An adjustable rate mortgage is called as ARM in short and it is a type of mortgage where the interest rate is linked with economic index, in this adjustable rate mortgage your payment and interest rate are adjusted accordingly when there is an ups and down in the changes of the index. An adjustable rate mortgage is just opposite to fixed rate mortgage and in this adjustable rate mortgage the monthly payment and interest rate may vary time to time. Adjustable rate mortgage are the right choice as the interest rate will be decreased whenever the interest rates goes down and when you are planned to have the home for a short period of time.
The important features of ARM are Index, Margin, Adjustable frequency, Initial interest rate and Interest rate caps. Lenders uses Index as a guide to measure the changes in interest rate. The index guides used by the lenders are 1,3 and 5-year treasury securities, but there are so many other index guides are also available. The lenders markup is the margin that would stand for the lenders cost for doing the business as well as the profit they will make out of the Adjustable rate mortgage, this margin will be added up to the index rate in order to arrive the total rate of interest and this remain the same for the entire lifetime of your loan.
Adjustable frequency is how often the rate of interest gets changed that is called as reset date. The adjustable frequency differs from one ARM to the other. The adjustable frequency gets changes every year normally, it can also be once in 5 years or it could change once in a month. It is better it changes less often as your financial risk gets lower as there will be change in the loan payment.
The initial interest rate is the rate of interest you would be paying until your first reset date, this will determine the initial payments of your loan and the lender may use this for qualifying you for the loan, normally the initial interest rate is less as your monthly payment will increases after the first reset date.
The interest rate caps will limit the amount that your monthly payment and rate of interest can increase, the most common caps includes initial adjustment caps, periodic adjustment caps, and lifetime caps
The questions would arise in your mind why should you go for ARM if the payments can go up, the answer is simple the initial interest rate in adjustable rate mortgage is lower compared to the fixed rate mortgage and will remain the same during the entire life term of the loan, this means lower interest rate is lower loan payment and this will in turn helps you to qualify for huge amount of loan.