Differences between adjustable and fixed loans

A fixed-rate loan features a fixed payment over the life of the mortgage. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and your insurance rates might vary as well. But generally monthly payments for a fixed-rate mortgage will be very stable.

When you first take out a fixed-rate mortgage loan, the majority your payment is applied to interest. The amount paid toward principal increases up gradually each month.

You might choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low rate. Borrowers choose these types of 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 offer greater consistency in monthly payments. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we'd love to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at a good rate. Call Chase Mortgage at 435-755-6622 for details.

There are many different types of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, the interest on ARMs are determined by a federal index. Some examples of outside indexes are: the 6-month CD rate, the one-year Treasury Security rate, the Federal Home Loan Bank's 11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI), or others.

Most Adjustable Rate Mortgages are capped, which means they can't increase over a specific amount in a given period. Some ARMs won't increase more than two percent per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Sometimes an ARM features a "payment cap" which guarantees that your payment won't increase beyond a certain amount over the course of a given year. Most ARMs also cap your interest rate over the life of the loan.

ARMs usually start at a very low rate that may increase over time. You may have heard 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 a number of years (3 or 5), then adjust after the initial period. Loans like this are often best for borrowers who expect to move in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate loans benefit people who plan to move before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an ARM to take advantage of a very low introductory rate and count on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate expires. ARMs can be risky when housing prices go down because homeowners can get stuck with rates that go up when they can't sell or refinance with a lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 435-755-6622. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!