There are hundreds of different loan programs
available to you as a consumer. Depending on your specific situation, there may only be a
few that actually fit your needs.
It may seem odd, but be sure your Mortgage
Professional asks about your career(possible relocation), family goals(more children),
financial goals(early payoff), etc. before recommending one program or another. The time
you spend undeerstanding some basics may put you into the right program, or keep you out
of the wrong one.
What are adjustable rate mortgages?
These loans generally begin with an interest rate that
is 2-3 percent below a comparable fixed rate mortgage, and could allow you to buy a more
However, the interest rate changes at
specified intervals ( for example, every year) depending on changing market conditions; if
interest rates go up, your monthly mortgage payment will go up, too. However, if rates go
down, your mortgage payment will drop also.
There are also mortgages that combine aspects of fixed and
adjustable rate mortgages - starting at a low fixed-rate for seven to ten years, for
example, then adjusting to market conditions. Ask your mortgage lender about these and
other special kinds of mortgages that fit your specific financial situation.
What are balloon mortgages?
Balloon loans are short term mortgages that have some features of a fixed
rate mortgage. The loans provide a level payment feature during the term of the loan, but
as opposed to the 30 year fixed rate mortgage, balloon loans do not fully amortize over
the original term. At the end of the loan term there is still a remaining principal loan
balance and the lender generally requires that the loan be paid in full. Balloon loans can
have many types of maturities, but most balloons that are first mortgages have a term of 5
to 7 years.
What are fixed rate mortgages?
With this type of mortgage your monthly payments for interest and principal never
change. Property taxes and homeowners insurance may increase, but generally your monthly
payments will be very stable.
Fixed-rate mortgages are available for 30 years, 20 years,
15 years and even 10 years. There are also "bi-weekly" mortgages, which shorten
the loan by calling for half the monthly payment every two weeks. (Since there are 52
weeks in a year, you make 26 payments, or 13 "months" worth, every year.)
Fixed rate fully amortizing loans have two distinct
features. First, the interest rate remains fixed for the life of the loan. Secondly, the
payments remain level for the life of the loan and are structured to repay the loan at the
end of the loan term. The most common fixed rate loans are 15 year and 30 year mortgages.
During the early amortization period, a large percentage
of the monthly payment is used for paying the interest . As the loan is paid down, more of
the monthly payment is applied to principal . A typical 30 year fixed rate mortgage takes
22.5 years of level payments to pay half of the original loan amount.
Which program is best for me?
There isn't a single, simple answer to this question. The right type of mortgage for you
depends on many different factors:
Your current financial picture; How
you expect your finances to change; How long you intend to keep your house; And how
comfortable you are with your mortgage payment changing from time to time.
For example, a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage can save you many
thousands of dollars in interest payments over the life of the loan, but your monthly
payments will be higher. And an adjustable rate mortgage may get you started with a lower
monthly payment than a fixed-rate mortgage -- but your payments could get higher when the
interest rate changes.
The best way to find the "right" answer is to discuss
your finances, your plans and financial prospects, and your preferences frankly with a