Adjustable versus fixed loans

A fixed-rate loan features the same payment for the entire duration of your mortgage. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and your insurance rates might vary as well. But generally payments on your fixed-rate mortgage will increase very little.

During the early amortization period of a fixed-rate loan, a large percentage of your monthly payment pays interest, and a much smaller part toward principal. The amount applied to principal increases up gradually every month.

You can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low rate. Borrowers choose fixed-rate loans because interest rates are low and they want to lock in the low rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can offer more consistency in monthly payments. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we can assist you in locking a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Ward Kilduff Mortgage at (860) 658-7100 to discuss how we can help.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, as we called them above — come in a great number of varieties. Generally, interest rates on ARMs are determined by an outside index. Some examples of outside indexes 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 Adjustable Rate Mortgages are capped, which means they won't go up over a specific amount in a given period. Some ARMs won't increase 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 your payment can increase in one period. Most ARMs also cap your rate over the life of the loan period.

ARMs most often feature their lowest, most attractive rates at the start of the loan. They guarantee the lower interest rate from a month to ten years. You've probably read about 5/1 or 3/1 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 a number of years (3 or 5), then they adjust after the initial period. Loans like this are often best for people who expect to move in three or five years. These types of ARMs are best for people who plan to move before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to take advantage of a very low introductory rate and plan on moving, refinancing or absorbing the higher rate after the introductory rate expires. ARMs can be risky if property values go down and borrowers can't sell their home or refinance their loan.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (860) 658-7100. We answer questions about different types of loans every day.

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