bit because you’ll no longer have a mortgage in your mix of open types of credit.

•  Focusing on rapidly paying off a mortgage may cause someone to drain their emergency savings fund, something that’s not typically recommended.

•  Although uncommon now, some lenders charge a prepayment penalty for early mortgage payoffs. When this clause exists, it’s for the first three years of a mortgage. Check your mortgage note for specifics, or ask your lender or loan servicer.

•  When you no longer have a mortgage, you no longer qualify for the mortgage interest tax deduction.

Pros and Cons of Investing

Pros include the following:

•  Many times, when you buy shares of stock, you can get a good return on your investment in the long term. To get a sense of current returns, you can check the 10-year annualized return for the S&P 500.

•  Nowadays, it is easier than ever to invest in the stock market. You can use a broker in person or invest online. If a share of a stock of interest is too expensive, you can often buy fractional shares of that stock.

•  If you’re in a workplace retirement plan, like a 401(k), your employer may match your contributions up to a certain amount.

•  Stocks are liquid assets, which means that you can buy and sell at any time with low transaction costs. So, if you need cash, you can sell stock shares for that purpose. Plus, some stocks will provide you with dividends that you can reinvest or spend.

•  Numerous strategies exist, including actively participating in trading or keeping stocks in your portfolio with the hopes of long-term growth.

Cons include the following:

•  Regarding the “hopes” of long-term growth, when investing in stocks, you could lose your entire investment in a stock, including the initial investment. If you’re a common stockholder, you get paid last if a company defaults.

•  If you’re managing your own portfolio, you’ll need to invest time into investigating stocks, deciding what to buy and sell, and otherwise monitoring the stock market.

•  If you sell stocks at a profit, you’ll usually need to pay capital gains tax (although this can be offset through losses).

•  While investing, you’ll still need to make your mortgage payment (until the home is paid off).

•  Depending on your personality type, watching stock values in your portfolio go down can be an emotional experience, and it may take time to figure out how often you should check that portfolio. Too often, and it can stress you out unnecessarily. Too little, and you may miss key trading information.

Evaluating Your Financial Situation

This involves calculating two key figures: your net worth and your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). To determine your net worth, add up all of your assets (what you own) and subtract your liabilities (what you owe). Assets include your home’s value, vehicles, bank accounts, investments, and cash. Do not include your income. Liabilities are your mortgage, car, personal and student loans, credit card balances, and so forth. This figure can be positive (you own more than you owe) or negative (you owe more than you own), with a financial goal often being to increase your net worth.

For the second metric — your DTI — add up your gross (pre-tax) monthly income as well as your monthly debt obligations, such as your mortgage, car payment, and other loan payments. Divide your total monthly debt by your total gross monthly income, and the resulting ratio (say, 0.30 or 30%) is your DTI. When you have a lower DTI (say, under 30% or even 20%), this indicates more cash flow to either put toward your mortgage or to invest.

Factors You Should Put Into Consideration

The earlier you can begin to pay down your mortgage, the more you’ll likely benefit. That’s when more of your mortgage payment normally goes toward the interest.

That said, the earlier you can begin to invest, the longer you’ll have for your investments to build in value. Plus, because of compound interest, each dollar that you invest today will be worth more than a dollar that you would invest years from now.

Starting in 2018 and set to last through 2025, the federal government nearly doubled the amount of the standard deduction that taxpayers can claim. This means that far fewer people itemize their deductions, which in turn means that the mortgage interest deduction isn’t used by those taxpayers when they file their income taxes.

If real estate values are dropping in your area, paying down your mortgage can help you from going underwater (owing more on the home than what it’s currently worth). Being underwater can make it more difficult to sell or refinance the home. Struggling homeowners can look for mortgage relief programs.

Other Considerations

To this point, the post has largely focused on this question: Is it better to pay off a mortgage or invest? Let’s take a step back and look at issues to consider before doing either. First, do you have an emergency savings fund that could cover your monthly expenses for three to six months? If not, that’s a priority often recommended by experts.

Plus, if you have high-interest debt, such as credit card balances that you don’t pay off each month, it’s usually better to pay that off before paying extra on your mortgage or investing.

Another strategy: You could consider refinancing your mortgage to a lower rate to lower your mortgage payment. Then, when you put extra money toward the balance, even more would go to the principal than when the interest rate was higher.

Deciding What’s Best for You

Pay off house or invest? Perhaps the information provided has already allowed you to make a decision. However, there’s one more strategy to consider: doing both.

Best of Both Worlds: Funding Both at Once

Instead of simply considering two options, pay off mortgage or invest, another possibility meets in the middle: making additional contributions to your retirement investments while also paying extra on your mortgage principal. This is most effective early on, but adds value through the life of the mortgage.

If the stock market becomes especially volatile or is significantly heading downward, you could focus on the mortgage paydown during that time period.

The Takeaway

Pay off the mortgage or invest? It depends on your financial situation and priorities. Each choice has pros and cons, but a best-of-both-worlds strategy is to do both.

If you are seeking a new mortgage loan or want to refinance, more information is available at the SoFi help center for home loans.

SoFi Mortgages are designed to fit your needs: competitive rates, a variety of terms, and down payments as low as 3% for qualifying first-time homebuyers.

Look into SoFi’s home loan rates today.


Is there any disadvantage to paying off your mortgage early?

If a mortgage note includes a prepayment penalty, this can cost you money. Other disadvantages are loss of the mortgage interest tax deduction and a potential drop in credit scores. Plus, it may be more advantageous to invest those dollars instead.

Should I pay off my mortgage or save money?

It depends! Look at the pros and cons of paying off a mortgage and the pros and cons of investing and make the best decision for your financial situation.

Is it better to pay off my mortgage or invest for retirement?

Ideally, you can do both. If that’s not financially possible right now, look at the pros and cons sections to review factors to consider in making your decision.

Should I invest when I have a mortgage and other debts?

Benefits definitely exist when you can invest and make extra payments on your mortgage. If doing both isn’t possible right now, explore pros and cons described in this post to create your strategy. If “other debts” include high-interest debt, such as credit cards that aren’t paid off in full each month, it typically makes sense to prioritize the payoff of that debt.

Photo credit: iStock/burcu saritas

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See for more information.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.


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10 Step Guide to Building Your Own Home

10-Step Guide to Building Your Own Home

Most people in the market for a new dwelling will buy an existing home that more or less fits their needs.
Condo. Townhouse. Single-family home. Modular or manufactured home. Cabin or even houseboat. A house hunter has all of those types of homes to choose from.

But new homes don’t come with the problems that old homes might, from lead paint to a kitchen crying out for remodeling. And building a house may seem attractive because you can construct it to fit your specifications, from the number of bathrooms to building an outdoor kitchen.

If you’re ready to build your own house, here are the steps to take.

10 Steps to Building Your Own Home

1. Find a Location

The first thing you’ll need to do is find a site that’s zoned for a residential property. Look into local building regulations to see how much of the site you are allowed to build on and how far from property lines the building must be set back. Check ordinances that might limit size or height. Is there an HOA? Scour the rules.

It’s generally suggested that you not spend more than 20% of your total budget on the building site. When you purchase the land, you will acquire a property deed, which will also act as the house deed.

2. Obtain Permits

Before a shovelful of earth is turned, the local building department must OK the plans and provide permits for the whole shebang: grading, zoning, construction, electrical work, plumbing, and more. When the permits are in hand, construction can start.

On a related note, at various points during construction, the home will need to be inspected for code compliance. Your lender may also send an inspector to keep track of construction status before releasing payments from a construction loan.

3. Prep the Site and Your Finances

Site Prep

Before you start building, you’ll need to prepare the building site. You’ll want to be sure that soil conditions are stable. You may want to engage a civil engineer to give the site a look.

A site surveyor can stake the property boundaries. Then you’ll need to clear brush and debris at least to 25 feet around the planned perimeter of the house.

Size and Cost

The cost of building a house averaged $280,580 in mid-2022, according to HomeAdvisor, the directory of service pros, but the site gave a typical range of $112,500 to $449,000. Obviously location, materials, and level of detail affect the bottom line.

But size is the biggie. The larger the build, the more labor and material costs you should expect. The average new home in the country has about 2,200 square feet at $150 per square foot, HomeAdvisor noted.

After the peak of the pandemic, months long delays to receive materials, from appliances to garage doors, had raised construction costs. Oil prices had significantly increased transportation expense. Rising inflation and interest rates were making their mark. All of which is to say the numbers are a moving target.

Finance Options

When you build a home, you may need a loan that covers the purchase of land, buying materials, and hiring labor. In this case, you may want to look into a construction loan. Unlike mortgages, construction loans are not secured by an existing home, so approval might be tricky and take a bit longer.

The money is paid to your builder in installments. You’ll often only pay interest on the portion of the loan that has been withdrawn. After the typical 12 to 18 months of a construction-only loan, the usual route is to take out a mortgage and pay off the construction loan.

Other financing options are a home equity loan, if you already own a home.

A personal loan of up to $100,000 can pay for part of the construction (or maybe all, for a modest build).

If you’re buying the land, FHA one-time close loans cover the lot purchase, construction, and permanent mortgage. But the loans can be hard to find and are tougher to qualify for than traditional FHA loans.

Check out these additional resources for homeowners.

Choosing Materials

Only an experienced and highly organized person may want to act as their own general contractor for a new house build. Most people will put the job in a contractor’s hands, and add 20% to 30% for the cost of materials and labor.

General contractors already have priced and sourced many of the materials when making a bid. They usually have relationships with wholesale distributors, lumberyards, and retailers.

That said, you may have some skills that you could apply to cut costs. For example, you could look into how much it costs to paint a house and determine if painting the home’s interior could help you save.

Building a Work Team

If you choose to fly solo, you’ll be on the hook for finding subcontractors yourself.

A general contractor will hire all of the team members needed to complete the project and charge 20% to 30% of the overall cost of the home. However, they also typically have regular relationships with subcontractors, who may charge them less than they would a person who hires them on a one-off basis.

As a result, you may not end up saving much or any money by finding subcontractors yourself.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.

4. Pour the Foundation

Once the building site is cleared, construction can begin, starting with the foundation. Some houses are built on level slabs of concrete that are poured on the ground, leaving space in which to run utilities, like plumbing and electrical.

A home with a full basement requires that a hole is dug and that footings and foundation walls are formed and poured.
The concrete will need time to cure, and no construction will take place until it has set properly.

5. Set Up Plumbing

Once the concrete has set, crews install drains, water taps, the sewer system, and any plumbing going into the first-floor slab or basement floor, and then backfill dirt into the gap around the foundation wall.

6. Assemble the Frame, Walls, and Roof

With the foundation complete, framing carpenters will build out the shell of the house, including floors, walls, and the roof. Windows and exterior doors are installed, and the house is wrapped in a plastic sheathing that protects the interior from outside moisture while allowing water vapor from inside the home to escape.

7. Install Insulation, Complete Electric and Plumbing Installs

Now plumbers can install water supply lines and pipes to carry water through the floors and walls. Bathtubs and showers may be added at this time.

Electricians will wire the house for outlets, light fixtures, and major appliances. Ductwork and HVAC systems can be installed.

8. Hang Drywall and Install Interior Fixtures and Trim

With plumbing and electrical complete, the house can be insulated and drywall can be hung. A primary coat of paint goes on, and the house will start to look relatively finished.

Light fixtures and outlets can be installed, as can bathroom and kitchen fixtures, like sinks and toilets.
Interior doors, baseboards, door casings, windowsills, cabinets, built-ins, and decorative trim go in. The final coat of paint is applied.

9. Install Exterior Fixtures

Crews begin exterior finishes like brick, stone, stucco or siding.
Some builders pour the driveway when the foundation is completed, but many opt to do so toward home completion, along with walkways and patios.

10. Install the Flooring

Wood, ceramic tile, or vinyl floors and/or carpet can be installed at this point.

Is It Cheaper to Buy or Build a New House?

There are so many variables that it’s hard to say.

The median sales price for new construction in May 2022 was $449,000, according to FRED, or Federal Reserve Economic Data.

Can you beat that price with a DIY build? Maybe, if you act as the general contractor and choose cheaper materials.

Keep in mind that HomeAdvisor’s average of $280,580 to build a house does not include the land.

Ultimately, the price of your dream home hinges on location, the cost of labor and materials, and your taste.

3 Home Loan Tips

1.   Since lenders will do what’s called a hard pull on an applicant’s credit, and too many hard pulls in a short period can affect your application, it’s a good idea to know what interest rate a lender will offer you before applying for a personal loan. Viewing your rate with SoFi involves only a soft pull on your credit — and takes one minute.

2.   Before agreeing to take out a personal loan from a lender, you should know if there are origination, prepayment, or other kinds of fees. If you get a personal loan from SoFi, there are no fees required.

3.   Traditionally, mortgage lenders like to see a 20% down payment. But some lenders, such as SoFi, allow home mortgage loans with as little as 3% down for qualifying first-time homebuyers.


How long can you expect to live in a self-built home?

If a home is well built and maintained properly, you can expect it to last a lifetime.

How long will it take to build a home?

The average time it takes to build a home from start to finish is 9.4 months for a contractor build and 12 for an owner build, according to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Is it dangerous to build a home yourself?

If the question means completely DIY — clearing a lot, pouring a foundation, framing, installing electrical, and so on — the answer is “it sure could be.”

Are there safe financing options for self-build projects?

DIY builders and remodelers may use a construction loan, personal loan, home equity loan, or FHA one-time close loan. If you do use a construction-only loan, shop for a mortgage that makes sense once you stand there admiring the finished product.

Photo credit: iStock/Giselleflissak

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See for more information.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


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First Time Homebuyer Guides - MidWest

First-Time Homebuyer Guide for the Midwest

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you may qualify for special mortgage rates and incentives not available to other homebuyers. For Midwestern buyers, we’ve rounded up all of the information you need to understand which programs you may qualify for in your region as well as helpful information on the home-buying process and qualifying for your first mortgage.

Read ahead to see what kinds of first-time homebuyer programs might be available to you.

Recommended: What is the Average Downpayment on a House?

Popular Midwest First Time Home Buyer Programs


Real estate competition has been brewing in the Buckeye State, as everywhere else.

The median sales price for a home in Ohio rose to $221,900, or 11% year-over-year, as of April 2022, according to Redfin. Buyers who hear Columbus calling face an even bigger surge of 16.3% compared with last year, for a median selling price of $268,000 in April.

Things can look a bit intimidating for first-time homebuyers in Ohio in 2022. Don’t fret, though, as home affordability may be more within your means than you think.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) offers a variety of programs for low- and moderate-income first-time and repeat homebuyers meant to help them achieve homeownership.

💡 Learn about Ohio first-time homebuyer programs


With Detroit’s revitalization, the resort towns on the shores of the Great Lakes, and the proximity to wilderness in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan real estate is hot. The good news for first-time homebuyers: The Wolverine State is still relatively affordable.

The median sales price rose 7% year-over-year in April 2022, to $240,300, Redfin found. That’s far below the national median existing-home sales price of $391,200 in April and the estimated 2022 median price for newly constructed homes, over $412,000.

In April, more than half of Michigan homes that sold went for more than the asking price. Shrinkage in inventory has made the market more competitive. First-time homebuyers looking to settle in Michigan may find help through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority .

💡 Learn about Michigan first-time homebuyer programs


The median home sales price in Indiana rose 11.8% year-over-year by April 2022, according to Redfin, to nearly $255,000. This represents an annual increase of nearly $27,000.

At the same time, the number of homes for sale fell 16%.

While these numbers may sound intimidating for Hoosier State house hunters, there are a number of city, state, and federal programs that can defray the costs of buying a home. First-time buyers, especially, might want to home in on the help offered.

💡 Learn about Indiana first-time homebuyer programs


The housing market in Wisconsin is heating up. Home prices increased 11.4% from May 2021 to May 2022. And the number of homes for sale during this timeframe dropped 13.2%.

Recommended: Your Guide to Choosing a Mortgage Term

The median sale price of a house in the state is $278,800, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage company that analyzes housing market data across the country. The good news: For the qualified first-time homebuyer in Wisconsin, there are opportunities to be had.

💡 Learn about Wisconsin first-time homebuyer programs


Thanks to high prices, low Inventory, and fierce competition from outside investors and cash buyers, diving into a strong seller’s market as a first-time buyer in Illinois can be daunting.

According to Redfin, the median sale price in Illinois went from $273,600 in April 2021 to $285,700 in April 2022 — a 5% increase. But in some communities, the numbers have been much higher. In Winnetka, where home prices were up 76% year-over-year, the median purchase price was $1.5 million. Even in more affordable Edwardsville, home prices were up 39% compared with last year, selling for a median price of $313,000.

Buyers may feel as if the keys to their first home are dangling further out of reach, but fortunately, the state and some counties offer financial assistance. There also are longstanding federal programs that could improve a buyer’s chances of success.

💡 Learn about Illinois first-time homebuyer programs


If the Land of 10,000 Lakes is where you’d like to buy your next home, you’re not alone. The housing market in Minnesota is red hot: More than 61% of houses sold above list price from May 2021 to May 2022, and home prices rose 10% in that period, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage firm that tracks housing data across the country. The median sale price of a home in Minnesota is $349,100.

Fortunately, there are opportunities for the first-time homebuyer in Minnesota through state programs that give assistance with mortgage rates and down payment and closing costs to those who qualify.

💡 Learn about Minnesota first-time homebuyer programs

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


Homes in the Hawkeye State remain relatively affordable but joined the U.S. rise in prices.

As of May 2022, the median home sale price in Iowa had risen to $265,800 from $235,800 the year prior. This represents a home price spike of $30,000, or 12.7% year-over-year, based on data collected from Redfin.

While these numbers may sound like a bummer to a first-time homebuyer entering the market in 2022, prospective homeowners need not fret. A number of homebuyer assistance programs exist that can make your home-buying journey more affordable.

Most of these programs are available through the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) and can especially be of help to first-time buyers.

💡 Learn about Iowa first-time homebuyer programs


While much of the country experienced surging demand and housing prices, the real estate market in Missouri remained fairly calm.

Home prices rose 11.5% from May 2021 to May 2022, according to Redfin, to a median sales price of $252,000. The majority of homes sold for their list price, which means less of a chance of a bidding war for first-time homebuyers in Missouri.

Unless they’re eyeing University City, where home prices were up 40.4% in a year, or Chesterfield, up 36.6%.

The good thing about being a first-time homebuyer with a low to moderate income is that state and local programs offer mortgages and down payment assistance to those who qualify.

💡 Learn about Missouri first-time homebuyer programs

North Dakota

Thinking about moving to North Dakota? The state has a lot going for it. In addition to tons of open space, gorgeous landscapes, and a relaxed way of life, the cost of living is low (it’s 1.21 times less expensive than the U.S. average) and so is the tax rate.

While home prices in the state have increased 40.4% in less than a decade, that growth is slowing slightly. In the last year, the median home value rose just 1.4%, to $235,998. That means there are plenty of opportunities to find your affordable dream home in North Dakota.

There are several state programs that provide financial assistance and low-interest mortgage loans to the first-time homebuyer in North Dakota. Many of these programs are designed to help low- to moderate-income buyers, and they may have income and purchase price limits, a required credit score, or other criteria you’ll need to meet.

💡 Learn about North Dakota first-time homebuyer programs

South Dakota

The Mount Rushmore State saw a significant spike in home prices from 2021 to 2022. The appeal to both the seasoned and first-time homebuyer in South Dakota may be because the state has the sixth lowest cost of living in the country, but that may change if housing prices continue to rise.

From May 2021 to May 2022, home prices rose 22%, to a median sale price of $312,700, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage that tracks trends. Inventory dropped steeply, by 26%.

If you lack the money for a down payment or aren’t sure how you will afford a mortgage, programs in the state may be able to provide assistance.

💡 Learn about South Dakota first-time homebuyer programs


Considering buying a home in Nebraska? Now is a great time to do so. Currently, the housing market in the Cornhusker State is holding steady. The median price of a home there is $280,400, and most homes sell for their listing price. There are also bargains to be had: About 26% of houses have sold for less than the asking price, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage that analyzes housing market data.

The first-time homebuyer in Nebraska can also get financial assistance through state programs. Here’s what you need to know as you start your home shopping.

💡 Learn about Nebraska first-time homebuyer programs


Though their housing market is generally known for being more affordable than most, first-time homebuyers in Kansas are facing many of the same challenges as buyers across the country. Prices have been rising. Inventory is low. And the competition for available homes can be fierce.

According to Redfin, the median selling price of a home in Kansas rose to $318,000 in May 2022, a 14% increase in just 12 months. In that same time period, the number of homes for sale statewide fell 31%.

In some areas, the price increases were much larger. In Leavenworth, home prices were up 32% year-over-year in May. Shawnee saw a 17.3% increase.

Fortunately, buyers who are struggling with the costs of purchasing their first home in Kansas may be able to get financial help through programs offered by the state and some cities. There also are longstanding federal programs that may improve a buyer’s chances of success.

💡 Learn about Kansas first-time homebuyer programs

The Takeaway

Qualifying first-time home buyers have many options available to them in the Midwest, including down payment assistance. If you’re looking to buy your first home and aren’t sure how to get started, this roundup of homebuyer programs is a great place to start. Once you know what kind of assistance you may qualify for, it’s a good idea to estimate just how much house you can really afford using a home affordability calculator.

An important part of home ownership is shopping around for a great interest rate. While you’re searching, consider applying for a mortgage with SoFi in just minutes to see how it compares. With as little as 3% down for qualifying first time homebuyers, and a guaranteed on-time close, it may be the perfect fit for your home ownership goals.

Photo credit: iStock/Nicholas Smith

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See for more information.

SoFi On-Time Close Guarantee: If all conditions of the Guarantee are met, and your loan does not close on or before the closing date on your purchase contract accepted by SoFi, and the delay is due to SoFi, SoFi will provide you $2,000.^ Terms and conditions apply. This Guarantee is available only for loan applications submitted after 6/15/22 for the purchase of a primary residence. Please discuss terms of this Guarantee with your loan officer. The property must be owner-occupied, single-family residence (no condos), and the loan amount must meet the Fannie Mae conventional guidelines. No bank-owned or short-sale transactions. To qualify for the Guarantee, you must: (1) Have employment income supported by W-2, (2) Receive written approval by SoFi for the loan and you lock the rate, (3) submit an executed purchase contract on an eligible property at least 30 days prior to the closing date in the purchase contract, (4) provide to SoFi (by upload) all required documentation within 24 hours of SoFi requesting your documentation and upload any follow-up required documents within 36 hours of the request, and (5) pay for and schedule an appraisal within 48 hours of the appraiser first contacting you by phone or email. The Guarantee will be void and not paid if any delays to closing are due to factors outside of SoFi control, including delays scheduling or completing the appraisal appointment, appraised value disputes, completing a property inspection, making repairs to the property by any party, addressing possible title defects, natural disasters, further negotiation of or changes to the purchase contract, changes to the loan terms, or changes in borrower’s eligibility for the loan (e.g., changes in credit profile or employment), or if property purchase does not occur. SoFi may change or terminate this offer at any time without notice to you. ^To redeem the Guarantee if conditions met, see documentation provided by loan officer.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


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