Adjustable versus fixed loans

A fixed-rate loan features the same payment amount for the entire duration of your loan. Your property taxes may go up (or rarely, down), and your insurance rates might vary as well. For the most part monthly payments for your fixed-rate mortgage will be very stable.

At the beginning of a a fixed-rate mortgage loan, most of your payment is applied to interest. The amount paid toward principal increases up slowly each month.

You can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. People choose fixed-rate loans because interest rates are low and they want to lock in the low rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can offer greater monthly payment stability. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we can assist you in locking a fixed-rate at a good rate. Call America's Money Source at (407) 898-7559 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, come in a great number of varieties. Generally, interest rates for ARMs are based on a federal 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 ARM programs have a cap that protects you from sudden increases in monthly payments. There may be a cap on how much your interest rate can increase in one period. For example: no more than a couple percent per year, even if 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 that the payment can increase in a given period. Most ARMs also cap your rate over the life of the loan.

ARMs most often have their lowest, most attractive rates toward the beginning. They usually guarantee the lower interest rate for an initial period that varies greatly. You've likely read about 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. For these loans, the initial rate is fixed for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These kinds of loans are fixed for a certain number of years (3 or 5), then they adjust after the initial period. These loans are usually best for people who anticipate moving within three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs are best for borrowers who plan to move before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to get a lower introductory rate and plan on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate expires. ARMs can be risky when housing prices go down because homeowners could be stuck with increasing rates when they cannot sell or refinance with a lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (407) 898-7559. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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