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Differences between adjustable and fixed loans

A fixed-rate loan features the same payment for the entire duration of your loan. Your property taxes may go up (or rarely, down), and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. But generally payments for your fixed-rate loan will be very stable.

Your first few years of payments on a fixed-rate loan are applied mostly to pay interest. As you pay on the loan, more of your payment goes toward principal.

Borrowers might choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. People choose fixed-rate loans because interest rates are low and they wish to lock in at this lower rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can provide greater monthly payment stability. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we'd love to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call One Source Lending 303-220-7500 at 303-220-7500 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

There are many kinds of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Generally, the interest rates on ARMs are determined by an outside index. A few of these are: the 6-month Certificate of Deposit (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, which means they won't go up above a specified amount in a given period of time. Some ARMs can't adjust more than two percent per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Your loan may have a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest rate directly, caps the amount that the payment can go up in a given period. The majority of ARMs also cap your interest rate over the life of the loan.

ARMs most often feature the lowest rates at the start of the loan. They guarantee the lower rate for an initial period that varies greatly. You may hear people talking about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". In these loans, the initial rate is set for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then adjust after the initial period. Loans like this are usually best for borrowers who expect to move in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate loans are best for borrowers who plan to move before the loan adjusts.

Most people who choose ARMs choose them because they want to get lower introductory rates and don't plan on staying in the house for any longer than this initial low-rate period. ARMs can be risky in a down market because homeowners can get stuck with increasing rates when they can't sell or refinance at the lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 303-220-7500. We answer questions about different types of loans every day.