Fixed versus adjustable loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment doesn't change for the entire duration of the mortgage. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. 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 on your fixed-rate loan will increase very little.

Your first few years of payments on a fixed-rate loan are applied mostly to pay interest. As you pay , more of your payment is applied to principal.

You can choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low interest rate. Borrowers choose these types of loans because interest rates are low and they wish to lock in this low rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, refinancing with 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 the best rate currently available. Call Independent Bankers Mortgage at (888) 478-9991 to discuss how we can help.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, as we called them above — come in many varieties. ARMs usually adjust every six months, based on various indexes.

The majority of Adjustable Rate Mortgages are capped, so they won't increase over a certain amount in a given period. Some ARMs won't increase more than two percent per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Sometimes an ARM features a "payment cap" that guarantees your payment won't increase beyond a certain amount in a given year. In addition, almost all ARM programs feature a "lifetime cap" — this means that the interest rate won't go over the capped amount.

ARMs most often feature the lowest rates toward the beginning. They usually provide the lower rate from a month to ten years. You've probably read about 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. In these loans, the initial rate is set for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then adjust after the initial period. These loans are best for borrowers who expect to move within three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs most benefit people who will move before the initial lock expires.

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

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (888) 478-9991. We answer questions about different types of loans every day.