Differences between fixed and adjustable rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your payment stays the same for the life 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 your insurance rates might vary as well. But generally monthly payments for a fixed-rate loan will increase very little.

At the beginning of a a fixed-rate mortgage loan, most of the payment goes toward interest. The amount applied to your principal amount increases up slowly every month.

Borrowers might choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low rate. Borrowers choose these types of loans when interest rates are low and they want to lock in this low rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can offer greater 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 a favorable rate. Call Contemporary Mortgage Services, Inc at 407-834-3377 to discuss how we can help.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, come in a great number of varieties. ARMs usually adjust every six months, based on various indexes.

Most programs feature a "cap" that protects you from sudden monthly payment increases. Your ARM may feature a cap on interest rate variances over the course of a year. For example: no more than two percent per year, even if the underlying index increases by more than two percent. Sometimes an ARM has a "payment cap" which ensures your payment won't go above a certain amount over the course of a given year. Most ARMs also cap your rate over the life of the loan period.

ARMs most often have the lowest rates toward the start. They guarantee that rate for an initial period that varies greatly. You may hear people talking about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". For these loans, the initial rate is fixed for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then they adjust after the initial period. These loans are usually best for people who expect to move in three or five years. These types of ARMs are best for people who will move before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to get a very low introductory rate and plan on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the introductory rate goes up. ARMs can be risky when property values decrease and borrowers are unable to sell their home or refinance.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 407-834-3377. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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