Differences between fixed and adjustable rate loans

A fixed-rate loan features a fixed payment amount over the life of your loan. The property taxes and homeowners insurance which are almost always part of the payment will go up over time, but in general, payment amounts on these types of loans change little over the life of the loan.

Your first few years of payments on a fixed-rate loan are applied primarily to pay interest. That gradually reverses itself as the loan ages.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. People choose fixed-rate loans because interest rates are low and they wish to lock in at this lower rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can provide greater monthly payment stability. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we'd love to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at a good rate. Call Ward Kilduff Mortgage at (860) 658-7100 to learn more.

There are many types of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, the interest for ARMs are determined by a federal index. A few of these are: the 6-month Certificate of Deposit (CD) rate, the one-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 you from sudden monthly payment increases. Some ARMs won't increase more than 2% per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Your loan may feature a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest rate directly, caps the amount that the monthly payment can go up in a given period. The majority of ARMs also cap your rate over the life of the loan.

ARMs usually start out 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 introductory rate is fixed for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These loans are fixed for a number of years (3 or 5), then they adjust. Loans like this are best for people who expect to move in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs are best for borrowers who will sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an ARM to take advantage of a lower initial interest rate and count on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate expires. ARMs are risky if property values go down and borrowers are unable to sell or refinance.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (860) 658-7100. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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