Fixed versus adjustable rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment stays the same for the life of your loan. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. Your property taxes may go up (or rarely, down), and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. But generally payment amounts on a fixed-rate loan will be very stable.

When you first take out a fixed-rate loan, the majority 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 rate. People choose these types of loans because 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 greater consistency in monthly payments. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we'd love to help you lock in a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call MidTowne Mortgage at (478) 746-2063 to learn more.

There are many types of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, the interest for ARMs are based on an outside index. Some examples of outside indexes are: the 6-month CD rate, the 1 year rate on Treasure Securities, 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 increases in monthly payments. There may be a cap on how much your interest rate can increase in one period. For example: no more than two percent per year, even if the underlying index increases by more than two percent. Sometimes an ARM has a "payment cap" that ensures that your payment can't go above a fixed amount in a given year. Almost all ARMs also cap your interest rate over the life of the loan period.

ARMs usually start out at a very low rate that may increase as the loan ages. You've likely heard of 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. In these loans, the introductory rate is fixed 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. These loans are often best for people who expect to move within three or five years. These types of ARMs most benefit borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the initial lock expires.

You might choose an ARM to get a lower initial rate and plan on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate expires. ARMs can be risky if property values go down and borrowers cannot sell their home or refinance their loan.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (478) 746-2063. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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