The Difference Between Fixed and Adjustable-Rate Mortgages - Home & Texture
Mortgage Mortgage Rates

What's the Difference Between Fixed-Rate vs. Adjustable-Rate Mortgages?

Embark on your mortgage journey with confidence.

By
April 17, 2024 at 6:48 AM PST
Updated on April 17, 2024 at 7:12 PM PST
Mortgage Mortgage Rates

What's the Difference Between Fixed-Rate vs. Adjustable-Rate Mortgages?

Embark on your mortgage journey with confidence.

By
April 17, 2024 at 6:48 AM PST
Updated on April 17, 2024 at 7:12 PM PST

So, you’re on the brink of diving into the wild, wild west of mortgage options? There are several you can explore, with two popular types being fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). Here are the details for what each one means and how to decide if one is right for you.

Women negotiating
Photo Credit: Christine Morillo

The Basics of a Mortgage

A mortgage is essentially a loan provided by a bank or lender to help you purchase a home. It’s a financial agreement where you borrow money to buy a property, with the home itself serving as collateral until the loan is paid off. Mortgages typically come with interest rates and repayment terms, which can vary depending on the type of mortgage you choose. Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals, let’s explore the differences between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) and how they can impact your homeownership journey.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages

Picture this: You’re the kind of person who loves consistency. You thrive on stability like a plant thrives on sunlight. If that sounds like you, then the fixed-rate mortgage is your spirit animal. With a fixed-rate mortgage, your interest rate remains, well, fixed throughout the loan term. No surprises, no rollercoaster rides, just smooth sailing.

Fixed-rate mortgages offer peace of mind. You know exactly how much your monthly payments will be, making budgeting a breeze. Plus, you’re protected from sudden interest rate hikes, giving you a sense of financial security that’s hard to beat.

Couple moving in
Photo Credit: Gustavo Fring

Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs)

Now, let’s switch gears a bit. If you’re the adventurous type who enjoys a bit of risk and excitement, an adjustable-rate mortgage might be right up your alley. With an ARM, your interest rate isn’t set in stone. ARMs typically start with a fixed-rate period, then morph into a variable rate based on market conditions.

But here’s where it gets interesting: during the initial fixed-rate period, ARMs often offer lower interest rates compared to fixed-rate mortgages. This means lower monthly payments upfront, which can be a huge advantage for budget-conscious buyers. However, it’s important to note that once the fixed-rate period ends, your interest rate could fluctuate, potentially increasing your monthly payments. It’s like riding a wave – exhilarating at first, but you never know when it might crash.

The Great Debate: Fixed vs. Adjustable

If you crave stability and predictability, it might benefit you to go for the fixed-rate mortgage. It’s your steadfast companion in the unpredictable world of homeownership. But if you’re feeling a bit adventurous and want to take advantage of potentially lower initial rates, an ARM might be worth considering.

Couple looking at papers
Photo Credit: Gustavo Fring

Other Types of Mortgages

You might not be sold on either option just yet. If you still want to explore your options, here are five more you can consider.

  • Interest-Only Mortgages: With an interest-only mortgage, you only pay the interest on the loan for a certain period, typically the first few years. After that, you begin paying both principal and interest. This option can offer lower initial payments but may result in higher payments later on.
  • FHA Loans: Backed by the Federal Housing Administration, FHA loans are designed to help low-to-moderate-income borrowers purchase homes with lower down payments and credit score requirements than conventional loans.
  • VA Loans: VA loans are available to eligible veterans, active-duty service members, and certain surviving spouses. They offer competitive interest rates and require no down payment, making homeownership more accessible to those who have served in the military.
  • USDA Loans: Guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA loans are designed to help rural and suburban homebuyers with low-to-moderate incomes. They offer low interest rates and require no down payment.
  • Jumbo Loans: Jumbo loans are mortgages that exceed the conforming loan limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They are used to finance higher-priced properties and often require larger down payments and higher credit scores.




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