Differences between adjustable and fixed rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment doesn't change for the entire duration of the loan. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. Your property taxes may go up (or rarely, down), and your insurance rates might vary as well. But generally payments on your fixed-rate mortgage will increase very little.

Early in a fixed-rate loan, most of your payment goes toward interest, and a significantly smaller part goes to principal. This proportion gradually reverses as the loan ages.

You might choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low interest rate. People choose these types of loans because interest rates are low and they want to lock in the lower rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can provide more consistency in monthly payments. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we can assist you in locking a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call 1st Credential Mortgage Inc at (281) 778-0805 for details.

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 increases in monthly payments. There may be a cap on interest rate variances over the course of a year. For example: no more than two percent a year, even if the underlying index goes up by more than two percent. Your loan may feature a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest rate directly, caps the amount your payment can increase in a given period. Plus, the great majority of ARM programs feature a "lifetime cap" — the interest rate can't go over the cap percentage.

ARMs most often have the lowest, most attractive rates at the beginning. They usually provide the lower rate for an initial period that varies greatly. You may hear people talking about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". In these loans, the introductory rate is set for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These types of loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then they adjust after the initial period. Loans like this are usually best for people who expect to move in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate loans most benefit borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the initial lock expires.

Most people who choose ARMs do so because they want to take advantage of lower introductory rates and don't plan to stay in the home for any longer than the initial low-rate period. ARMs can be risky if property values decrease and borrowers can't sell their home or refinance.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (281) 778-0805. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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