Differences between fixed and adjustable loans

A fixed-rate loan features a fixed payment amount for the entire duration of the mortgage. Your property taxes may go up (or rarely, down), and your insurance rates might vary as well. But generally monthly payments for a fixed-rate mortgage will be very stable.

During the early amortization period of a fixed-rate loan, most of your payment goes toward interest, and a significantly smaller percentage goes to principal. The amount paid toward principal goes up gradually each month.

Borrowers might choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low rate. People choose these types of loans when interest rates are low and they wish to lock in 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 a good rate. Call 1st Credential Mortgage Inc at (281) 778-0805 to learn more.

There are many kinds of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, the interest rates on ARMs are determined by an outside index. A few of these are: the 6-month Certificate of Deposit (CD) rate, the one-year Treasury Security rate, the Federal Home Loan Bank's 11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI), or others.

Most programs have a "cap" that protects borrowers from sudden monthly payment increases. Your ARM may feature a cap on interest rate increases over the course of a year. For example: no more than two percent a year, even if the underlying index increases by more than two percent. Your loan may feature a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest rate directly, caps the amount the monthly payment can increase in one period. The majority of ARMs also cap your interest rate over the duration of the loan.

ARMs usually start out at a very low rate that may increase as the loan ages. You've probably read about 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. For these loans, the initial rate is fixed for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These types of loans are fixed for a certain number of years (3 or 5), then adjust after the initial period. Loans like this are usually best for borrowers who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of ARMs most benefit borrowers who plan to move before the initial lock expires.

You might choose an ARM to get a lower introductory interest rate and count on moving, refinancing or absorbing the higher rate after the introductory rate goes up. ARMs can be risky in a down market because homeowners could be stuck with rates that go up when they can't sell or refinance at the lower property value.

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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