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What You Need To Know About Fixed Rate Mortgages

May 3rd, 2018 Comments off

For those of you who are new to mortgages or new to the process of applying for a home loan, this article will be a valuable resource to introduce you to the basic fixed rate mortgage. This is one of the easier mortgages to understand and also relatively easy to calculate. A basic understanding of the fixed rate mortgage will help you understand how other mortgage products may differ from the fixed rate, but also help you to ask intelligent questions when speaking with and evaluating a loan officer you may potentially be working with.

The fixed rate mortgage is by far the most common type of mortgage. When new homebuyers begin pricing loans, these are typically where people will start. Most fixed rate mortgages advertised also usually talk about the rate for a 30 year “fixed” rate. When people talk about their mortgage, there is a very good chance that they are referring to their 30 year fixed. A little less common are the adjustable rate mortgages. Of course there are dozens of different mortgage products available based on the needs you have. Interesting that the selling of “money” is basically packaged in different forms just like any other product or service.

The most common fixed rate mortgage is a 30 year mortgage. There are also other options including a 15, 20 and even a 40 year mortgage product. This may change in the future as well, but these are the most typical offers you’ll see when evaluating your options. The longer the mortgage term, the lower your interest rate may be, but you’ll typically pay more in interest over the life of the loan. This is why you’ll see a 15 year mortgage with a higher rate than a 30 year mortgage typically. The payments for a 15 year are higher as well simply because the loan amount may not change and to pay off your home in a shorter period, it will require higher monthly payments. Simple math I know, but better to not assume too much.

One of the main advantages to the fixed rate mortgage is that the rate doesn’t change. This can be great as your payment may stay low for the duration of the loan even if inflation or other financial considerations may change over that same period of time. Some mortgage programs also have a bi-weekly payment option where you’ll pay your mortgage every two weeks. Assuming your monthly mortgage was $2000 per month, this is broken down to about $1000 every two weeks which is nice because it has two benefits, one benefit is that it matches some pay structures, i.e. many companies in the US typically pay your salary every 2 weeks. Of course this also means that instead of 12 payments of $2000 or $24,000 per year, you’ll pay $1,000 every other week which would be 26 payments (52 weeks per year / 2 (every other week)). The total amount of funds that would then contribute to your loan amount would be $26,000 which would pay down your loan more this way or reduce your overall payment amount. Consult your loan officer for details on the bi-weekly payment plan.

With a fixed rate mortgage, at the end of the term, your home will be paid off completely. Several mortgage products have a balloon payment at the end of the term which means you’ll have a larger lump sum, usually a multiple of 10 to 20 times your monthly, or in the event of some interest only products, the principal would be due at the end of only a couple years into the mortgage product which would either require you to pay off the home completely or refinance the balance.

On a typical 30 year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll pay your monthly payment of which a percentage of that amount would go toward the principal and the other percentage goes towards interest. This is done on a sliding scale, so the first years of the mortgage, you’ll be paying more in interest to the bank than paying down your loan. This is as designed by the banks who fund these mortgages. Their expectation is that they get their interest paid to them before you’re “allowed” to use more of your regular monthly payment to go towards the principal. This is all done behind the scenes, but it is interesting to know that you won’t start paying more towards your principal than interest until year 22 of your mortgage. There isn’t anything to prevent you from paying down your mortgage early, however, and may be a very good idea depending on your life situation.

Establishing your first fixed rate mortgage or even refinancing for the 10th time shouldn’t be a complicated process. The key to getting this done is to find a loan officer you can trust who will work with you and educate you as needed so that you understand what you’re paying for. Because this is such a large dollar amount that you’ll typically be paying for a home, there are ways that you can get caught paying more than you should and even small percentage changes over the life of the loan may result in you paying thousands of dollars more in interest. There are a lot of mortgage calculators out there as well you can use to give you some rough estimates.

Did you find this article interesting at all? If so, I have a website that is dedicated to mortgages in Utah that covers not only the basics for the state of Utah, but mortgage information in general as well. You can also review additional information about mortgages from Brian’s other website about Salt Lake City Mortgages.