There are lots of ways to finance a home in today's improving economy. For all mortgage applicants, though, it will eventually be time to decide whether to use a “fixed rate" or "adjustable-rate" mortgage. Each has its merits and drawbacks, and with a loan representative guiding you through the process, you'll be in position to decide which loan type is best for you.
WHAT ARE FIXED RATE MORTGAGES?
In a mortgage transaction, your home is used as collateral while the home is in repayment. Repayment periods typically last between fifteen and thirty years. Some mortgages are for lesser number of years, and others are for longer.
Homebuyers use mortgages to fund whatever amount of a home's purchase price they can't -- or won't -- pay with cash.
For example, a homebuyer purchasing a $200,000 home may have $10,000 saved to pay toward the home. The remaining $190,000 will be mortgaged, and the buyer will repay its bank the borrowed amount over time, according to the terms of the loan.
The terms of a mortgage loan will vary by loan, accounting for such loan traits as mortgage interest rate, mortgage loan size, and length of the mortgage loan.
You can also choose whether your mortgage interest rate will be fixed for the length of your loan; or whether it can adjust. A loan of the former type is known as a fixed rate mortgage. A loan of the latter type is known as an adjustable rate mortgage.
Fixed rate mortgages are far more common than adjustable-rate ones; and the most common fixed rate mortgage is the 30-year fixed rate mortgage. Since 2011, however, shorter-length loans such as the 15-year fixed rate mortgage have gained market share.
THE PRIMARY BENEFIT OF A FIXED RATE MORTGAGE
There are reasons to choose a fixed rate mortgage over an adjustable-rate mortgage, just as there are reasons to choose an adjustable-rate mortgage over a fixed rate one. Choosing the loan which is best for you is a matter of preference.
The top reason homeowners choose a fixed rate mortgage is because the fixed rate mortgage is predictable. Each month, until your loan is repaid, your mortgage payment remains the same.
For some households, the unchanging nature of a fixed rate mortgage feels "secure". It can be simpler to plan a financial future when you know exactly how much you'll owe month after month after month.
30-YEAR MORTGAGE RATES OR 15-YEAR MORTGAGE RATES?
Fixed rate mortgages operate exactly as they're named. For the length of the loan, the mortgage rate of the loan remains "fixed". As a result, the payment on the mortgage remains fixed, too.
The term, or length, of a fixed rate mortgage is at the borrower's sole discretion.
Typically, mortgage lenders make fixed rate mortgages available with loan terms of 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, and 30 years. Other lengths are available, too, but they're uncommon and are often accompanied by high mortgage rates, which is why so few borrowers ever use them.
The 30-year fixed rate mortgage is the most common fixed rate mortgage, likely because repayments on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are lowest when compared to other fixed rate mortgages.
30-year fixed rate mortgages are typically the least expensive of the common fixed rate loan terms.