Differences between fixed and adjustable rate loans

A fixed-rate loan features the same payment over the life of your mortgage. The property taxes and homeowners insurance which are almost always part of the payment will go up over time, but for the most part, payment amounts on fixed rate loans change little over the life of the loan.

During the early amortization period of a fixed-rate loan, a large percentage of your monthly payment pays interest, and a significantly smaller part goes to principal. As you pay on the loan, more of your payment goes toward principal.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low rate. People select these types of loans because interest rates are low and they wish to lock in at the lower rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can provide more monthly payment stability. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we'll be glad to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Augusta Mortgage Solutions at 706-860-5514 to discuss how we can help.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, come in many varieties. Generally, the interest for 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 ARM programs feature a cap that protects borrowers from sudden increases in monthly payments. Some ARMs won't adjust more than two percent per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Your loan may feature a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest directly, caps the amount that your monthly payment can go up in a given period. The majority of ARMs also cap your rate over the duration of the loan.

ARMs most often feature their lowest rates toward the beginning of the loan. They usually guarantee the lower interest rate for an initial period that varies greatly. You've likely read about 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 a number of years (3 or 5), then adjust after the initial period. Loans like this are usually best for borrowers who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs are best for borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an ARM to get a lower initial interest rate and count 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 could be stuck with increasing rates when they cannot sell their home or refinance with a lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 706-860-5514. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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