Adjustable versus fixed loans

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A fixed-rate loan features the same payment amount for the entire duration of your mortgage. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and your insurance rates might vary as well. But generally payment amounts for a fixed-rate loan will be very stable.

At the beginning of a a fixed-rate mortgage loan, most of your payment is applied to interest. As you pay on the loan, more of your payment goes toward principal.

You can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. Borrowers choose these types of loans because interest rates are low and they wish to lock in at the low rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can provide more monthly payment stability. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we'd love to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at a good rate. Call Wisdom Financial, Inc. at 708.499.6088 for details.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, come in many varieties. Generally, interest on ARMs are based on an outside index. Some examples of outside indexes are: the 6-month Certificate of Deposit (CD) rate, the 1 year Treasury Security rate, the Federal Home Loan Bank's 11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI), or others.

Most ARM programs feature a "cap" that protects borrowers from sudden monthly payment increases. Some ARMs can't increase more than 2% per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Sometimes an ARM features a "payment cap" which ensures your payment will not go above a fixed amount over the course of a given year. Plus, the great majority of adjustable programs have a "lifetime cap" — this cap means that the rate can't ever go over the capped percentage.

ARMs most often have the lowest, most attractive rates at the beginning. They guarantee that interest rate from a month to ten years. 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 loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then they adjust. These loans are often best for borrowers who anticipate moving within three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs are best for borrowers who will move before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an ARM to take advantage of a lower introductory interest rate and plan on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the introductory rate goes up. ARMs are risky when property values go down and borrowers cannot sell their home or refinance their loan.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 708.499.6088. We answer questions about different types of loans every day.




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