Differences between fixed and adjustable loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your payment remains the same for the life of the loan. The portion that goes for principal (the amount you borrowed) will increase, however, the amount you pay in interest will decrease in the same amount. Your property taxes may go up (or rarely, down), and so might the homeowner's insurance in your monthly payment. But generally monthly payments for a fixed-rate mortgage will be very stable.

Early in a fixed-rate loan, most of your monthly payment goes toward interest, and a much smaller percentage goes to principal. The amount paid toward your principal amount increases up gradually each month.

You might 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 wish to lock in the low rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing into a fixed-rate loan can offer greater stability 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 favorable rate. Call Foxfield Financial at 720-598-8300 for details.

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

Most programs have a "cap" that protects borrowers from sudden increases in monthly payments. There may be a cap on interest rate variances over the course of a year. For example: no more than a couple percent per year, even though the underlying index increases by more than two percent. Your loan may feature a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest rate directly, caps the amount that your monthly payment can go up in one period. In addition, almost all ARMs feature a "lifetime cap" — this means that your rate won't exceed the capped amount.

ARMs usually start out at a very low rate that may increase over time. You may have heard 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 number of years (3 or 5), then they adjust. These loans are best for people who expect to move in three or five years. These types of ARMs most benefit borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to take advantage of a lower initial interest rate and plan on moving, refinancing or absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate expires. ARMs can be risky if property values decrease and borrowers are unable to sell or refinance their loan.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 720-598-8300. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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