Differences between adjustable and fixed loans

A fixed-rate loan features a fixed payment for the entire duration of the loan. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and your insurance rates might vary as well. For the most part monthly payments for a fixed-rate loan will increase very little.

Early in a fixed-rate loan, most of your payment goes toward interest, and a significantly smaller part goes to principal. That gradually reverses itself as the loan ages.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low rate. Borrowers select these types of 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 with a fixed-rate loan can provide more monthly payment stability. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we'll be glad to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Custom Lending Group at (707) 252-2700 to learn more.

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

Most programs feature 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 a couple percent per year, even though the index the rate is based on goes up by more than two percent. Your loan may have a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest directly, caps the amount your monthly payment can increase in a given period. Additionally, the great majority of adjustable programs feature a "lifetime cap" — this means that your interest rate can never go over the cap amount.

ARMs most often have the lowest, most attractive rates toward the start of the loan. They usually provide the lower rate from a month to ten years. 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 often best for people who expect to move within three or five years. These types of adjustable rate loans benefit people who plan to move before the initial lock expires.

You might choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to take advantage of a lower introductory rate and plan on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the introductory rate expires. ARMs can be risky if property values decrease and borrowers are unable to sell or refinance.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (707) 252-2700. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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