Differences between adjustable and fixed rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your payment doesn't change for the entire duration of your mortgage. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. The property taxes and homeowners insurance will go up over time, but for the most part, payment amounts on these types of loans don't increase much.

Early in a fixed-rate loan, most of your payment goes toward interest, and a significantly smaller percentage goes to principal. The amount applied to your principal amount increases up slowly each month.

You might choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. Borrowers choose these types of loans because interest rates are low and they want to lock in at the low rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can provide more stability in monthly payments. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we can help you lock in a fixed-rate at a good rate. Call Valley Savers Mortgage, LLC at (602) 332-9544 to learn more.

There are many different kinds of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, interest for ARMs are based on an outside index. A few of these are: the 6-month CD rate, the 1 year Treasury Security rate, the Federal Home Loan Bank's 11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI), or others.

Most ARMs feature this cap, so they won't go up over a certain amount in a given period of time. There may be a cap on interest rate variances over the course of a year. For example: no more than a couple percent per year, even if the underlying index goes up by more than two percent. Sometimes an ARM features a "payment cap" that ensures your payment won't go above a certain amount in a given year. Almost all ARMs also cap your rate over the duration of the loan.

ARMs most often have their lowest, most attractive rates toward the start. They usually guarantee the lower interest rate from a month to ten years. You've probably read about 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. For these loans, the initial rate is fixed for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These types of loans are fixed for a number of years (3 or 5), then they adjust. Loans like this are usually best for people who expect to move in three or five years. These types of ARMs most benefit borrowers who plan to move before the initial lock expires.

Most people who choose ARMs choose them when they want to take advantage of lower introductory rates and don't plan to stay in the house for any longer than this introductory low-rate period. ARMs can be risky when housing prices go down because homeowners could be stuck with rates that go up when they can't sell or refinance with a lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (602) 332-9544. We answer questions about different types of loans every day.

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