Fixed versus adjustable rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your payment doesn't change for the entire duration of your mortgage. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. For the most part payments on your fixed-rate mortgage will be very stable.

During the early amortization period of a fixed-rate loan, most of your payment goes toward interest, and a significantly smaller percentage goes to principal. The amount paid toward your principal amount increases up slowly every month.

You might choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low interest rate. Borrowers choose these types of loans because interest rates are low and they wish to lock in the low rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can provide greater monthly payment stability. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we can help you lock in a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Ward Kilduff Mortgage at (860) 658-7100 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

There are many types of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, the interest rates on ARMs are determined by an outside index. Some examples of outside indexes are: the 6-month Certificate of Deposit (CD) rate, the one-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 borrowers from sudden monthly payment increases. Some ARMs won't adjust more than two percent per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Your loan may feature a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest directly, caps the amount the payment can increase in one period. In addition, almost all adjustable programs feature a "lifetime cap" — the interest rate won't exceed the capped percentage.

ARMs most often feature the lowest rates at the start of the loan. They provide that interest rate for an initial period that varies greatly. You may have heard about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". For these loans, the initial rate is fixed for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then adjust after the initial period. Loans like this are usually best for people who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of ARMs are best for borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the initial lock expires.

Most borrowers who choose ARMs choose them when they want to take advantage of lower introductory rates and do not plan on remaining in the house longer than the introductory low-rate period. ARMs can be risky in a down market because homeowners can get stuck with rates that go up when they can't sell or refinance with a lower property value.

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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