Insights + Resources

Should You Choose a Fixed or Variable?

Feb 3, 2020

blackboard chalk mortgage options
Thinking about your mortgage.

Buying a home is the single largest financial commitment most people ever make. And sorting through mortgages involves a lot of critical choices. One of these is choosing between a fixed- or variable-interest-rate mortgage.

True to its name, fixed-rate mortgage interest is fixed throughout the life of the loan. In contrast, the interest rate on a variable-interest-rate loan can change over time. The mortgage interest rate charged by a variable loan is usually based on an index, which means payments could move up or down depending on prevailing interest rates.1

Fixed-rate mortgages have advantages and disadvantages. For example, rates and payments remain constant despite the interest-rate climate. But fixed-rate loans generally have higher initial interest rates than variable-rate mortgages; the financial institution may charge more because if rates go higher, it may lose out.

If prevailing interest rates trend lower, a fixed-rate mortgage holder would have to refinance, and that may involve closing costs, additional paperwork, and more.1

With variable-rate mortgages, the initial interest rates are often lower because the lender is able to transfer some of the risk to the borrower; if prevailing rates go higher, the interest rate on the variable mortgage may adjust upward as well. Variable-rate mortgages may allow borrowers to take advantage of falling interest rates without refinancing.1

One of the biggest advantages variable-rate mortgages offer can be one of their biggest disadvantages as well. Rates and payments are subject to change, and they can rise over the life of the loan.

Should you choose a fixed or variable mortgage? Here are four broad considerations:

First, how long do you plan to stay in the home?

If you plan on living in the home a short time before selling it, you may want to consider a variable-rate mortgage. With a shorter time frame, the loan will have less time to move up or down.

Second, what’s happening with interest rates?

If interest rates are below historic averages, it may make sense to consider a fixed rate. On the other hand, if interest rates are above historic averages, it may make sense to consider a variable rate loan. Then if interest rates decline, your interest rate may fall as well.

Third, under what conditions can the lender adjust the rate and payment?

How frequently can it be adjusted? Is there a limit on how much it can be adjusted in each period? Is there a lifetime limit on how high the interest rate and payment can be raised?

And fourth, could you still afford your monthly payment if interest rates were to rise significantly? How would it affect your finances if your payment were to rise to its lifetime limit and stay there for an extended period?

To learn more about fixed and variable mortgages as well how to budget for a large financial purchase, reach out to a member of the Epic Capital Wealth Management team in Charlotte NC.

Tags: , , , ,

More Insights

Feb 21, 2020

Getting rich quick can be liberating, but it can also be frustrating. A sudden wealth windfall can help you address retirement saving or college funding anxieties, and it may also allow you to live and work on your terms. On the other hand, you’ll pay more taxes, attract more attention, and maybe even contend with … Continue reading “When a Windfall Comes Your Way”

Feb 20, 2020

The SECURE Act passed into law in late 2019 and changed several aspects of retirement investing. These modifications included modifying the ability to stretch an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and changing the age when IRA holders must start taking requirement minimum distributions to 72-years-old.1,2

Feb 17, 2020

When you are in your seventies, Internal Revenue Service rules say that you must start making withdrawals from your traditional IRA(s). In I.R.S. terminology, these annual withdrawals are considered your Required Minimum Distribution (RMDs).1

Feb 14, 2020

Families are one of the great joys in life, and part of the love you show to your family is making sure that their basic needs are met. While that’s only to be expected from birth through the high school years, many households are helping their adult children well into their twenties and beyond at … Continue reading “Retirement and Adult Children”

Feb 12, 2020

When interest rates start to climb, will these be the CD to own? Step-up certificates of deposit (also called  rising-rate CDs) are fixed-income investments with a bit of wiggle room. When you have CDs with a step-up provision, you have a chance to exchange the initial yield for a better one as interest rates rise. … Continue reading “Step-Up CD”

Insights + Resources >