Adjustable versus fixed loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your payment doesn't change for the life of the loan. The amount that goes for principal (the actual loan amount) increases, however, the amount you pay in interest will decrease accordingly. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. But generally payments on a fixed-rate mortgage will increase very little.

Your first few years of payments on a fixed-rate loan are applied primarily toward interest. As you pay on the loan, more of your payment goes toward principal.

You can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. People select fixed-rate loans when interest rates are low and they wish to lock in at this low rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (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 good rate. Call First Southeast Mortgage Corporation at 954.920.9799 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

There are many different kinds of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. ARMs usually adjust every six months, based on various indexes.

The majority of ARMs are capped, which means they won't increase over a specified amount in a given period. Your ARM may feature a cap on how much your interest rate can increase 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 go above a fixed amount in a given year. The majority of ARMs also cap your rate over the life of the loan period.

ARMs usually start out at a very low rate that may increase over time. You've probably read about 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. For these loans, the introductory rate is fixed for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These kinds of loans are fixed for a number of years (3 or 5), then adjust after the initial period. Loans like this are often best for people who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of ARMs most benefit people who plan to sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an ARM to get a lower introductory rate and plan on moving, refinancing or absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate goes up. ARMs can be risky when housing prices go down because homeowners could be stuck with increasing rates when they can't sell or refinance at the lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 954.920.9799. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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