Differences between fixed and adjustable rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment never changes for the entire duration of your mortgage. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. The property taxes and homeowners insurance will increase over time, but for the most part, payment amounts on these types of loans change little over the life of the loan.

During the early amortization period of a fixed-rate loan, most of your monthly payment goes toward interest, and a significantly smaller percentage toward principal. This proportion reverses as the loan ages.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low rate. Borrowers choose these types of loans when interest rates are low and they want to lock in at this lower rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can provide more stability in monthly payments. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we can help you lock in a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Financial Edge Mortgage Corp. at 425-508-9988 to learn more.

There are many different kinds of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. ARMs usually adjust twice a year, based on various indexes.

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

ARMs most often feature their lowest, most attractive rates toward the start of the loan. They usually provide the lower rate for an initial period that varies greatly. You've likely read about 5/1 or 3/1 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 people who expect to move in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs benefit people who will sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an ARM to get a lower introductory rate and plan on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate goes up. ARMs can be risky when housing prices go down because homeowners could be stuck with increasing rates if they can't sell their home or refinance at the lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 425-508-9988. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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