Adjustable Rate Mortgage "ARM"

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What Is An Adjustable Rate Mortgage Or "ARM"

Key Benefits Of An Adjustable Rate Mortgage Or ARM



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How Does An ARM Work?

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Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequent questions and answers

Can I refinance an ARM later on if I decide to own the property longer and get a fixed rate?

Yes you can refinance out of an adjustable rate mortgage and into a fixed rate loan at any time.

Are closing costs higher with an ARM?

No. Closing costs are the same if the loan is an ARM or if it is fixed.

What makes an adjustable rate change?​

An ARM interest rate fluctuation is due to the rate being linked to a common index, such as Libor (The London Interbank Offered Rate) or the US Monthly treasury average. Offered rate or the US Monthly Treasury Average (MTA).  If economic conditions cause the index to move up, your interest rate will generally increase which means that your monthly payments will be higher  On the other hand, if the index goes down, your monthly payment will typically go down.   

How do I know when my rate will adjust?

To know when or how often your interest rate and payment on an ARM can adjust,  you need to look at the name of the loan product. For example, a one year ARM can adjust the interest rate once a year. A 3 year arm can change the rate once every 3 years.

What is a periodic adjustment cap?

This is where the interest rate is fixed for the first few years and then the interest rate may adjust on a periodic basis. For example, a 5/1 ARM is a loan that is fixed for 5 years and then adjusts every year until the loan is paid off.

What is a margin?

The margin is a set number of percentage points that a lender adds to the index rate. For instance, if the index is currently 2% and the margin is 2%, then the fully indexed rate you pay is 4%. And if the index rises to 3%, the additional margin of 2% makes the full rate 5%.

Some lenders base the amount of margin they charge on an ARM on your credit. The better your credit score the lower the margin, and the less you have to pay for the mortgage. So when comparing ARMs always look at both the index and the margin percentages.

What is a hybrid arm?

This is where the interest rate is fixed for the first few years and then the interest rate may adjust on a periodic basis. For example, a 5/1 ARM is a loan that is fixed for 5 years and then adjusts every year until the loan is paid off. 

What is a negative amortization?

.When you don’t cover the amount of interest owed each month, you get into a dangerous situation known as negative amortization. With negative amortization your unpaid interest gets added to your mortgage balance, so instead of paying down your loan, you end up oweing more than you originally borrowed. 

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