Differences between fixed and adjustable rate loans

A fixed-rate loan features the same payment over the life of your mortgage. Your property taxes may go up (or rarely, down), and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. For the most part payment amounts for your fixed-rate loan will be very stable.

Early in a fixed-rate loan, most of your monthly payment goes toward interest, and a much smaller percentage goes to principal. This proportion reverses as the loan ages.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low interest rate. People choose these types of loans when interest rates are low and they want to lock in at the lower rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can offer more monthly payment stability. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we'll be glad to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Budica Financial Corporation at (951)840-4188 to discuss how we can help.

There are many different kinds of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, interest for ARMs are based on a federal index. Some examples of outside indexes are: the 6-month Certificate of Deposit (CD) rate, the 1 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 above a specific amount in a given period of time. Your ARM may feature a cap on how much your interest rate can go up in one period. For example: no more than a couple percent a year, even if the underlying index goes up by more than two percent. Sometimes an ARM features a "payment cap" which ensures that your payment will not go above a certain amount over the course of a given year. In addition, almost all ARM programs feature a "lifetime cap" — this means that your interest rate can't go over the capped amount.

ARMs usually start at a very low rate that usually increases as the loan ages. You've probably heard of 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. In these loans, the introductory rate is fixed for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These loans are fixed for a certain number of years (3 or 5), then adjust after the initial period. Loans like this are best for borrowers who anticipate moving within three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs most benefit people who plan to sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

Most people who choose ARMs do so because they want to get lower introductory rates and do not plan on staying in the house for any longer than this introductory low-rate period. ARMs can be risky when housing prices go down because homeowners could be stuck with increasing rates 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.