Deciding which mortgage to take is complicated. The first choice you make will be the most consequential. You can choose to have either a fixed rate or an adjustable rate. Your decision will impact your monthly payment, how much interest you will pay during the loan life, and how long it will take you to pay off your mortgage. An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) can be a better choice in particular situations, while a fixed-rate mortgage can be a clear winner for borrowers in other specific circumstances.It is important that before getting a mortagage one uses review sites to check for mortage complaints. Avoid mortgage companies that have lots of negative client complaints.
Differences Between ARM and Fixed-Rate mortgages
The dissimilarity between ARMs and fixed-rate mortgages is straightforward. A mortgage interest rate of a fixed-rate mortgage does not change, but for adjustable-rate mortgage’s interest changes with time up to limits defined in the loan agreement. An ARM will have different reset timelines depending on the nature of the loan. The ARM schedule is expressed as a fraction. The first number in the fraction indicates when the rate initially resets, while the second number shows the change frequency after the first adjustment. So a 4/1 ARM has a fixed rate for four years, and then the rate changes annually afterward. Typically, an ARM is a long-term mortgage.
A fixed-rate mortgage is more straightforward than an ARM. The main difference is in the amortization schedule.
Deciding between a fixed-rate mortgage and an ARM is all about reward versus risk. The borrower locks in a rate for the life of the mortgage loan in a fixed-rate mortgage. With adjustable-rate, the consumer takes on the risk of increment of their rate in the future. Your financial status, tolerance for risk, and goals will determine the best type of loan suitable to your needs. For most people, the hope of getting a slightly lower interest rate in the future is not worth the risk of prospective increment of costs in the future. This is especially true when there are low rates across the board, meaning there will be a negligible difference between ARM and fixed rates.
Also, a fixed-rate mortgage is flexible; you can choose a shorter loan term, like a 15-year loan which will attract a lower rate than a 30-year mortgage loan. The majority of the borrowers are willing to pay more on the monthly payments and save thousands of dollars on the interest rates.
You can consider the following factors to decide whether to choose a fixed-rate or ARM:
- The duration you plan to stay in the home
If you don’t intend to stay long in the home, then the lower-rate ARM will be a better option for you, especially if you are legible for a reasonable price, like 2/1 or 4/1. Your payments will be lower, and you can save more over time. You will also never be exposed to high rate adjustments because you will have made substantial payments before the adjustment period begins. If you plan to stay in the home for a long time, the fixed-rate mortgage will work best for you. This will save you future rising adjustments.
- The interest rate at the environment
When interest rates are high, ARMs will be a better option for borrowers because their lower initial rates allow them to enjoy homeownership benefits. When the rate begins to fall, borrowers will get lower payments if they don’t refinance their loans. However, when the rates are comparatively low, a fixed-rate mortgage will make more sense to borrowers. During pandemics, interest rates of all types of mortgages tend to be low, and thus the gap between fixed rates and adjustable rates is narrowed significantly.
- Your ability to still afford your monthly payments when interest rates rise
Based on the market condition, ARM payment changes and can vary significantly from year to year. If you can’t afford your monthly payments if they increase due to interest adjustments, then you should opt for a fixed-rate mortgage.
- Frequency of ARM adjustments
Most ARMs adjust annually after the expiry of the fixed period. A specified index determines the new rate, but some change monthly. If the monthly adjustment will burden you, it is advisable to go with the fixed-rate mortgage.
People with a flexible budget will find adjustable rates to be worth the risk of a rising rate. If you fear taking risks, then the fixed-rate mortgage is the best option for you. However, if you are willing to take a little more risk, perhaps an adjustable-rate mortgage will work best for you. Put your financial circumstances into consideration before deciding on the type of mortgage to go by. Evaluate the fixed-rate and ARMs; whichever saves you money will be the best option to suit your needs.