Differences between fixed and adjustable rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment never changes for the life of the loan. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. The property taxes and homeowners insurance will increase over time, but generally, payment amounts on fixed rate loans vary little.

Your first few years of payments on a fixed-rate loan go mostly to pay interest. The amount applied to principal goes up slowly every month.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low interest rate. Borrowers select fixed-rate loans when interest rates are low and they want to lock in the low rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can provide more monthly payment stability. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we'd love to 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.

There are many different types of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. ARMs usually adjust every six months, based on various indexes.

The majority of ARMs are capped, which means they can't go up above a certain amount in a given period of time. Some ARMs can't adjust 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 your payment can increase in one period. Plus, the great majority of ARM programs feature a "lifetime cap" — this means that the rate can't exceed the cap percentage.

ARMs usually start out at a very low rate that usually increases as the loan ages. You may hear people talking about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". For these loans, the introductory rate is set 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 often best for borrowers who expect to move within three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs benefit borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the initial lock expires.

Most people who choose ARMs choose them when they want to get lower introductory rates and do not plan on remaining in the house longer than the initial low-rate period. ARMs can be 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!