The Combustible Adjustable Mortgage
You’ll pay a little more for a fixed rate mortgage for the peace of mind that your principle and interest payment will never increase but that’s not always the most appealing choice for some homebuyers.
The longer you intend to stay in your home,–generally five years or more–the safer you are with a fixed rate. But if you plan to occupy your home for only a short time, the adjustable rate mortgage or A.R.M. might be worth considering. You can buy a more expensive home with a lower interest rate, or you can take the difference in what you’d pay toward a fixed rate and put it into savings, if you’re that disciplined.
On the downside, risk is greater with an A.R.M., depending on its terms–when and by how much the loan adjusts in interest. An A.R.M. isn’t a bargain if you have to come up with several hundred dollars more per month after a short period, or if you have to refinance your A.R.M. into a fixed rate for several thousand dollars a few years later.
A hybrid loan may offer the best of both worlds. A hybrid is fixed for a period of time, such as five, seven or ten years, then adjusts to a new rate when the term ends, giving you plenty of time to sell your home before the first adjustment.
Talk to your lender, share your plans and calculate the differences in a fixed rate and an adjustable rate mortgage.