Adjustable versus fixed rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment never changes for the entire duration of your mortgage. The amount that goes to your principal (the loan amount) will go up, however, your interest payment will decrease accordingly. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and your insurance rates might vary as well. For the most part monthly payments on a fixed-rate loan will increase very little.

When you first take out a fixed-rate loan, the majority the payment goes toward interest. As you pay on the loan, more of your payment is applied to principal.

Borrowers might choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low interest rate. People choose fixed-rate loans because interest rates are low and they wish to lock in at the lower rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can provide more consistency in monthly payments. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we'll be glad to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at a good rate. Call Pacific Loan Brokers at 877-310-6200 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

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

Most programs have a cap that protects you from sudden monthly payment increases. Some ARMs won't increase more than 2% 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 go up in one period. Most ARMs also cap your interest rate over the life of the loan.

ARMs most often have their lowest rates toward the start of the loan. They usually provide that interest rate for an initial period that varies greatly. You've probably heard of 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. In these loans, the initial rate is fixed for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These loans are fixed for a number of years (3 or 5), then they adjust. These loans are best for people who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs benefit borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the initial lock expires.

Most people who choose ARMs do so because they want to take advantage of lower introductory rates and don't plan on staying in the house for any longer than the introductory low-rate period. ARMs can be risky in a down market because homeowners could be stuck with rates that go up if they cannot sell their home or refinance at the lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 877-310-6200. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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