Differences between fixed and adjustable loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment stays the same for the entire duration of the loan. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. Your property taxes may go up (or rarely, down), and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. For the most part payment amounts for a fixed-rate mortgage will increase very little.

Your first few years of payments on a fixed-rate loan are applied primarily toward interest. The amount paid toward your principal amount goes up gradually each month.

You can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. Borrowers choose fixed-rate loans because interest rates are low and they want to lock in the lower rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can offer more consistency in monthly payments. If you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), we'd love to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at a good rate. Call Executive Lending Group at (405) 822-1957 for details.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, as we called them above — come in a great number of varieties. Generally, interest rates for ARMs are based on an outside index. A few of these are: the 6-month Certificate of Deposit (CD) rate, the one-year rate on Treasure Securities, the Federal Home Loan Bank's 11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI), or others.

Most ARM programs have a "cap" that protects borrowers from sudden monthly payment increases. There may be a cap on interest rate increases over the course of a year. For example: no more than a couple percent a year, even though the index the rate is based on increases by more than two percent. Sometimes an ARM features a "payment cap" which ensures that your payment won't go above a certain amount in a given year. In addition, almost all ARM programs have a "lifetime cap" — your interest rate will never go over the cap percentage.

ARMs most often have the lowest, most attractive rates at the beginning of the loan. They provide that rate for an initial period that varies greatly. You've probably 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 3 or 5 years, then adjust after the initial period. Loans like this are 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.

You might choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to take advantage of a lower initial interest rate and count on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the introductory rate goes up. ARMs can be risky if property values go down and borrowers can't sell or refinance their loan.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (405) 822-1957. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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