Buying a home can be overwhelming period no matter where you live. Not all home loans are the same so understanding how your loan type and choices can affect your monthly payment. Here is a quick list of some of the common loan programs available to you.
Fixed-Rate Mortgages (FRM)
The most common type of loan option, the traditional fixed-rate mortgage includes monthly principal and interest payments which never change during the loan’s lifetime.
Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM)
Adjustable-rate mortgages include interest payments which shift during the loan’s term, depending on current market conditions. Typically, these loans carry a fixed-interest rate for a set period of time before adjusting.
Hybrid ARMs (3/1 ARM, 5/1 ARM, 7/1 ARM, 10/1 ARM)
Hybrid ARM mortgages combine features of both fixed-rate and adjustable rate mortgages and are also known as fixed-period ARMs.
HARP 2.0 is a refinance option for homeowners that are “underwater,” meaning they owe more on their home than their home is worth.
FHA home loans are mortgages which are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), allowing borrowers to get low mortgage rates with a minimal down payment.
VA loans are mortgages guaranteed by the Department of Veteran Affairs. These loans offer military veterans exceptional benefits, including low interest rates and no down payment requirement. This program was designed to help military veterans realize the American dream of home ownership.
USDA Loan (or rural development loan)
US Department of Agriculture offers similar programs like FHA, VA, which is designed for low- and moderate-income borrowers in rural areas.
Interest Only Mortgages
Interest-only mortgages are home loans in which borrowers make monthly payments solely toward the interest accruing on the loan, rather than the principle, for a specified period of time.
Components of an ARM
Prior to choosing a home loan, you should know the advantages and risks of adjustable-rate mortgages to make an informed, prudent decision.
Commonly Used Indexes for ARMs
This article includes a list of the most commonly used indexes by ARM lenders that affect ARM mortgage rates.
Balloon mortgages include a note rate that remains fixed initially, and the principal balance becomes due at the end of the mortgage term.
Reverse Mortgages allow senior homeowners to convert a portion of their home equity into cash while still living in the home.
Graduated Payment Mortgages
Graduated Payment Mortgages are loans in which mortgage payments increase annually for a predetermined period of time (e.g. five or ten years) and become fixed for the remaining duration of the loan.
What kind of loan program is best for you?
Should you get a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage? A conventional loan or a government loan? Deciding which mortgage product is best for you will depend largely on your unique circumstances, and there is no one correct answer.