Differences between adjustable and fixed rate loans

A fixed-rate loan features a fixed payment amount for the entire duration of your 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 increase very little.

At the beginning of a a fixed-rate mortgage loan, most of your payment is applied to interest. As you pay , more of your payment goes toward principal.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low interest rate. People select these types of loans when interest rates are low and they wish 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 have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we can assist you in locking a fixed-rate at a good rate. Call First Community Bank of Central Al. at (334) 285-8850 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

There are many different types of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, interest on ARMs are based on an outside index. A few of these 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 ARMs are capped, so they won't go up above a specified amount in a given period. Some ARMs won't adjust more than two percent per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Sometimes an ARM has a "payment cap" which guarantees your payment will not go above a certain amount in a given year. The majority of ARMs also cap your interest rate over the duration of the loan period.

ARMs usually start at a very low rate that usually increases over time. You've likely heard of 5/1 or 3/1 ARMs. In these loans, the initial rate is fixed for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then they adjust. These loans are best for borrowers who anticipate moving within three or five years. These types of ARMs are best for people who will sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

Most people who choose ARMs choose them because they want to take advantage of lower introductory rates and do not plan on staying in the house longer than this initial low-rate period. ARMs can be risky when housing prices go down because homeowners could be 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 (334) 285-8850. We answer questions about different types of loans every day.

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