Differences between fixed and adjustable loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment never changes for the life of your loan. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and your insurance rates might vary as well. But generally monthly payments for your fixed-rate loan will be very stable.

Your first few years of payments on a fixed-rate loan go primarily to pay interest. This proportion gradually reverses as the loan ages.

Borrowers might choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. People choose these types of loans when interest rates are low and they wish to lock in at this low rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can provide greater consistency in monthly payments. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we can help you lock in a fixed-rate at a favorable rate. Call Power Purchase Mortgage at (800)593-0143 for details.

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

Most ARM programs have a cap that protects you from sudden monthly payment increases. Some ARMs can't adjust more than 2% per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Your loan may have a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest rate directly, caps the amount the payment can go up in one period. Plus, the great majority of ARMs have a "lifetime cap" — this cap means that your interest rate can't ever exceed the capped amount.

ARMs usually start out at a very low rate that usually increases as the loan ages. You've likely heard of 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. In these loans, the introductory rate is set for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These loans are fixed for a number of years (3 or 5), then adjust. Loans like this are best for borrowers who anticipate moving in 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.

You might choose an ARM to take advantage of a lower introductory interest rate and plan on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the introductory rate goes up. ARMs can be risky if property values decrease and borrowers can't sell or refinance their loan.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (800)593-0143. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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