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Adjustable Rate Mortgages

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How Can I determine If I Want an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, or Not?
Similar to a fixed rate mortgage, Adjustable Rate Mortgages, also known as ARMs, usually have a term of 15 or 30 years. However, during the life long term of that mortgage, the interest rate may tend to fluctuate. Your payments may rise or fall.

You May Wish to Choose an ARM If:

You Can Establish a Comfortable Payment Range.
You know the levels within which you can meet your financial responsibilities and an exact amount paid in each month is not a requirement of your budget. You are fully aware that your interest rate cap limits rates you must adhere to, therefore you must also be aware that your payments may change periodically over the lifetime of the loan.

You Know You Are on the Fast Track and That Your Income Is Growing.
You currently know what your financial constraints are, but your confident in your ability to elevate your income status in the near future.

You Plan on Moving or Refinancing the Loan in Less Than 5 Years Time.
Before the interest rate on your ARM has gone up significantly you will sell or refinance your home.

Arms do offer numerous benefits that can ease your mortgage's burden. Initially the interest rate on these loans is typically more affordable than that of a fixed rate mortgage. So, your monthly responsibilities are also lessened.

Plus, when your monthly payments carry less responsibility it only follows that getting approved is an easier process. And, a lot of the time the lender will allow you to borrow higher amounts.

This Is a Welcome Event If You Are:

  • A first time homeowner.
  • Looking to upgrade your living situation by acquiring a new residence.
  • Refinancing your present loan.
  • Have a need to consolidate your current debt liabilities.
  • Have future plans of investment that require financing today.

You must always keep in mind that the lower rates and lower payments may fluctuate. Every ARM agreement stipulates that lender's can adjust the rate at a specific time. This is known as the adjustment period.

These adjustment periods for ARM loans can start as early as 1 month after signing and extend up to several years in the future. One rule of thumb is this, the shorter the adjustment period, the lower the initial interest rate will be.

Example being: a 1 month ARM often comes with a lower initial interest rate than does a 6-month or 1 year ARM.

What degree of fluctuation is considered to be normal? ARM rate changes are tied to the economy and its fluctuations; lenders base your new rate on those factors.

An interest rate index, which is published and not controlled by lenders, is employed to determine the amount of change plus a small margin.

Some Examples of Indices Are:

  • Government regulated interest rates.
  • T Bills and the Federal Home Loan Bank.
  • The rates of interest that banks may charge each other.
    Such as LIBOR, London Inter-Bank Offering Rate.

Fluctuations in the interest rates that cause them to decrease are always welcome news. But when interest rates increase, some times to much higher levels, what can you expect? The majority of Arms have rate caps to protect you just for this reason.

Two Specific ARM Rate Caps to be Aware of Are:

The Adjustment Period Cap
This will put a limit on the amount your rate can change at each adjustment period. Typically anywhere between 1% and 2%.

The Lifetime Cap
Puts limits on the amount your rate can change starting with the initial rate and continuing for the full term of the loan. Common caps are usually from 6% to 7%.

You should look for another lender if the one you are currently dealing with suggests that there is no need for a rate cap.

Click Here For a Comparison Of Fixed vs Adjustable Rate Mortgage Loans

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