Fixed versus adjustable loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment doesn't change for the entire duration of the mortgage. The amount that goes to principal (the actual loan amount) will increase, but your interest payment will go down in the same amount. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and your insurance rates might vary as well. But generally payments on your fixed-rate loan will increase very little.

Your first few years of payments on a fixed-rate loan are applied primarily toward interest. As you pay , more of your payment is applied to principal.

You might choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. People select fixed-rate loans because interest rates are low and they want to lock in this lower rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can provide more monthly payment stability. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we can assist you in locking a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Washingtonian Mortgage, LLC at 410-451-2755 to learn more.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, come in many varieties. Generally, the interest for ARMs are based on a federal 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 programs feature a cap that protects you from sudden monthly payment increases. Some ARMs can't increase more than 2% per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Your loan may have a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest rate directly, caps the amount that your payment can go up in one period. Most ARMs also cap your interest rate over the life of the loan period.

ARMs usually start out at a very low rate that usually increases over time. You may hear people talking about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". In these loans, the initial rate is fixed for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These types of loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then adjust after the initial period. These loans are usually best for people who expect to move within three or five years. These types of adjustable rate loans are best for people who will move before the initial lock expires.

Most people who choose ARMs do so when they want to get lower introductory rates and don't plan on remaining in the home for any longer than the initial low-rate period. ARMs can be risky if property values go down and borrowers are unable to sell or refinance their loan.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 410-451-2755. We answer questions about different types of loans every day.