Adjustable versus fixed rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment stays the same for the entire duration of the loan. The portion of the payment that goes to your principal (the actual loan amount) goes up, but the amount you pay in interest will go down accordingly. Your property taxes may go up (or rarely, down), and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. But generally payment amounts for a fixed-rate loan will be very stable.

At the beginning of a a fixed-rate mortgage loan, the majority your payment is applied to interest. As you pay on the loan, more of your payment goes toward principal.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low rate. Borrowers choose these types of loans when interest rates are low and they want to lock in the low rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can offer more monthly payment stability. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we'd love to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Prime Capital Mortgage Corp at 248-644-1200 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

There are many types of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, the interest rates for ARMs are based on a federal index. A few of these are: the 6-month CD rate, the one-year rate on Treasure Securities, the Federal Home Loan Bank's 11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI), or others.

The majority of ARMs are capped, so they won't go up over a specific amount in a given period. Some ARMs won't adjust more than two percent per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Your loan may feature a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest directly, caps the amount that the payment can go up in a given period. Plus, almost all adjustable programs feature a "lifetime cap" — this cap means that your rate can never exceed the cap amount.

ARMs usually start at a very low rate that may increase over time. You've likely heard of 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 a number of years (3 or 5), then adjust. These loans are often best for people who anticipate moving within three or five years. These types of ARMs benefit borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

Most people who choose ARMs choose them when they want to take advantage of lower introductory rates and don't plan on staying in the house longer than the initial low-rate period. ARMs are risky if property values decrease and borrowers are unable to sell or refinance their loan.

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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