Differences between fixed and adjustable rate loans

A fixed-rate loan features the same payment amount for the entire duration of your mortgage. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. But generally monthly payments on a fixed-rate loan will be very stable.

Early in a fixed-rate loan, most of your monthly payment goes toward interest, and a much smaller percentage toward principal. As you pay , more of your payment goes toward principal.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. People choose fixed-rate loans when interest rates are low and they wish to lock in at this low rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can offer more consistency in monthly payments. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we can assist you in locking a fixed-rate at a favorable rate. Call Chase Mortgage at 435-755-6622 for details.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, as we called them above — come in even more varieties. Generally, interest on ARMs are determined by an outside index. A few of these are: the 6-month Certificate of Deposit (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 programs have a "cap" that protects you from sudden monthly payment increases. 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 the payment can increase in one period. Almost all ARMs also cap your interest rate over the duration of the loan.

ARMs usually start out at a very low rate that may increase as the loan ages. You've probably heard of 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. For these loans, the introductory rate is fixed for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These kinds of loans are fixed for a number of years (3 or 5), then they adjust after the initial period. Loans like this are often best for people who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs most benefit borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an ARM to get a very low introductory rate and count on moving, refinancing or absorbing the higher rate after the introductory rate expires. ARMs can be risky in a down market because homeowners could be stuck with increasing rates if 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!