Fixed versus adjustable rate loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment doesn't change for the life of your mortgage. The portion allocated for your principal (the amount you borrowed) goes up, however, the amount you pay in interest will go down accordingly. Your property taxes increase, or rarely, decrease, and your insurance rates might vary as well. But generally monthly payments for a fixed-rate mortgage will be very stable.

During the early amortization period of a fixed-rate loan, a large percentage of your payment goes toward interest, and a much smaller part goes to principal. The amount paid toward principal goes up slowly every month.

You might choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. Borrowers select these types of loans when interest rates are low and they wish to lock in the low 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 can help you lock in a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call Riviera Funding at (310) 373-7406 to learn more.

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

Most programs feature a "cap" that protects you from sudden increases in monthly payments. Some ARMs can't increase more than 2% per year, regardless of the underlying interest rate. Your loan may have a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest rate directly, caps the amount the monthly payment can increase in a given period. The majority of ARMs also cap your interest rate over the life of the loan period.

ARMs most often have the lowest, most attractive rates at the beginning. They usually provide that rate for an initial period that varies greatly. You may have heard about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". For these loans, the introductory rate is set for three or five years. It then adjusts every year. These loans are fixed for 3 or 5 years, then they adjust after the initial period. These loans are usually best for people who expect to move in three or five years. These types of ARMs are best for 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 simply absorbing the higher rate after the initial rate expires. ARMs can be risky when housing prices go down because homeowners can get stuck with rates that go up if they cannot sell or refinance with a lower property value.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (310) 373-7406. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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