Adjustable versus fixed loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your payment never changes for the life of your mortgage. The amount allocated for principal (the amount you borrowed) goes up, but your interest payment will go down in the same amount. Your property taxes may go up (or rarely, down), and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. For the most part payments on a fixed-rate loan will be very stable.

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

Borrowers might choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. People select fixed-rate 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 monthly payment stability. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we'll be glad to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Lighthouse Mortgage Company at (916) 434-8915 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

There are many different kinds of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. ARMs usually adjust every six months, based on various indexes.

The majority of ARMs feature this cap, so they won't go up over a specific amount in a given period. There may be a cap on interest rate increases over the course of a year. For example: no more than a couple percent a year, even though the underlying index increases by more than two percent. Sometimes an ARM features a "payment cap" that ensures that your payment can't go above a fixed amount over the course of a given year. Most ARMs also cap your rate over the duration of the loan period.

ARMs usually start at a very low rate that usually increases as the loan ages. You may have heard about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". In these loans, the initial rate is fixed 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 after the initial period. These loans are best for borrowers who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs most benefit people who will sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

Most borrowers who choose ARMs do so when they want to get lower introductory rates and do not plan to stay in the home longer than this initial low-rate period. ARMs are risky if property values decrease and borrowers are unable to sell their home or refinance their loan.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (916) 434-8915. We answer questions about different types of loans every day.

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