Fixed versus adjustable rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your payment doesn't change for the life of your mortgage. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. The property tax and homeowners insurance will go up over time, but for the most part, payment amounts on fixed rate loans don't increase much.

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 can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. People choose fixed-rate loans when interest rates are low and they want to lock in this low rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (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'll be glad to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at a good rate. Call Budica Financial Corporation at (951)840-4188 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

There are many different kinds of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, the interest rates on ARMs are determined by a federal index. A few of these are: the 6-month Certificate of Deposit (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 programs have a cap that protects borrowers from sudden monthly payment increases. Your ARM may feature a cap on how much your interest rate can increase in one period. For example: no more than two percent a year, even though the underlying index increases by more than two percent. Your loan may have a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest directly, caps the amount your payment can increase in one period. The majority of ARMs also cap your interest rate over the duration of the loan period.

ARMs most often have the lowest rates at the start. They guarantee that rate from a month to ten years. You've probably read about 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. For these loans, the introductory rate is set for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These kinds of loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then adjust after the initial period. These loans are usually best for borrowers who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate loans most benefit people who plan to move before the initial lock expires.

Most people who choose ARMs do so because they want to get lower introductory rates and don't plan on remaining in the home for any longer than the initial low-rate period. ARMs can be risky when housing prices go down because homeowners can get stuck with rates that go up when they cannot sell their home or refinance at the lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (951)840-4188. We answer questions about different types of loans every day.