Welcome to Southwest Florida Real Estate

There are so many mortgage options available today. Don’t just take the first one to offer nice terms — this is a big investment.

And with any big investment, you have to shop around for the best mortgage available. Think about it, by the time you pay off your mortgage, you will have paid almost twice the cost of the home in interest alone.

For example, if you take a mortgage at 8% interest for $125,000 for 30 years, you will pay over $205,000 in interest, for a total of $330,000. And your home may not appreciate by that much — your $125,000 cost you $330,000.

You can see why you need to shop wisely for your mortgage.

All mortgages are not the same. There are so many mortgages on the market right now that they can become a little confusing. You have to do your homework to find the right mortgage type, the right bank or mortgage company and the right terms.

One of the best places to start your search is on the internet. You can use a calculator to see how much of a mortgage you can afford and what you could qualify for. You can compare different loans and lenders, search for the lowest rates and even apply online.

Your first mortgage decision will be how much you can afford. The second decision is what type of mortgage you want.

There are basically two types of mortgages: fixed rate and adjustable rate. Fixed rate mortgages are traditional loans with fixed interest rates over the life of the loan. The length of repayment may be anywhere from 10 to 30 years. Your monthly payment for interest and principal will never change, but if you have your insurance and taxes in escrow, you may see a slight change over time. down-payment usually run 20%, but you could pay as little as 5% down with certain loan programs. Fixed rate mortgages offer predictable payments and are especially nice if you take the mortgage out during a low-interest rate period.

Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) start out with a low-interest rate, but the rate and payments may go up or down depending on the market interest rates. Most ARMs are adjusted every year, but there are some out there that adjust more frequently. The mortgage usually is capped for how much the interest rate can be raised each time and over the life of the loan. For example, you may take out an ARM that has a 2/8 cap. This mortgage can adjust only 2 points at the maximum each year. Over the life of the loan, the mortgage can only go up by a total 8 points. If your interest starts out at 7%, the second year it could increase to 9%, and increase each year thereafter until it reaches a maximum of 15%. That is if rates continue up. The interest rate could also go down.

ARMs are great for those who want more of a house, knowing their income will go up in the next few years. But be aware that when rates go up, the payment amounts go up. You need to make sure you could make the payments if the mortgage was to reach its peak rate.

There are also balloon mortgages and jumbo loans available out there. Balloon mortgages are good for those who know they will be moving in a few years. Jumbo loans are a larger than average loan for those who want to borrow more than the average mortgage amount set by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. There are also option ARMs that allow you to pay only a minimum payment amount for a certain period of time. These loans all come with more risk and must be thought out carefully.

You can find many articles and educational tools online that will help you determine the best mortgage for your financial situation. In general, you want to take out as small a mortgage as necessary, find the lowest rate possible and consider how your future could affect your ability to repay a mortgage.

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