Adjustable versus fixed rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your payment stays the same for the entire duration of your mortgage. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and your insurance rates might vary as well. But generally monthly payments on a fixed-rate loan will be very stable.

At the beginning of a a fixed-rate mortgage loan, most of the payment goes toward interest. That reverses itself as the loan ages.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low rate. People choose these types of loans because interest rates are low and they want to lock in at this lower rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can provide greater stability in monthly payments. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we'll be glad to help you lock in a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Northeast Bancorp of America, Inc. at (440) 234-9660 for details.

There are many kinds of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. ARMs usually adjust every six months, based on various indexes.

Most Adjustable Rate Mortgages feature this cap, which means they won't go up over a specific amount in a given period of time. Some ARMs can't increase more than two percent per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Sometimes an ARM features a "payment cap" that ensures your payment will not go above a certain amount over the course of a given year. Plus, the great majority of adjustable programs have a "lifetime cap" — your interest rate can't go over the capped amount.

ARMs most often have the lowest, most attractive rates toward the beginning of the loan. They usually provide the lower interest rate from a month to ten years. You may have heard about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". For these loans, the introductory 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 they adjust. Loans like this are often best for borrowers who expect to move in three or five years. These types of ARMs most benefit people who plan to move before the initial lock expires.

Most borrowers who choose ARMs do so when they want to take advantage of lower introductory rates and don't plan to remain in the home for any longer than the introductory low-rate period. ARMs are risky when property values decrease and borrowers cannot sell their home or refinance their loan.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (440) 234-9660. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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