Adjustable versus fixed loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your payment stays the same for the entire duration of the mortgage. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. The property taxes and homeowners insurance which are almost always part of the payment will increase over time, but for the most part, payment amounts on these types of loans change little over the life of the loan.

During the early amortization period of a fixed-rate loan, a large percentage of your monthly payment goes toward interest, and a significantly smaller percentage toward principal. As you pay , more of your payment is applied to principal.

You might choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. Borrowers choose these types of loans when interest rates are low and they want to lock in at this low rate. For homeowners who have an 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 a good rate. Call Prime Capital Mortgage Corp at 248-644-1200 to learn more.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, come in many varieties. Generally, interest on ARMs are determined by a federal index. Some examples of outside indexes are: the 6-month Certificate of Deposit (CD) rate, the 1 year Treasury Security rate, the Federal Home Loan Bank's 11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI), or others.

Most Adjustable Rate Mortgages feature this cap, so they won't increase above a specific amount in a given period. 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 index the rate is based on goes up by more than two percent. Sometimes an ARM has a "payment cap" that ensures that your payment will not increase beyond a certain amount over the course of a given year. Most ARMs also cap your interest rate over the duration of the loan.

ARMs usually start at a very low rate that usually increases over time. You've likely heard of 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. For these loans, the introductory rate is fixed for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These loans are fixed for a certain number of years (3 or 5), then they adjust. These loans are best for people who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs benefit borrowers who will move before the initial lock expires.

You might choose an ARM to get a very low introductory rate and plan on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate goes up. ARMs can be risky when housing prices go down because homeowners can get stuck with rates that go up when they cannot sell or refinance at the lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 248-644-1200. We answer questions about different types of loans every day.

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