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There are many different types of mortgage terms available to fit everyone's needs. The most common loan type is the fixed rate loan.
Fixed Rate Mortgages
A fixed rate mortgage is when your interest rate and monthly payments will remain the same for the entire life of your loan. Fixed rate mortgages are offered in a variety of terms: 30 and 15 years being the most common. The 15 year term usually has an interest rate of about 1/2 point lower than the 30 year term. There are also a few variations of the traditional fixed rate mortgage such as a graduated payment mortgage. Graduated payment loans allow you to pay less at the beginning of the loan and then increase your payments as the loan matures.
Adjustable Rate Mortgages
An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) are another common type of mortgage. These types of mortgages start at a low interest rate and then adjust based on a selected index. There are many different types of economic indicators that can be used as an index: 6 Month treasury, 3yr treasury, 5yr treasury, COFI, FHLBB, or LIBOR. Adjustable rate mortgages offer a variety of repayment terms: 10/1, 7/1, 7/23, 5/25, and 5/5. A 10/1 year adjustable rate mortgage will have the same interest and monthly payment for the first 10 years.
At the beginning of the 11th year, interest rate will be adjusted each year and the payment will change accordingly. A 7/1 year adjustable rate mortgage will have the same interest rate and payment for the first 7 years. Beginning the 8th year, the interest rate will be adjusted every year along with the monthly payment. With a 7/23 ARM, the interest and payment will stay the same for the first 7 years. On the 8th year, the mortgage rate will be adjusted and remain the same for the remaining life of the loan. Be sure to check with your Loan Officer to find out the yearly and lifetime cap of your ARM. There will be a maximum amount the rate can go up per year, and there will be a maximum amount the rate can go up for the life of the loan.
Balloon mortgages can be offered as 7 year balloons and 5 year balloons. The 7 year balloon mortgage will have the same interest rate and payment for the first 7 years of the mortgage. At the end of the 7th year the loan is due in full and the borrower must either repay the loan or refinance at current rates. The 5 year balloon mortgage will have the same interest rate and payment for the first 5 years of the mortgage. At the end of the 5th year the loan is due in full and the borrower must either repay the loan or refinance at current rates.
FHA & VA Loans (also known as Government Loans)
Veterans may qualify for Veterans Administration mortgages. There are caps on the size of a VA loan you can get, but this loan could be ideal for buying a lower priced home with a small down payment.
FHA or Federal Housing Administration loans are available to Americans with smaller incomes who are buying modestly priced homes. Look for properties that are designated as "FHA approved."