Differences between adjustable and fixed rate loans

A fixed-rate loan features the same payment amount over the life of your mortgage. The property tax and homeowners insurance which are almost always part of the payment will go up over time, but generally, payments on these types of loans change little over the life of the loan.

When you first take out a fixed-rate loan, the majority your payment is applied to interest. The amount applied to principal goes up slowly each month.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low rate. People select fixed-rate loans when interest rates are low and they want to lock in at this lower rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can offer more stability in monthly payments. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we can help you lock in a fixed-rate at a good rate. Call Reliance Mortgage Service, Inc at 5623200510 to learn more.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, as we called them above — come in even more varieties. ARMs are generally adjusted twice a year, based on various indexes.

Most programs feature a cap that protects borrowers from sudden monthly payment increases. Some ARMs can't increase 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 your monthly payment can increase in a given period. In addition, almost all ARM programs feature a "lifetime cap" — your rate will never go over the capped amount.

ARMs most often feature their lowest rates at the beginning. They usually provide the lower rate for an initial period that varies greatly. You've likely heard of 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. In these loans, the introductory rate is fixed for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These kinds of loans are fixed for a number of years (3 or 5), then they adjust. Loans like this are best for borrowers who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate loans are best for borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the initial lock expires.

You might choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to get a lower introductory rate and plan on moving, refinancing or absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate goes up. ARMs can be risky if property values decrease and borrowers cannot sell their home or refinance.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 5623200510. We answer questions about different types of loans every day.

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