Frequently Asked Questions
With a fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rate stays the same during the life of the loan. With an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), the interest changes periodically, typically in relation to an index. While the monthly payments that you make with a fixed-rate mortgage are relatively stable, payments on an ARM loan will likely change. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of mortgage, and the best way to select a loan product is by talking to us.
An index is an economic indicator that lenders use to set the interest rate for an ARM. Generally, the interest rate that you pay is a combination of the index rate and a pre-specified margin. Three commonly used indices are the One-Year Treasury Bill, the Cost of Funds of the 11th District Federal Home Loan Bank (COFI), and the London InterBank Offering Rate (LIBOR).
There is no simple formula to determine the type of mortgage that is best for you. This choice depends on a number of factors, including your current financial picture and how long you intend to keep your house. Vantage Point Financial Group can help you evaluate your choices and help you make the most appropriate decision.
For most homeowners, the monthly mortgage payments include three separate parts:
- Principal: Repayment on the amount borrowed
- Interest: Payment to the lender for the amount borrowed
- Taxes & Insurance: Monthly payments are normally made into a special escrow account for items like hazard insurance and property taxes. This feature is sometimes optional, in which case the fees will be paid by you directly to the County Tax Assessor and property insurance company.
The amount of cash that is necessary depends on a number of items. Generally speaking, though, you will need to supply:
- Earnest Money: The deposit that is supplied when you make an offer on the house
- Down Payment: A percentage of the cost of the home that is due at settlement
- Closing Costs: Costs associated with purchasing or refinancing a house, including title insurance, transfer tax, escrows, and lender fees.