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The Perfect Mortgage Refinance!

Oct 12, 2007
Do you have an adjustable rate mortgage? Have you seen your mortgage payment increase repeatedly over the last few years? Mortgage Expert Jim Kemish revisits the recent dramatic changes in the interest rate environment and discusses an exciting new mortgage product that just may offer the perfect combination of low payment and long term stability that you are looking for.

The Good Old Days

Ah, remember the good old days when the Federal Funds rate was 1% and the Prime Rate was 4%? This was the case in 2004. It's amazing what a couple of years can do. The change began in June of 2004 with the first of the Federal Reserve rate hikes. We didn't know it at the time but that rate increase was to be the first of many. By June of 2006 the Federal Reserve had increased the rates seventeen times.

The Beginning of the End

As interest rates went up mortgage applicants began to turn towards adjustable rate mortgages to minimize their home payments. There is a bit of irony in this fact. Adjustable rate mortgages, by definition, adjust. And in an upward rate environment those adjustments will result in higher future interest rates for borrowers that opt for adjustable rate home loans. One might have expected borrowers to run in droves towards fixed rate mortgage products. But exactly the opposite occurred.

The Rush to ARMs

There were reasons for this behavior. As interest rates were moving up real estate prices continued to soar. Home buyers found themselves purchasing in price ranges that they never would have imagined just two or three years earlier. In order to make their new giant mortgages affordable these buyers resorted to any home loan that promised a low payment, even if it was for a limited amount of time.

The Price Paid

For a while these loan programs provided manageable payments, but the tides of change conspired to place these borrowers in unexpected discomfort. As the adjustment dates arrived borrowers found that their interest rates were increasing the maximum amount allowed. In some cases the increase was manageable, but in almost all cases the first increase was followed by additional increases scheduled to occur either every six or twelve months. Literally millions of borrowers have watched their mortgage payments double.

Looking for a Way Out

Before long these home owners discovered that they needed to do something to relieve the budgetary pressure of their ballooning payments. We have seen many of our Florida mortgage customers in this situation asking to refinance into another adjustable rate mortgage for relief, only to discover that adjustable rates are no longer priced below fixed rate mortgages. Other borrowers have opted for negative amortization loans, temporarily postponing the day of reckoning when the combination of falling home values and their increasing principle balance force them to either face a much higher monthly payment, or sell their home.

A New Option

We have another suggestion. There is an exciting new hybrid mortgage product available. Say hello to the new thirty year fixed rate interest only mortgage. This program has a very attractive low interest-only payment combined with the stability of a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. In addition, the interest only period lasts for a full 10 years. This is a fantastic option for borrowers looking for affordability without the payment risk associated with an adjustable rate program. As one might expect from the above description, during the first 10 years of the loan the payment will be interest only. For the remaining 20 years the payment will include principle and interest and will amortize over the remaining term.

Principle Reduction for Lower Payment

An additional nice feature of this program is the ability to reduce your principle and cause a commensurate reduction of your monthly payments. These principle reductions may be made any time during the initial 10 year interest only period. The very next scheduled monthly interest payment will be calculated on the adjusted outstanding principle balance, allowing you to enjoy a reduced monthly payment. Any principle reductions made after the 10 year interest only period will not cause a recalculation of the monthly payment.

Never Worry About Rate Changes Again

It is worth emphasizing, that unlike the interest only mortgage programs of the past, when the interest only period has ended the interest rate does not change. From year 11 onward you can continue to enjoy the security of your fixed rate mortgage amortized over the remaining twenty years of the loan. As Florida mortgage brokers we have found that this feature is very attractive to our many retired customers that feel the need to have a predictable mortgage payment.

Are You Ready?

This program is available for both conforming loan amounts as well as for jumbos up to two million dollars. And, unlike so many of the adjustable rate products in the market, this mortgage does not carry a pre-payment penalty. So, if rates drop in the future you can refinance without facing a prohibitive penalty. If you have been on the roller coaster of an adjustable rate mortgage and are ready for some stability, but would still like to enjoy a minimal payment, this just might be the right choice for you.

Copyright 2007 James W. Kemish. All Content. All Rights Reserved.
About the Author
Jim Kemish is the president and founder of Power Mortgage, a Florida mortgage company based in Delray Beach, Florida. Jim is also the President of Sky Blue Credit, a national credit repair business.
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