Differences between fixed and adjustable loans

A fixed-rate loan features the same payment for the entire duration of your mortgage. Your property taxes may go up (or rarely, down), and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. For the most part payment amounts on your fixed-rate mortgage will increase very little.

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

You can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low rate. Borrowers choose fixed-rate 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 offer greater stability in monthly payments. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we'd love to help you lock in a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Nationwide Home Loans at (562) 693-5048 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

There are many different types of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, the interest rates for ARMs are determined by a federal index. A few of these are: the 6-month CD rate, the 1 year rate on Treasure Securities, the Federal Home Loan Bank's 11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI), or others.

Most ARM programs have a cap that protects borrowers from sudden monthly payment increases. Your ARM may feature a cap on how much your interest rate can go up in one period. For example: no more than a couple percent per year, even though the index the rate is based on goes up by more than two percent. Your loan may have a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest directly, caps the amount your payment can increase in a given period. The majority of ARMs also cap your rate over the life of the loan period.

ARMs most often have their lowest rates at the start of the loan. They usually guarantee the lower interest rate from a month to ten years. You've likely 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 certain number of years (3 or 5), then they adjust. Loans like this are usually best for borrowers who expect to move in three or five years. These types of ARMs benefit people who will sell their house or refinance before the initial lock expires.

You might choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to take advantage of a lower introductory interest rate and plan on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate expires. ARMs are risky if property values decrease and borrowers are unable to sell their home or refinance.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (562) 693-5048. We answer questions about different types of loans every day.

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