Differences between adjustable and fixed rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment remains the same for the life of your mortgage. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and your insurance rates might vary as well. For the most part payments for your fixed-rate mortgage will be very stable.

Your first few years of payments on a fixed-rate loan are applied primarily to pay interest. As you pay , more of your payment goes toward principal.

You might choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low interest rate. Borrowers select fixed-rate loans when 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 greater monthly payment stability. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we'll be glad to help you lock in a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Prime Capital Mortgage Corp at 248-644-1200 for details.

There are many different types of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. ARMs are generally adjusted twice a year, based on various indexes.

Most programs have a "cap" that protects borrowers from sudden increases in monthly payments. Your ARM may feature a cap on how much your interest rate can increase in one period. For example: no more than two percent a year, even if the underlying index goes up by more than two percent. Sometimes an ARM has a "payment cap" which ensures your payment can't go above a fixed amount in a given year. In addition, almost all ARMs feature a "lifetime cap" — the rate can't ever go over the cap amount.

ARMs usually start out at a very low rate that may increase over time. You've likely read about 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. In these loans, the initial 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 best for borrowers who expect to move within three or five years. These types of adjustable rate loans benefit borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

Most borrowers who choose ARMs choose them because they want to get lower introductory rates and don't plan to remain in the house longer than this initial low-rate period. ARMs can be risky when property values go down and borrowers are unable to sell or refinance.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 248-644-1200. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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