Thirty-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
The traditional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has a constant interest rate and monthly payments that never change. This may be a good choice if you plan to stay in your home for seven years or longer. If you plan to move within seven years, then adjustable-rate loans are usually cheaper. As a rule of thumb, it may be harder to qualify for fixed-rate loans than for adjustable rate loans. When interest rates are low, fixed-rate loans are generally not that much more expensive than adjustable-rate mortgages and may be a better deal in the long run, because you can lock in the rate for the life of your loan.
Fifteen-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
This loan is fully amortized over a 15-year period and features constant monthly payments. It offers all the advantages of the 30-year loan, plus a lower interest rate—and you’ll own your home twice as fast. The disadvantage is that, with a 15-year loan, you commit to a higher monthly payment. Many borrowers opt for a 30-year fixed-rate loan and voluntarily make larger payments that will pay off their loan in 15 years. This approach is often safer than committing to a higher monthly payment, since the difference in interest rates isn’t that great.
Hybrid ARM (3/1 ARM, 5/1 ARM, 7/1 ARM)
These increasingly popular ARMS—also called 3/1, 5/1 or 7/1—can offer the best of both worlds: lower interest rates (like ARMs) and a fixed payment for a longer period of time than most adjustable rate loans. For example, a “5/1 loan” has a fixed monthly payment and interest for the first five years and then turns into a traditional adjustable-rate loan, based on then-current rates for the remaining 25 years. It’s a good choice for people who expect to move (or refinance) before or shortly after the adjustment occurs.
Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM)
When it comes to ARMs there’s a basic rule to remember…the longer you ask the lender to charge you a specific rate, the more expensive the loan.
2/1 Buy Down Mortgage
The 2/1 Buy-Down Mortgage allows the borrower to qualify at below market rates so they can borrow more. The initial starting interest rate increases by 1% at the end of the first year and adjusts again by another 1% at the end of the second year. It then remains at a fixed interest rate for the remainder of the loan term. Borrowers often refinance at the end of the second year to obtain the best long-term rates. However, keeping the loan in place even for three full years or more will keep their average interest rate in line with the original market conditions.
This loan has a rate that is recalculated once a year.
With this loan, the interest rate is recalculated every month. Compared to other options, the rate is usually lower on this ARM because the lender is only committing to a rate for a month at a time, so his vulnerability is significantly reduced.
Negative Amortization (Neg. Am) Loan
This is a deferred-interest loan which is very powerful — and the most misunderstood mortgage program because of its many options. Basically, the lender allows the borrower to make monthly payments that are less than the accruing interest. Therefore, if the borrower chooses to make the minimum monthly payment, the loan balance will increase by the amount of interest not paid on the loan. The power of this loan lies in the borrower’s ability to choose between making the full loan payment, or the minimum payment, or any amount in between. If a borrower’s income varies throughout the year (due to commissions, bonuses, etc.), the borrower can make a lower payment during the “lean times”, and then make higher payments when funds are readily available.
Reverse (aka Home Equity Conversion Mortgage)
Reverse mortgages are increasing in popularity with seniors who have equity in their homes and want to supplement their income. The only reverse mortgage insured by the U.S. Federal Government is called a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage or HECM, and is only available through an FHA approved lender.