Fixed versus adjustable rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment doesn't change for the life of your loan. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. But generally monthly payments on your fixed-rate loan will increase very little.

Your first few years of payments on a fixed-rate loan are applied primarily toward interest. This proportion gradually reverses as the loan ages.

You might choose a fixed-rate loan to lock in a low rate. People choose these types of loans when interest rates are low and they want to lock in this lower rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can provide greater consistency in monthly payments. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we'll be glad to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at a good rate. Call AAA Mortgage LLC at 816-272-5550 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

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

Most ARM programs feature a "cap" that protects borrowers from sudden increases in monthly payments. Some ARMs can'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 your monthly payment can increase in one period. Additionally, the great majority of ARMs feature a "lifetime cap" — your rate can't ever exceed the capped percentage.

ARMs most often feature the lowest rates toward the beginning. They usually guarantee 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 introductory rate is fixed for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These kinds of loans are fixed for a certain number of years (3 or 5), then they adjust. Loans like this are often best for people who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of ARMs most benefit people who will sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

Most people who choose ARMs choose them when they want to get lower introductory rates and don't plan to stay in the home for any longer than the introductory low-rate period. ARMs can be risky in a down market because homeowners can get stuck with rates that go up when they can't sell their home or refinance at the lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 816-272-5550. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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