Mortgage loans are loans taken from banks, online brokers or independent mortgage brokers by pledging property owned for purchasing a residential or commercial property or to refinance a loan.
Mortgage loans are usually for a 15 or 30 year period. Mortgage payments are evened out according to the number of years, rate of interest and the type of mortgage. The property purchased is used as security or collateral to obtain the debt. If the borrower of the loan defaults on the mortgage payments the lender has the right to sell the property by employing the foreclosure process.
To be eligible for a particular loan the lender examines the employment and income generation of an individual or family to assess that monthly payment can be paid regularly by the borrower. The three important aspects that are taken into consideration to qualify for a loan are:
- Credit Score
- Monthly Income and
- Down Payment
Credit scores indicate the risk of offering a loan to a borrower. Higher the score lower the risk. Good credit scores also ensure reasonable terms of loan and lower rate of interest. Monthly income is evaluated to ensure expenses are not more than income. The amount paid as down payment reduces the risk of the lender to cover the full expense of the loan incase of default in payments.
There are different types of mortgage loans available to suit the requirements of different borrowers. Some common and popular types of mortgage loans are:
Fixed Rate Mortgages
As the name suggests such loans carry a fixed rate over the period of the loan. They are among the most popular mortgage products which are not influenced by interest rate rise or falls. The interest rates are locked and payments remain same despite rise or fall in interest rates. Fixed rate mortgages are most popular when interest rates decline.
Adjustable Rate Mortgages
Adjustable rate mortgages provide a fixed rate of interest for a specific period and thereafter resorts to an adjustable rate of interest. ARM fluctuate according to market interest rate changes after the fixed rate period is complete.
This is a mortgage scheme directed towards those who have a less than satisfactory credit score. Credit score ranges between 300-900 and a score below 620 qualify for a sub-prime mortgage. Considering that the risk is higher in lending a loan to a sub-prime borrower the monthly payments and interest rates can be high. Such loans are a profitable venture for lenders on account of earnings from pre payment penalty, interest charges or foreclosures. Prepayment penalty is a charge levied on the lender on account of paying the loan before due by either selling the property or refinancing the loan.
There are specified limits to loans sanctioned to: single family, two families, three families, or four families. If your loan requirements exceed this limit you need a jumbo mortgage which charges a higher rate of interest. They are also known as non conforming loans as they exceed the limit set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
This type of mortgage allows borrowers a lower rate and monthly payments for a particular period. Such a period lasts for three to ten years. After the completion of the term the borrower is required to pay the principal balance as a lump sum amount. If applicable and possible the balloon mortgage can also be converted to a fixed rate or adjustable rate loan.
Home Equity Line of Credit
Popularly known as HELOCs they are variable rate mortgages in line with the prime rate. You are allowed to take credit up to your credit limit which is the maximum amount one can borrow under any plan. The interest payments are tax deductible and one can also pay previous mortgage by taking a percentage of the appraised value of the home such that the loan amount covers your previous loan balance and your current fund requirements.
The Interest-Only Mortgage
This type of mortgage requires only interest payments to be paid for a specific period of time following which the terms of the loan change and a new mortgage amount is derived. This new mortgage will be paid with principal plus interest payments for the remaining number of years.