Fixed versus adjustable rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your payment never changes for the entire duration of your mortgage. The longer you pay, the more of your payment goes toward principal. Your property taxes may go up (or rarely, down), and your insurance rates might vary as well. For the most part payments for a fixed-rate loan will increase very little.

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

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 wish to lock in at the lower rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can offer greater monthly payment stability. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we'd love to help you lock in a fixed-rate at a good rate. Call Coastal Mortgage Corp. at 504-866-5626 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, come in many varieties. Generally, interest rates on ARMs are based on a federal index. Some examples of outside indexes 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.

The majority of ARMs feature this cap, so they won't increase over a specific amount in a given period. Your ARM may feature a cap on interest rate variances over the course of a year. For example: no more than two percent a year, even though the index the rate is based on goes up by more than two percent. Your loan may have a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest directly, caps the amount that your payment can go up in a given period. Plus, the great majority of adjustable programs have a "lifetime cap" — this means that the rate can never exceed the cap amount.

ARMs most often have the lowest, most attractive rates at the beginning. 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 set for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These kinds of loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then they adjust after the initial period. These loans are usually best for borrowers who anticipate moving within three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs benefit people who will move before the initial lock expires.

Most people who choose ARMs do so when they want to get lower introductory rates and do not plan to stay in the house for any longer than the initial low-rate period. ARMs can be risky if property values go down and borrowers can't sell their home or refinance.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at 504-866-5626. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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