Advantages and Disadvantages of Fixed-Rate Vs Adjustable-Rate Home Mortgages

Home Loan

A home is where the heart is. When you want to build your very own family, you will need a home of your own. However, owning a home is not as easy as it seems. Well, if you are very wealthy and have lots of money saved; owning a house will be easy because you can pay the total price of the house you want in cash. However, if you do not have enough money saved up yet, you can still purchase a house by financing it through a mortgage loan.

There are basically two types of home mortgages which a person can choose to purchase the first home or for a home refinance. These are the fixed-rate mortgage and the adjustable-rate mortgages. Each type of mortgage has its own advantages and disadvantages. You must understand the differences between these two types so that you can choose the best one that suits your needs.

The Fixed-Rate Home Mortgage: If you are struggling with your budget; the fixed-rate home mortgage is ideal for you. Fixed-rate home mortgages are charged with a set rate of interest which is fixed for the entire term of the loan. The advantage of a fixed-rate home mortgage is that the total amount that you have to pay will remain the same. The payments you will make consist primarily of interest payments during the initial years of the term. However, during the later part of the term, the payments will go towards the reduction of your loan principal.

Another advantage with a fixed-rate mortgage, which is actually considered as the main advantage is: the person who takes the loan is protected from any sudden and potentially significant increase in monthly mortgage payments due to the rise of interest rates.

An adjustable-rate home mortgage (ARM) has interest rates that vary over time. An ARM starts out by offering an interest rate which is lower than the interest rates offered by fixed-rate mortgages. However, this rate will only last for a specific part of the total loan term. As the term progresses, the interest being charged by the bank will increase until it surpasses the going rate for fixed-rate mortgages.

The low interest rate of the ARM will remain constant only for a fixed period. Once this period is reached, the interest rates will be adjusted at a pre-arranged frequency.

It is very difficult to understand adjusted-rate mortgages mainly because of the many factors affecting the adjustment of interest being charged on the loan. The adjustments of the interest rates depend on different adjustment indexes such as the interest rate on certificates of deposit, the treasury bills or the LIBOR rate. However, a person planning to apply for an adjusted-rate mortgage may negotiate with the lending institution to apply caps and ceilings on the interest charges on the loan. Ceiling refers to the highest amount of interest that can be charged on the loan.

ARMs may be ideal for most people because they offer lower initial payments and enable a person to qualify for a larger loan. Also, in an economy with a falling interest rate, the person with an adjusted-rate mortgage will be able to enjoy lower interest rates as his/her loan term progresses. However, when interest rates rises due to poor economic indexers, a person may find himself paying a significantly higher monthly payment than what he bargained for.

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