Differences between fixed and adjustable loans

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With a fixed-rate loan, your payment remains the same for the entire duration of your loan. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. But generally payments for a fixed-rate loan will be very stable.

During the early amortization period of a fixed-rate loan, a large percentage of your monthly payment goes toward interest, and a significantly smaller part goes to principal. The amount applied to your principal amount increases up gradually each month.

Borrowers might choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low rate. People select fixed-rate loans when interest rates are low and they want to lock in this low rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can offer greater monthly payment stability. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we can help you lock in a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Oak Mortgage Company, LLC at (856) 988-8100 x6615 to learn more.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, come in even more varieties. Generally, interest on ARMs are based on an outside index. A few of these are: the 6-month Certificate of Deposit (CD) rate, the one-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 you from sudden monthly payment increases. Your ARM may feature a cap on interest rate variances over the course of a year. For example: no more than two percent per year, even though the underlying index goes up by more than two percent. Sometimes an ARM features a "payment cap" which guarantees your payment can't increase beyond a certain amount over the course of a given year. In addition, the great majority of adjustable programs feature a "lifetime cap" — your rate won't go over the cap amount.

ARMs most often feature the lowest, most attractive rates toward the start of the loan. They guarantee that interest rate for an initial period that varies greatly. You may have heard about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". In these loans, the introductory 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. These loans are best for people who expect to move in three or five years. These types of ARMs most benefit people who will move before the initial lock expires.

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

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (856) 988-8100 x6615. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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