What is an ARM?
Adjustable Rate Mortgage
- Ideal for those planning to move in a couple of years
- An increase in rates will increase your payment amount
- A decrease in rates will decrease your payment amount
An adjustable-rate mortgage differs from a fixed-rate mortgage in many ways. Most importantly, with a fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rate and the monthly payment of principal and interest stay the same during the life of the loan. With an ARM, the interest rate changes periodically, usually in relation to an index, and payments may go up or down accordingly. To compare two ARMs, or to compare an ARM with a fixed-rate mortgage, you need to know about indexes, margins, discounts, caps on rates and payments, negative amortization, payment options, and recasting (recalculating) your loan. You need to consider the maximum amount your monthly payment could increase. Most importantly, you need to know what might happen to your monthly loan payment in relation to your future ability to afford higher payments. At first, this makes the ARM easier on your pocketbook than a fixed-rate mortgage for the same loan amount. Moreover, your ARM could be less expensive over a long period than a fixed-rate mortgage—for example, if interest rates remain steady or move lower. Against these advantages, you have to weigh the risk that an increase in interest rates would lead to higher monthly payments in the future. It’s a trade-off—you get a lower initial rate with an ARM in exchange for assuming more risk over the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
1Does OVM Financial offer Adjustable Rate Mortgages?
OVM Financial offers a variety of loan programs to suit your needs. Our Loan Officers are available to guide you through the process and help you decide if an Adjustable Rate Mortgage is right for you!
2What is the difference between a fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loan?
With a fixed rate mortgage, the interest rate is set when you take out the loan and will not change. With an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), the interest rate may go up or down. Many ARMs will start at a lower interest rate than fixed rate mortgages. This initial rate may stay the same for months or years. When this introductory period is over, your interest rate will change and the amount of your payment will likely go up. Part of the interest rate you pay will be tied to a broader measure of interest rates, called an index. Your payment goes up when this index of interest rates moves higher. When interest rates decline, sometimes your payment may go down, but that is not true for all ARMs. Many ARMs will limit the amount of each adjustment, and set a maximum or “cap” on how high your interest rate can go over the life of the loan. Some ARMs also limit how low your interest rate can go.