Differences between fixed and adjustable rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your payment doesn't change for the entire duration of the mortgage. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. The property tax and homeowners insurance which are almost always part of the payment will increase over time, but for the most part, payment amounts on these types of loans don't increase much.

Early in a fixed-rate loan, a large percentage of your monthly payment goes toward interest, and a much smaller part goes to principal. The amount applied to your principal amount increases up gradually every month.

Borrowers might choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low rate. People choose these types of loans when interest rates are low and they wish to lock in this low rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can provide more monthly payment stability. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we'll be glad to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at a favorable rate. Call Savers Home Loans at (800) 974-0509 for details.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, as we called them above — come in many varieties. Generally, the interest rates on ARMs are based on an outside index. A few of these are: the 6-month CD rate, the one-year rate on Treasure Securities, the Federal Home Loan Bank's 11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI), or others.

Most ARMs feature this cap, which means they can't increase over a specific amount in a given period. Some ARMs won't increase more than two percent per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Your loan may have a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest rate directly, caps the amount that the payment can increase in one period. Most ARMs also cap your interest rate over the life of the loan.

ARMs usually start out at a very low rate that usually increases over time. You've probably read about 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. For these loans, the introductory rate is fixed for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then adjust. These loans are often best for borrowers who expect to move within three or five years. These types of ARMs most benefit people who plan to sell their house or refinance before the initial lock expires.

You might choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to get a very low initial interest rate and plan on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate expires. ARMs can be risky in a down market because homeowners can get stuck with rates that go up if they cannot sell or refinance at the lower property value.

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!