The number of yearsit takes to pay off your mortgage is called the Amortization period. The longer the amortization period is, the less your monthly payments will be. However, it is important to know that the longer it takes for you to pay off your mortgage, the more interest you will end up paying overall. So it will save you more money in the short term, but cost you more overall.

Who is more likely to choose a longer term?

Someone who is borrowing near their peak level of affordability, who would like to have the lowest possible monthly payments.

Who is more likely to choose a shorter term?

Someone who has financial flexibility andwould like to pay off their mortgage more quickly. This means that they will have higher monthly payments, however, overall they will pay a lot less interest.

By the Numbers

See example below for a fixed interest rate of 3.5% and monthly payments assumed to stay the same over the amortization period.

Mortgage Amount


Monthly Payment

Interest paid after total amortization period

Percentage of mortgage paid off after 5 years

Principal paid after 5 years


30 years






25 years






20 years





*Calculations made using our Homewise mortgage calculator

Note, it is important to know that if your down payment is less that 20% of the total price of the home, the longest amortization period you can have is 25 years.