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Fixed Versus Variable Mortgage

Blog by | September 21st, 2012

Fixed or Variable Mortgage?

With the prospect of upcoming rate hikes looming over, many home buyers think that locking into the best fixed rate mortgage is the way to go. Does the idea of a mortgage with a fixed interest rate sound appealing?

There are mixed messages out there about when and if interest rates are going to go up. But just as important is a thorough understanding of fixed-rate mortgages and what it could mean for you and your home investment in the long run. Keep in mind that the cost of interest rates rising by 1% is equivalent to the home price falling by 10%. Historically when interest rates have gone up they have gone up fast. It is not uncommon for there to be a 1% hike in a matter of months.

Here are some common fixed-rate questions you may be asking yourself.

What does a Fixed Rate mean?
The interest rate on a fixed rate mortgage stays the same throughout the life of the loan. Typically, the standard for fixed-rate loans is the 20 to 25 year fixed rate loan. You can also find fixed-rate loans with shorter pay-off periods. When loan periods are shorter, you will have higher monthly payments, but slightly lower interest.

When are Fixed Rate Loans better?
The advantage of the fixed rate mortgage is that the payment is the same each month. This is important especially when interest rates are unpredictable. When interest rates rise, people with adjustable rate mortgages are faced with increasing monthly mortgage payments.

A fixed-rate loan means you will always know how much your home payment will be each month, regardless of what is happening with the economy or current interest rates.

What is the downside of Fixed Rate Loans?
The disadvantage is that the interest is generally a little higher than an adjustable rate. With a fixed-rate loan, you’ll always pay the same amount of interest. That is great when interest rates are climbing, but if they drop below your interest rate, you will continue paying the higher amount of interest. Of course, you can always refinance a fixed-rate loan in order to get down to the best fixed rate mortgage but this may not always be an option.

Over the life of your fixed-rate loan, you will pay a substantial amount of interest. In fact, you will probably pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest. There are ways to manage your mortgage so that it is an investment that works for you, and you can do this by talking to a mortgage specialist.

Should you have a Fixed Rate Mortgage?
You should discuss your particular situation with a talented mortgage specialist. Generally, you'll find that fixed rate mortgages are the right choice if:

• You think interest rates are low
• You can afford the payment for the house you want
• You need to budget for and predict monthly payments
• You will keep your home for a relatively long period of time

The best fixed rate mortgage works for you and your lifestyle. If you'd like the peace of mind that comes with a stable interest-rate payment, then a fixed-rate mortgage may be the ideal choice. Borrowers often choose fixed-rate mortgages when interest rates are low and are expected to rise.