Adjustable versus fixed rate loans

A fixed-rate loan features a fixed payment amount over the life of the loan. The property tax and homeowners insurance which are almost always part of the payment will go up over time, but for the most part, 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 go mostly toward interest. That reverses itself as the loan ages.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. People select these types of loans when interest rates are low and they wish to lock in the low rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can offer more 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 Omni Mortgage Company, Inc. at 603-893-6616 to learn more.

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

The majority of ARMs are capped, so they won't go up above a specific amount in a given period. Some ARMs won't adjust more than 2% per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Sometimes an ARM features a "payment cap" that guarantees your payment can't go above a certain amount in a given year. Additionally, almost all ARMs have a "lifetime cap" — your interest rate won't exceed the cap percentage.

ARMs most often feature their lowest rates toward the beginning of the loan. They provide the lower rate from a month to ten years. You've probably read about 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. In these loans, the introductory rate is fixed for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These loans are fixed for a certain 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 adjustable rate programs most benefit borrowers who plan to move before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to take advantage of a lower introductory rate and plan on moving, refinancing or absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate goes up. ARMs are risky when property values decrease and borrowers are unable to sell or refinance their loan.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 603-893-6616. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!