Fixed Rate Mortgages
A fixed-rate mortgage features an interest rate that remains the same throughout the life of the loan, so your monthly principal and interest payment will be steady and predictable. This type of loan is an excellent option if you plan to stay in your home for an extended period of time.
When choosing a fixed rate mortgage, consider these factors:
- Typically requires at least a 5 - 25% down payment, but can go as low as 3% for First-Time Homebuyers.
- Amortization periods from 10 to 30 years
- Loans with less than a 20% down payment may require private mortgage insurance (PMI)
- The longer the term of the loan, the higher the overall interest you pay
- The shorter the term, the faster you build equity in your new home but monthly payments are typically higher on shorter term loans than longer term loans
Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM)
If you plan to own your home for a short while or you expect your income will increase, an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) may be your best option. Adjustable rate mortgages have interest rates that may vary up or down at fixed intervals, and often offer a low beginning interest rate that will go up after a certain time.
When considering an adjustable rate mortgage, remember these factors:
- Based on the term of your loan, the interest rate is fixed for a set number of years and then adjusts annually.
- The interest rate will rise and fall with the market. This means your monthly payments could change depending on the market interest rate at the time of your rate adjustment.
- Adjustable rate mortgages do offer safeguards called “caps” that set pre-determined limits on how high your mortgage rate can rise. A cap limits the maximum your payment will increase at each interest rate adjustment and over the life of the loan.