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Ask Cassandra – Fixed Rate or Adjustable Rate Mortgate?

April 28, 2023

Q: Hi CassandraI’m in the market for a mortgage loan and I’ve been exploring my options. Should I finance my new home purchase with a fixed-rate mortgage or an adjustable-rate mortgage?

A: For most people, buying a home is the most significant investment they’ll ever make in their lifetime. It’s a complex process involving several steps, like choosing the type of mortgage for financing the purchase. Two common types of mortgages are fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). Let’s explore the differences between the two so you can make an informed decision when choosing the mortgage option that best fits your goals and financial picture.

What is a fixed-rate mortgage?

A fixed-rate mortgage is one where the interest rate remains constant throughout the life of the loan. This means the borrower’s monthly mortgage payments also remain unchanged, even if the market interest rates change. FRMs are usually available in 15- and 30-year terms, but 10- and 20-year terms are somewhat common as well.

FRMs are suitable for borrowers who plan to stay in their homes for a long time and want to avoid risking the possibility of rising interest rates.

What are the pros and cons of fixed-rate mortgages? 

Fixed Rate Mortgages have several advantages, including: 

  • Stability 
  • Predictability
  • Protection against rising interest rates

However, FRMs also have disadvantages, including: 

  • Higher interest rates
  • Limited flexibility
  • Less opportunity for savings if interest rates decline

What is an adjustable-rate mortgage?

An adjustable rate mortgage is a type of mortgage in which the interest rate fluctuates periodically based on an index, such as the prime rate or the Treasury bill rate. This means the borrower’s monthly mortgage payments can increase or decrease over time, depending on changes in market interest rates.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages tend to have lower interest rates than Fixed Rate Mortgages, making them an attractive option for homebuyers who want to save money on interest payments. They can also be a great choice for borrowers who plat to sell their homes or refinance their mortgages before the interest rates rise significantly.

What are the pros and cons of adjustable-rate mortgages? 

ARMs have several advantages, including: 

  • Lower interest rates
  • Potential savings if interest rates drop
  • Increased flexibility

However, ARMs also have several possible disadvantages, including: 

  • Higher risk of rising interest rates
  • Uncertainty and unpredictability
  • More difficult to budget and plan for future expenses

How do I choose the mortgage that’s right for me?

When choosing a mortgage, be sure to consider the following factors to help you determine which mortgage type is best for you:

  • Your current financial situation. Can you afford the higher interest rate on an FRM?
  • Your long-term plans. Do you plan to stay in this home for the full 15- or 30-year term? If you plan to move before this time, you may want to choose an ARM.
  • Current market conditions. Are interest rates currently rising or falling? Since they are currently hovering around 7% you may want to consider a 5/1 adjustable to reduce your interest rate and get on the other side of this interest cycle.
  • Your personal money management style. If you prefer to have your dollars and cents lined up neatly as much in advance as possible, you may prefer the predictability of a FRM.

Be sure to consider each of these factors carefully, and should you have additional questions please contact me at 216-478-0089.

Cassandra Roman Mortgage Loan Officer

Cassandra Roman

Mortgage Loan Officer, AVP
Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union
Email: croman@ohiocatholicfcu.com
Call: 216.478.0089

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