Differences between fixed and adjustable rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment never changes for the life of your loan. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. But generally monthly payments on a fixed-rate mortgage will be very stable.

At the beginning of a a fixed-rate loan, most of the payment is applied to interest. As you pay , more of your payment goes toward principal.

Borrowers might choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low rate. Borrowers choose these types of loans when interest rates are low and they want to lock in this lower rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can offer more consistency in monthly payments. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we'll be glad to help you lock in a fixed-rate at a favorable rate. Call The Reen Team at American Pacific Mortgage at (408) 626-1879 for details.

There are many types of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, the interest for ARMs are determined by a federal index. Some examples of outside indexes are: the 6-month Certificate of Deposit (CD) rate, the one-year Treasury Security rate, the Federal Home Loan Bank's 11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI), or others.

Most ARM programs feature a cap that protects borrowers from sudden monthly payment increases. Some ARMs can'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 rate directly, caps the amount that the monthly payment can go up in a given period. The majority of ARMs also cap your rate over the life of the loan period.

ARMs usually start at a very low rate that usually increases as the loan ages. You may have heard about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". For these loans, the introductory rate is set for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These types of loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then adjust. These loans are often best for borrowers who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of ARMs most benefit borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the initial lock expires.

Most borrowers who choose ARMs do so when they want to take advantage of lower introductory rates and do not plan to remain in the house for any longer than this initial low-rate period. ARMs are risky if property values decrease and borrowers can't sell their home or refinance.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (408) 626-1879. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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