30 Year Mortgage
Most people will opt for the 30-year fixed rate mortgage. The concept is fairly simple, the loan is amortized over 30 years. Every year the required principal and interest payments will remain the same, until at the end of the period the loan will be repaid. Granted many people will choose to pay it off earlier in order to save some of the interest costs. This loan is great in that the longer term allows for lower payments. However, once the borrower is locked in, they are stuck at that rate. In a dropping interest rate environment the only option to lower one’s rate is to refinance, which comes with closing costs and starting the 30 year mortgage over.
15 Year Mortgage
Like its 30 year cousin, the 15-year fixed rate mortgage is a fairly simple concept. Rather than stretching the payments over 30 years, this loan will stretch them for half the amount of time. Naturally, the principal payment will be larger, but since the term is shorter, the total amount paid to interest charges will be substantially less. The benefit of this type of loan is that home ownership comes quicker, but it does require larger payments each month. This loan will also lock the borrower into the interest rate.
The Adjustable Rate Mortgage is often looked down upon. This type of loan will lock the borrower in at the current market interest rate for a set period of time (a 5/1 will lock in for 5 years, a 7/1 for 7 years, etc.). At the end of that term, the loan will adjust to the new market interest rates every year thereafter. This loan will work well for those who believe rates are going to go down, or those who do not plan to live in their house too much longer than the fixed rate period. The benefit is that the rate for the first 5 years is often substantially lower than on the 30 or 15 year counterparts.
Interest Only Mortgage
An interest only mortgage is one where the borrower simply makes loan interest payments, but never pays anything towards principal. At the end of the term, the borrower must arrange for new financing since they will still owe the full amount of the cost of the home. These loans are used rarely, and almost always the borrower is expecting the value of the property to increase rapidly. The lower monthly payments help them afford the loan, but they sacrifice building equity.
There is no mortgage that is right for everyone. Each financial situation is different, and each person has different plans for their house. A good mortgage broker or lender will help the borrower figure out the right loan for him or her.
If you are a homeowner what type of mortgage do you have?