Fixed versus adjustable rate loans

A fixed-rate loan features a fixed payment over the life of the mortgage. The property tax and homeowners insurance will go up over time, but for the most part, payment amounts on fixed rate loans vary little.

Your first few years of payments on a fixed-rate loan go primarily toward interest. This proportion gradually reverses as the loan ages.

Borrowers might choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low rate. Borrowers select fixed-rate loans when interest rates are low and they wish to lock in this low rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can provide more consistency in monthly payments. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we'd love to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Tenby J. Dahman at 3038627760 to learn more.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, as we called them above — come in a great number of varieties. ARMs are generally adjusted every six months, based on various indexes.

Most programs feature a "cap" that protects you from sudden increases in monthly payments. Some ARMs can't increase more than 2% per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Sometimes an ARM features a "payment cap" that ensures your payment will not increase beyond a fixed amount over the course of a given year. In addition, almost all ARM programs have a "lifetime cap" — your rate can't ever exceed the cap amount.

ARMs usually start at a very low rate that may increase over time. You may have heard about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". For these loans, the introductory rate is set for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These kinds of loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then adjust. Loans like this are usually best for people who anticipate moving within three or five years. These types of ARMs most benefit borrowers who will move before the initial lock expires.

You might choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to take advantage of a very low initial interest rate and plan on moving, refinancing or absorbing the higher rate after the introductory rate expires. ARMs can be risky in a down market because homeowners can get stuck with increasing rates if they cannot sell or refinance with a lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 3038627760. We answer questions about different types of loans every day.