Fixed versus adjustable loans

A fixed-rate loan features a fixed payment amount over the life of your mortgage. The property tax and homeowners insurance which are almost always part of the payment will go up over time, but for the most part, payments on these types of loans vary little.

During the early amortization period of a fixed-rate loan, most of your payment goes toward interest, and a significantly smaller percentage goes to principal. That gradually reverses as the loan ages.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low interest rate. People select these types of loans because interest rates are low and they want to lock in this lower rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can provide greater monthly payment stability. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we'd love to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Washingtonian Mortgage, LLC at 410-451-2755 for details.

There are many kinds of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. ARMs are generally adjusted twice a year, based on various indexes.

Most ARM programs have a "cap" that protects borrowers from sudden increases in monthly payments. There may be a cap on interest rate variances over the course of a year. For example: no more than a couple percent per year, even if the index the rate is based on goes up by more than two percent. Your loan may feature a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest rate directly, caps the amount that the monthly payment can increase in a given period. The majority of ARMs also cap your rate over the duration of the loan.

ARMs most often have the lowest, most attractive rates at the start of the loan. They usually guarantee that interest rate from a month to ten years. You may have heard about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". For these loans, the introductory rate is set for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then adjust after the initial period. These loans are best for borrowers who expect to move within three or five years. These types of adjustable rate loans are best for borrowers who plan to move before the loan adjusts.

Most people who choose ARMs do so because they want to take advantage of lower introductory rates and do not plan to remain in the home longer than this introductory low-rate period. ARMs can be risky in a down market because homeowners can get stuck with increasing rates if they can't sell their home or refinance with a lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 410-451-2755. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!