Differences between fixed and adjustable loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your payment doesn't change for the life of your mortgage. The portion of the payment that goes for principal (the amount you borrowed) will increase, however, your interest payment will go down in the same amount. The property tax and homeowners insurance will increase over time, but for the most part, payment amounts on these types of loans change little over the life of the loan.

Your first few years of payments on a fixed-rate loan are applied primarily toward interest. The amount applied to principal goes up gradually each month.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low interest rate. Borrowers select these types of loans when interest rates are low and they wish to lock in the low rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can offer greater stability in monthly payments. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we'd love to help you lock in a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Amity Mortgage LLC at (203) 729-6681 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

There are many kinds of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, interest rates on ARMs are based on a federal index. Some examples of outside indexes 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 programs have a cap that protects you from sudden monthly payment increases. Your ARM may feature a cap on how much your interest rate can go up in one period. For example: no more than two percent per year, even if the index the rate is based on increases by more than two percent. Sometimes an ARM has a "payment cap" that ensures your payment can't increase beyond a certain amount in a given year. Almost all ARMs also cap your interest rate over the duration of the loan.

ARMs most often feature their lowest rates at the beginning of the loan. They provide the lower interest rate for an initial period that varies greatly. You may hear people talking 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 loans are fixed for a number of years (3 or 5), then adjust. These loans are best for people who expect to move in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs most benefit borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to get a very low initial interest rate and count on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate goes up. ARMs can be risky when property values go down and borrowers can't sell their home or refinance their loan.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (203) 729-6681. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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