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An Adjustable Rate Mortgage, or ARM, can be a powerful tool...

An Adjustable Rate Mortgage, or ARM, can be a powerful tool for homeowners. An ARM is a mortgage that offers a low introductory fixed-rate term, typically for 5, 7, or 10 years. After this period is over, the adjustable period follows for the remainder of the 30-year term. During this adjustment period, the interest rates can adjust up or down, depending on the financial index it is attached to.


During the initial fixed period, the interest rates on an ARM are generally lower than with a 30 year fixed. This means lower monthly payments for those first 5, 7, or 10 years. If you plan on selling or refinancing your home in 5-7 years, the ARM is a great option for lowering your rate and payments during that introductory fixed period.


  • Lower interest rates and payments early in the life of the loan

  • Mortgage payments and interest rates remain fixed for an introductory period

  • Caps on interest limit the amount a rate can rise annually and over the life of the loan


Big Benefits For Short Term Goals

Lenders are able to offer lower interest rates on an ARM because they only have to guarantee that rate for the introductory fixed period. Luckily, the average American refinances or moves every 5-7 years, which just happens to be the same fixed period on an ARM.

For that period of time, you can benefit from lower interest rates and monthly payments compared to a 30-year fixed.


  • Save money each month with lower mortgage rates/ payment

  • Possibly qualify for a higher loan amount and afford more home

  • Pay off your principal balance faster by making additional payments each month


What happens if you don’t refinance or move in the next 5- 7 years, and you reach the end of your ARM fixed term? When an ARM adjusts, the interest rates may be higher or lower than they are when you first get the loan. There is a risk of your interest rate and payments adjusting up. If your ARM does adjust up, a Cap will limit the amount that the loan can go up annually and over its lifetime. You will be able to anticipate a worst-case scenario and know exactly how far up your interest rate can change that year and beyond. Keep in mind that, while the initial fixed period of an ARM benefits the borrower, the adjustable period benefits the lender.


The bottom line is that an ARM can be a powerful tool to get you the lowest possible interest rates and monthly payments for a set period of time. This option is not right for everyone, but if you plan on moving or refinancing in the next 5 to 7 years, an ARM could be an ideal loan for you.


At American Pacific Mortgage, our loan experts can help you to determine if an ARM is the fit for your financial goals


 *Please visit our Disclosures page for more details for all loan types. 

Thomas Nguyen, NMLS #1555493, Loan Consultant, Licensed in CA

2220 Douglas blvd., Ste 220, Roseville CA 95661.  Branch NMLS #1299922
Phone: (916) 521-5508  Email:


 Licensed by the Dept. of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act.  Equal Housing Opportunity 

 ©2020 American Pacific Mortgage Corporation. All information contained herein is for informational purposes only and, while every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, no guarantee is expressed or implied. Any programs shown do not demonstrate all options or pricing structures. Rates, terms, programs and underwriting policies subject to change without notice. This is not an offer to extend credit or a commitment to lend.   All loans subject to underwriting approval. Some products may not be available in all states and restrictions apply.

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