Fixed versus adjustable loans

A fixed-rate loan features a fixed payment amount for the entire duration of your mortgage. Your property taxes may go up (or rarely, down), and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. But generally payments for a fixed-rate mortgage will increase very little.

Your first few years of payments on a fixed-rate loan go mostly to pay interest. The amount applied to principal goes up slowly every month.

You might choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low interest rate. People select these types of loans when interest rates are low and they wish to lock in this lower rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can offer more monthly payment stability. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we'll be glad to help you lock in a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call First Southeast Mortgage Corporation at 954.920.9799 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, come in many varieties. Generally, interest rates on ARMs are based on a federal index. A few of these 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 ARM programs have a cap that protects you from sudden increases in monthly payments. Some ARMs can't adjust more than two percent per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Sometimes an ARM has a "payment cap" which ensures that your payment will not go above a fixed amount over the course of a given year. Most ARMs also cap your interest rate over the life of the loan.

ARMs most often feature their lowest, most attractive rates at the start. They provide that rate for an initial period that varies greatly. You've likely heard of 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. In these loans, the initial rate is fixed for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These kinds of loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then adjust. Loans like this are often best for borrowers who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate loans are best for people who will sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to take advantage of a lower initial rate and count on moving, refinancing or absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate goes up. ARMs can be risky if property values go down and borrowers can't sell or refinance.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 954.920.9799. We answer questions about different types of loans every day.

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