Adjustable Rate Mortgages – Interest Rate Strategy
Over the last few years, many people squeezed into new homes using adjustable rate mortgages. With interest rates going up, you now need a new interest rate strategy
Adjustable Rate Mortgages – ARMs
Adjustable rate mortgages carry a bit of a gamble for home owners. Essentially, you trade smaller interest rates and lower initial payments on the gamble rates will not increase over time. If rates stay low, you make out like a bandit. If rates increase, you need to consider your options to avoid getting stuck with a high interest rate loan and resulting cash flow problems from increased monthly mortgage payments.
For the last three or four years, adjustable rate mortgages have been offered with incredibly low interest rates. Many people used these low, low, low rates to buy homes that would otherwise be beyond their means. Starting in 2004, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan started making noises about increasing money borrowing rates. He has followed through on these hints. Although mortgage rates aren’t tied directly to the Federal Reserve Bank, they are heavily influenced by it. As a result, many people are now facing tight finances.
Avoid Rising Rates
There are really only two solutions for avoiding the increase in interest rates on adjustable rate mortgages. The first strategy is to immediately convert to a fixed rate mortgage product. Fixed rates are still at historic lows when compared to rates offered over the last 50 years. By flipping to a fixed rate, you will be able to solidify your budget and finances since you will know exactly what you have to pay each month. If rates decrease in the future, you can always try to flip back to an adjustable mortgage loan.
Unfortunately, some home owners are simply going to have to face the fact they lost one the interest rate gamble. Typically, this will occur when you realize you simply can’t afford to make the monthly payments required by getting a fixed rate loan. In such a situation, you are going to have to sell your home and downsize. In most situations, it is better to do this now since you’ve probably built up a sizeable chunk of equity over the last few years and want to avoid a loss of that equity as the market cools down. While this may sound like a disaster, it really isn’t. Yes, you have to downsize, but you should still have built up a chunk of equity.
Interest rates are going up whether you want to acknowledge it or not. The time to deal with your adjustable rate mortgage is now, not when you straining to make payments.