Adjustable versus fixed loans

A fixed-rate loan features a fixed payment over the life of your mortgage. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. For the most part monthly payments for a fixed-rate mortgage will increase very little.

Your first few years of payments on a fixed-rate loan go primarily toward interest. That reverses as the loan ages.

You might choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low rate. Borrowers choose these types of loans when interest rates are low and they want to lock in the lower rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can offer more monthly payment stability. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, 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.

There are many different types of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, the interest for ARMs are determined by an outside index. Some examples of outside indexes are: the 6-month CD rate, the 1 year rate on Treasure Securities, 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. There may be a cap on interest rate increases over the course of a year. For example: no more than a couple percent a year, even if the index the rate is based on goes up by more than two percent. Your loan may have a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest rate directly, caps the amount that your monthly payment can increase in a given period. The majority of ARMs also cap your interest rate over the life of the loan.

ARMs usually start at a very low rate that may increase as the loan ages. You may hear people talking about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". In these loans, the initial rate is set for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These types of loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then adjust. These loans are often best for borrowers who expect to move in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs benefit people who plan to sell their house or refinance before the initial lock expires.

Most borrowers who choose ARMs do so because they want to take advantage of lower introductory rates and do not plan on staying in the home for any longer than the initial low-rate period. ARMs can be risky when housing prices go down because homeowners can get stuck with rates that go up when they cannot sell or refinance at the lower property value.

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!