Differences between fixed and adjustable loans

A fixed-rate loan features the same payment over the life of your mortgage. The property tax and homeowners insurance will go up over time, but generally, payment amounts on fixed rate loans change little over the life of the loan.

During the early amortization period of a fixed-rate loan, a large percentage of your monthly payment goes toward interest, and a much smaller percentage toward principal. That gradually reverses as the loan ages.

Borrowers might choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low rate. Borrowers choose these types of 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'd love to help you lock in a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call American Mortgage Advisers, Inc at 214-865-7442 to learn more.

There are many different types of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, interest for ARMs are determined by a federal index. A few of these are: the 6-month 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 ARM programs feature a "cap" that protects borrowers from sudden monthly payment increases. There may be a cap on interest rate variances over the course of a year. For example: no more than two percent a year, even if the underlying index increases by more than two percent. Sometimes an ARM has a "payment cap" that ensures that your payment will not increase beyond a certain amount over the course of a given year. Most ARMs also cap your interest rate over the life of the loan period.

ARMs usually start at a very low rate that may increase as the loan ages. You may have heard about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". For these loans, the initial rate is set for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These types of loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then they adjust after the initial period. Loans like this are often best for borrowers who expect to move in three or five years. These types of ARMs are best for people who will sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

Most borrowers who choose ARMs choose them when they want to take advantage of lower introductory rates and don't plan on remaining in the home for any longer than the introductory low-rate period. ARMs can be risky if property values decrease and borrowers are unable to sell or refinance their loan.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 214-865-7442. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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