Fixed versus adjustable rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment never changes for the entire duration of your loan. The amount that goes to your principal (the amount you borrowed) will increase, but your interest payment will go down in the same amount. The property taxes and homeowners insurance which are almost always part of the payment will go up over time, but in general, payment amounts on fixed rate loans don't increase much.

When you first take out a fixed-rate loan, the majority your payment is applied to interest. As you pay on the loan, more of your payment is applied to principal.

Borrowers can choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. Borrowers select fixed-rate loans because interest rates are low and they want to lock in the lower rate. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (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 can assist you in locking a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Pro-Active Mortgage at 503-524-3331 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

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

Most ARMs are capped, so they can't go up above a specific amount in a given period. Your ARM may feature a cap on how much your interest rate can increase in one period. For example: no more than a couple percent per year, even if the index the rate is based on increases by more than two percent. Your loan may feature a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest directly, caps the amount the payment can increase in one period. Most ARMs also cap your rate over the life of the loan.

ARMs usually start 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 types of loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then they adjust after the initial period. Loans like this are usually best for borrowers who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate loans most benefit people who will move before the loan adjusts.

You might choose an ARM to take advantage of a very low initial rate and count on moving, refinancing or simply absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate expires. ARMs can be risky when housing prices go down because homeowners could be stuck with increasing rates when they cannot sell or refinance at the lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 503-524-3331. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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