Differences between adjustable and fixed loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your payment never changes for the life of the loan. The portion of the payment that goes to principal (the amount you borrowed) increases, however, your interest payment will go down accordingly. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. But generally payment amounts for your fixed-rate mortgage will increase very little.

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

Borrowers might choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low interest rate. People select these types of loans when interest rates are low and they want to lock in at this lower rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can provide greater monthly payment stability. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we'd love to help you lock in a fixed-rate at a favorable rate. Call Savers Home Loans at (800) 974-0509 to discuss how we can help.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, as we called them above — come in many varieties. ARMs usually adjust every six months, based on various indexes.

Most ARMs are capped, so they won't go up over a specific amount in a given period of time. Some ARMs won't increase more than two percent per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Sometimes an ARM features a "payment cap" which guarantees your payment won't go above a certain amount in a given year. In addition, almost all adjustable programs have a "lifetime cap" — this means that the interest rate can't go over the cap percentage.

ARMs usually start out at a very low rate that usually increases over time. You may hear people talking about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". In these loans, the initial rate is fixed for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These types of loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then they adjust. These loans are usually best for borrowers who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of ARMs are best for borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to take advantage of a very low initial interest rate and count on moving, refinancing or absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate expires. ARMs are risky if property values decrease and borrowers can't sell their home or refinance.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (800) 974-0509. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!