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A Guide to Cash-Out Refinancing

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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Sometimes you need a little extra money to help with life’s big expenses, such as college tuition, home improvements or medical debt. A cash-out refinance on your mortgage allows you to leverage the equity in your home to get the cash you need. Keep reading to learn more about what cash-out refinancing is, how it works and how to make this process work for you.

How a cash-out refinance works

Normally, when you refinance your mortgage, you take out a new loan on your home with the intent of using it to pay off your existing loan. Doing so allows you to secure a better interest rate, adjust the length of your mortgage or consolidate debt if you have multiple liens on the property.

A cash-out refinance works in much the same way, except you take out a loan for more than the amount you owe on your mortgage. In this case, you use some of the equity you have built up in your home to get a cash advance. You can then use that cash to pay for your expenses and pay back the larger mortgage over time.

For example, let’s say you owe $100,000 on your $200,000 mortgage. With a cash-out refinance, you could potentially take out a new mortgage worth $150,000 — $100,000 would go toward paying off your old loan, and you’d have $50,000 for other expenses.

What are the requirements?

You’ll need to show documents when you apply for a cash-out refinance. The documents are similar to those you provided for your mortgage application, according to Adam Smith, president of the Colorado Real Estate Finance Group in Greenwood Village, Colo. They may include a W2, tax return, pay stubs, bank statements and statements from any assets or debts.

However, some requirements will be different from the first time around. In addition to documentation, a lender will look at the following for a cash-out refinance.

Credit score

The necessary credit score for a cash-out refinance loan is a bit higher than it is for a traditional mortgage. While lenders typically look for a credit score of 620 for a conventional mortgage, a score of 660 or above is required for a cash-out refinance.

Debt-to-income ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is the measure of your total monthly recurring debt divided by your total monthly income. Lenders look at this before approving you for a loan because it’s an indicator of how easily you’ll be able to manage repayment. In this case, you want your ratio to be less than or equal to 36%.

Loan-to-value ratio

Your loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is the comparison of your loan amount to the appraised value of your home.

“After the recession, most lenders started putting caps on the percentage of loan-to-value that you could borrow on a cash-out refinance,” Smith said. “Making sure that you still have some equity in your home protects you from owing too much and makes the investment safer for you and the lender.”

For the most part, your LTV cannot exceed 80% if you want to qualify for a cash-out refinance. However, this guideline may be specific to your loan program. FHA loans, for example, have an LTV limit of 85%, while loans backed by the VA have no LTV requirement.

What purposes can a cash-out refinance serve?

With a cash-out refinance, Smith said, “you can do essentially whatever you want. “The equity in your home is a savings account — that’s yours.” You can use it to pay off other debts, pay for your child’s college or make home improvements, for example.

However, Smith cautioned that states may have different rules and regulations for how the money from a cash-out refinance can be used. “In Colorado and some other states, you have to justify why this money is so important to you that you need to refinance,” he said. Smith recommended checking with your loan officer to see if any limitations apply to you.

Standard vs. limited cash-out refinance

Typically, the money that you receive from a cash-out refinance can be used for just about any purchase. This is what’s known as a standard cash-out refinance. However, some loan programs (like the VA’s cash-out option) put limits on what the funds can be used toward. As the name suggests, this is what’s known as a limited cash-out refinance.

According to the Fannie Mae guidelines, limited cash-out refinancing can be used for the following:

  • Modifying the terms and interest rate on an existing mortgage
  • Paying off the balance of an existing mortgage (including prepayment penalties)
  • Paying off construction costs to build a home
  • Paying for closing costs
  • Buying out a co-owner
  • Paying off a subordinate mortgage lien
  • Paying off the balance on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans or other debts used for energy-efficient improvements.

You can also get a small amount of cash back from a limited cash-out refinance loan, but it cannot exceed 2% of the new loan value nor $2,000, whichever is more.

Risks of a cash-out refinance

Home improvements are considered a good use of a cash-out refinance because they increase the value of the home. Paying off high-interest debt could be another smart use of a cash-out refinance.

However, doing a cash-out refinance for more frivolous purchases is risky. “If you go back 10 to 15 years ago, people were treating their homes like cash registers and taking money out to go on vacation and buy jet skis,” said Jim Sahnger, a loan officer with C2 Financial Corporation in Florida. The danger is that you borrow for luxury goods or “wants” versus “needs,” and end up with debt you can’t pay off.

Smith advised thinking about how your monthly payment will change after a cash-out refinance.
“There’s a good chance that your payment may be much higher than it was before,” he said. ”Before you take the money out, be sure that you’re able to make sense of what this change will look like in your current budget.”

Smith also warned that there’s a small chance you could end up underwater on your loan.
“There have been a lot of stops put in place since the last recession to make sure that doesn’t happen,” he said. “However, if the value of your home drops dramatically, you could end up having borrowed more than your house is worth.”

Alternatives to a cash-out refinance

If you’ve read the above and don’t think cash-out refinancing is the right fit for you, you may want to consider some of the following loan options:

Home equity loan (HEL)

Often, a home equity loan is referred to as a second mortgage because, like most first mortgages, this type of loan disburses the money to you in a lump sum and comes with a fixed interest rate. It uses the equity in your home as collateral, which is paid back over time, using fixed monthly payments.

Home equity line of credit (HELOC)

A home equity line of credit functions more like a credit card. Initially after taking out the loan, you enter what’s known as the “draw period.” During that time, typically 10 years, you’re given either checks or a credit card to draw upon the equity of your home as you wish. As with a credit card, you can borrow, pay back and borrow again against the line of credit.

You only have to worry about paying back interest during the draw period. After it ends, you then have to start paying back the loan principal at an adjustable interest rate.

Personal loan

Personal loans are different from HELs and HELOCS in that they are unsecured, meaning that they don’t use anything as collateral. This makes them much more of a risk for the lender, which is why they often come with stricter qualifying requirements and higher interest rates.

Cash-out government loan options

If you’re thinking of doing a cash-out refinance, there are government-backed options at your disposal. These loans are insured by federal agencies, which makes them less of a risk for the lender. As a result, they often have more lenient qualifying requirements and better terms than your standard cash-out refinance. Here are your options:

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) cash-out refinance

Requirements: You must have a minimum credit score of 600 and a debt-to-income ratio of less than 43%. You must also be able to show that you’ve made all the payments on your current mortgage for the last 12 months or however long you’ve owned the property if it’s less than 12 months.

Max loan limits: For FHA cash-out refinance loans, there is a limit of 85% LTV, which means that you can borrow up to 85% of the home’s current value.

Approval guidelines: To be eligible to refinance, you must have at least 15% equity in your property, according to a current appraisal.

Veterans Administration (VA) cash-out refinance

Requirements: You must have sufficient income and credit history, as well as be able to obtain a certificate of eligibility from the VA. The property must also be used as the primary residence for an eligible veteran or service member. The funds must be used for cash at closing, to pay off debt, to make home improvements or to pay off liens.

Max loan limits: There are no max loan limits on VA cash-out refinance loans.

Approval guidelines: In order to be approved for a certificate of eligibility, the veteran or service member must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. They must also meet length of service requirements for their division of service.

Conclusion

If you’ve already been thinking about refinancing your mortgage and you need some extra funds, doing a cash-out refinance on your home may be a viable option. This allows you to take out more money than you currently owe on your mortgage and use the surplus to cover your expenses.

However, doing so will likely increase your monthly mortgage payment, so it’s best to only use this option to cover costs that are truly important. Talk to your financial advisor to see if cash-out refinancing is the right move for you.

This article contains links to LendingTree, our parent company.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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7 Reasons Your Mortgage Application Was Denied

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Rejection isn’t fun under any circumstances, but it can be especially frustrating when you’re trying to buy a home. If your mortgage application was denied, know that you aren’t alone. Nearly 11% of mortgage applications were denied in 2017, according to the latest available data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Reasons for a mortgage application denial usually fall into a handful of categories, including credit history, employment history or property issues. Regardless of what the problem is, you’ll walk away from the experience learning why you’ve been denied and can use that information to work toward a favorable outcome in the future.

Below are seven of the most common reasons your mortgage application might not be approved, according to the CFPB — and then how to move forward.

1. You have a history of late payments

Before you can be approved for a mortgage, your lender needs to make sure you’d be able to repay the loan. Your income and how well you manage your existing debt help determine whether you’ll satisfy your mortgage payments every month, but so will your payment history. Failing to pay your electric, internet or other recurring bills on time will eventually affect your credit reports and scores.

Why this matters

Your payment history makes up the largest chunk of your credit score — 35% — and is listed on every debt-related account included on your credit report. Your credit score factors in the following details about late or missed payments, according to the FICO credit scoring system:

  • How late you were
  • How much you owe
  • How recently you were late
  • How many late or missed payments you have

Other negative information such as a bankruptcy or an account in collections are also factored into your score and will catch your lender’s attention.
If you have a credit history filled with late payments, this indicates to your lender that you struggle with maintaining on-time payments and are more likely to continue making late payments while repaying a mortgage.

How to avoid this issue: Maintain a track record of on-time payments for all your existing debt before and after you apply for a mortgage. If you have a few late payments on your credit report, keep in mind the further removed you are from your late payments, the less impact they’ll have on your credit score.

2. Your job status has changed

Rapidly switching employers and being in-between jobs can be grounds for an application denial.

Why this matters

Mortgage lenders like to see evidence of steady employment, especially for the last two years. They’ll usually verify this by reviewing your pay stubs and W-2s. If your employment history is spotty and doesn’t demonstrate that you’ve been maintaining consistent employment, you’re considered a higher risk and likely won’t be approved.

How to avoid this issue: Limit your job changes before you apply for a mortgage. A good rule of thumb is have had no more than three employers in the last two years and no time between those jobs where you were unemployed. Additionally, avoid any job changes after applying for a mortgage, as this could derail the process.

3. Your bank account has some red flags

Lenders will request at least the last few months of statements from your banking institution to see how your finances are holding up. Because they’re closely reviewing those documents, any suspicious-looking activity will present some red flags. Suspicious activity might include, but isn’t limited to:

  • Using multiple P.O. boxes or frequently changing addresses.
  • Conducting wire transfers to and from places known for their tax haven status or terrorism affiliation.
  • Making large cash payments from sources that typically aren’t associated with cash-based transactions.
  • Using money orders that are sequentially numbered.

Why this matters

Combing through your financial profile is part of the mortgage lending process. If you frequently overdraft your checking account, that won’t reflect well on your reputation as a prospective borrower. On the other end of the spectrum, having large deposits that aren’t accounted for can also cause problems.

You’ll need to verify every income source you want counted as part of your application, said Bruce McClary, vice president of communications for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling in Washington, D.C. Any side hustles you have need to be documented and verified if you want that information factored into your ability to afford the mortgage. One way to verify income is by providing your lender with pay stubs or W-2s from your supplemental income sources.

“If you’re relying on every penny, that can really be a roadblock,” McClary said.

How to avoid this issue: Keep track of all your income-related documents and provide them to your lender when they’re requested.

4. You omitted information on your application

Don’t try to outsmart your mortgage lender by withholding information that is pertinent to your loan application, such as neglecting to mention alimony payments or an unpaid federal tax debt. And even if you do so unintentionally, it might be too late to correct it once it’s discovered.

Why this matters

Your loan officer should carefully review your application to make sure it’s filled out completely and accurately. A small error like missing a zero on your income or accidentally skipping a section could mean losing your dream home.

There’s also the chance you forgot to include information that the underwriter caught later in the more extensive screening process, such as money owed to the IRS.

How to avoid this issue: Disclose all of your debt, judgments and other financial-related details to your loan officer upfront. Otherwise, they may not be able to help you if it comes up and disqualifies you later on.

5. You recently opened a new credit account

One of the main ways homebuyers can self-sabotage their chances at being fully approved for a home loan is by making decisions — such as opening a new credit card or financing a new vehicle — that affect their credit profile, after getting an initial green light from their lender in the form of a mortgage preapproval.

A preapproval is conditional and based on where your credit reports, credit scores, income and overall financial picture stand at the time the preapproval was granted. Any changes you make to your finances can prevent you from buying a home.

Why this matters

When you add a new set of debt to your plate, that increases your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Your DTI ratio is the percentage of your gross monthly income that is used to repay debt. In most cases, mortgage lenders like to see a DTI ratio of 43% or less. Adding any type of credit account will jeopardize your DTI ratio and potentially push you into denial territory.
“Everybody focuses so much on the credit report, but the other question is: Are you financing a home that you can actually afford?” McClary said.

How to avoid this issue: Don’t make any financial decisions that will result in an inquiry on your credit reports and an increase in your debt load. Practice this for 6-12 months before you start the homebuying process, McClary advised. You’ll also need to continue this practice until after you get your house keys. Additionally, try to find ways to boost your income to pay off debt.

6. You don’t have enough cash to close

Borrowing a mortgage will cost you more than just your monthly mortgage payment. In most cases, you’ll have a required down payment and closing costs to pay for. If you don’t have proof that you can cover those costs, your application may be rejected.

Why this matters

Your mortgage lender will want you to have some skin in the game for your home purchase, which would be your down payment. There are also the closing costs you’ll be charged for taking out a mortgage.

During the approval process, your lender will request that you provide proof of funds to close on your loan. Some examples of proof include bank statements, retirement account statements and gift letters with the donor’s proof of funds — in cases when a loved one is helping you meet your “cash to close” amount. Be sure your gift money is coming from an acceptable source, however.

Failing to provide the necessary documents can lead to a mortgage denial.

How to avoid this issue: Save aggressively for your down payment and closing costs. It’s possible to qualify for a mortgage with as little as 3% down, depending on your credit score. Your closing costs can range from 2% to 5% of your home’s purchase price.

If you’re borrowing or withdrawing from a retirement account, supply documentation from your plan provider that shows you qualify to do so, along with statements that verify you have the funds available to use for your home purchase. And if you need some extra help, consider a down payment assistance program.

7. Your home appraisal doesn’t match up

Getting a full mortgage approval is also contingent upon having the home appraised. Any problems that come up during the appraisal process can stop you from getting your house keys.

Why this matters

A home appraisal is an unbiased estimate of a home’s value. Your mortgage lender will more than likely require an appraisal for the home you’re trying to buy in order to verify that the purchase price checks out. If the appraisal aligns with the sales price or is slightly higher, no worries there. But if the appraisal is lower than the sales price, your lender might deny your application.

How to avoid this issue: If you have the financial capacity to do so, you can make up the difference in cash. You could also try negotiating a lower sales price with the home seller.

How to move forward after a mortgage denial

Once you’ve been denied, it’s time to figure out how to work toward eventually getting approved. Keep these tips in mind on how to move forward.

  • Find out why you were denied. Mortgage lenders are required to give you an explanation for why they denied your mortgage application if you submit a request for that information in writing, according to the CFPB. They must also provide you with a copy of the credit report that factored into your denial.
  • Improve your circumstances. Whether it’s a high DTI ratio, too short of an employment history or another common setback, take some time to correct those issues and better position yourself for mortgage approval in the future.
  • Consider housing counseling. In cases where you were denied for credit or income-related reasons, McClary suggests reaching out to a nonprofit housing counseling agency for help addressing those issues.

Everyone’s timeline is different for when they should apply again, so be sure to check with your lender or a housing counselor for guidance on next steps.

The bottom line

Being denied for a mortgage can be a discouraging experience, but it doesn’t mean all hope is lost for your goal of homeownership.

Once you’re clear on why you were denied, you can make the necessary changes so you’re not rejected the next time around.

“The more you do leading up to the loan application to make sure that you check and double-check every step, then the easier the actual homebuying process will be,” McClary said, “because that financing piece is locked down and you’ve addressed all the issues that could potentially be roadblocks.”

Here’s what you need to know about the most important factors to getting approved for a mortgage.

This article contains links to LendingTree, our parent company.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Mortgage

The 5/1 ARM: What Is It and Is It for Me?

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

5/1 ARM mortgage
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Homebuying involves a lot of decisions. You choose your neighborhood, your home, your mortgage program and your down payment. But you’ll also need to decide on the structure of your interest rate — fixed or adjustable.

While most people prefer a fixed-rate mortgage, there is a market for adjustable-rate loans. Nearly 7% of all loans originated in April 2019 were adjustable-rate mortgages, according to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report.

One common adjustable-rate mortgage is known as a 5/1 ARM. It has an initial fixed rate for five years before the interest rate starts adjusting. The rate can change every year for the remaining life of the loan.

An adjustable-rate mortgage can be a good way to get a better initial interest rate, usually lower than a traditional 30-year fixed-rate loan. But before you dive in to an adjustable-rate mortgage application, you’d better know how the changing interest rate will affect what you pay.

Here’s a guide to how 5/1 ARMs work, how they differ from fixed-rate mortgages and their pros and cons.

What’s a 5/1 ARM?

Before defining a 5/1 ARM, we should first define an adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM. An ARM is a type of mortgage that has an interest rate that changes, or adjusts, multiple times over the life of the loan.

Different types of adjustable-rate mortgages have interest rates that change at different intervals and are limited to certain levels of increase each time. Most ARMs start out with a fixed interest rate for several years and eventually transition to a period with an variable interest rate for the rest of the term, usually a total of 30 years.

In the case of a 5/1 ARM, the mortgage rate is fixed for the first five years. That’s what the “5” refers to. Then, the mortgage can adjust each year thereafter for the remaining 25 years of the loan term. That’s what the “1” refers to, since the rate changes after one year.

Since the 5/1 ARM is a blend of a fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loan, it can also be known as a hybrid mortgage.

How 5/1 ARM interest rates adjust

Adjustable-rate mortgages are less predictable than fixed-rate loans and are directly impacted by economic factors after you’ve started repaying the loan.

Changes to the interest rate on an adjustable-rate mortgage are based on an index, which is a benchmark interest rate that reflects general market conditions, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The most common index used for mortgages is the one-year London Inter-Bank Offer Rate, or LIBOR for short.

Mortgage lenders use the index and then add on a fixed margin to determine your interest rate. A margin is a set number of percentage points added on to the index. So, if the one-year LIBOR is 2.65% and your lender’s margin is 2.15%, your mortgage rate, or “fully indexed rate,” at that time would be 4.8%.

Interest rates on 5/1 ARMs typically start out lower than those for fixed-rate mortgages. As of mid-May 2019, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.07%, while the 5/1 ARM was 3.66%, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Let’s take a look at how a 5/1 ARM stacks up against a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage after the first five years. We’ll use a hypothetical $250,000 house and assume the buyer is putting down 20%, which means they’ll borrow a $200,000 mortgage.

 

5/1 ARM

30-Year FRM

Interest rate

3.7

4.1

Monthly payment
(Principal and interest)

$920.57

$966.40

Interest paid after five years

$6,639.60

$7,406.94

Principal paid after five years

$4,407.19

$4,189.82

As shown above, because the 5/1 ARM has a lower interest rate during its fixed-rate period than the 30-year fixed does, the buyer would pay $767.34 less in interest after five years and pay down $217.37 more of the principal balance of the loan. The results could quickly reverse once the 5/1 ARM’s interest rate begins adjusting, however.

Let’s look at the 5/1 ARM (on a $250,000 home with a $50,000 down payment) after two interest rate adjustments to understand how the changes can impact the monthly mortgage payment.

 

Adjustment #1

Adjustment #2

Index

2.65%

2.8%

Margin

2.15%

2.15%

Interest rate (Index + margin)

4.8%

4.95%

Monthly payment (Principal and interest)

$1,049.33

$1,067.54

In the above scenarios, the 5/1 ARM interest rate jumps significantly higher than 3.7%. By the time the rate jumps to 4.8% and again to 4.95%, the monthly payment increases by nearly $130 and $150, respectively.

Pros and cons of 5/1 ARM

As with any financial product, there are benefits and drawbacks. Consider the following pros and cons of borrowing a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage.

Pros

  • ARM interest rates are usually lower than 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (and sometimes 15-year fixed-rate mortgages) for the first five years, which means you’ll pay less in interest during that time.
  • Monthly mortgage payments are also typically lower in the first five years, thanks to the lower interest rate.
  • There is a limit to how high your interest rate can increase over the life of your loan, which is called a lifetime adjustment cap. The cap is typically five percentage points, but your lender’s cap could be higher, according to the CFPB.

Cons

  • After the first five years of a 5/1 ARM, the interest rate can adjust each year and is not predictable. Although there’s a cap on how much your rate can increase the first time it adjusts, it can still be significantly higher than the fixed rate you’re losing.
  • Because your interest rate adjusts over the life of your loan, so does your monthly mortgage payment. If a higher mortgage payment would greatly impact your budget, this could cause you some affordability problems.
  • If you want to keep a fixed interest rate, you must refinance into a fixed-rate mortgage, which comes with closing costs and other fees. You must also qualify for a refinance in order to get out of your existing mortgage.

A 5/1 ARM might work for you if …

“For certain people, like first-time homebuyers, 5/1 ARM mortgages are very useful,” said Doug Crouse, a senior loan officer with nearly 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry.

Homebuyers in the following scenarios could benefit from a 5/1 ARM:

  • First-time buyers who plan to move within the first five years of owning their home.
  • Buyers who plan to pay of their mortgage very quickly.
  • Buyers who are borrowing a jumbo mortgage.

Crouse explained that with some first-time buyers, the plan is to move after a few years. This group can benefit from lower interest rates and lower monthly payments during those early years before the fixed rate changes to a variable rate.

Mindy Jensen, a real estate agent and community manager for BiggerPockets, an online community of real estate investors, agrees. “You can actually use a 5/1 ARM to your advantage in certain situations,” she said.

A 5/1 ARM could work well for someone who wants to aggressively pay down a mortgage in a short amount of time, Jensen explained. After all, if you know you’re going to pay off your loan early, why pay more interest to your lender than you have to?

“The lower initial interest rate frees up more money to make higher principal payments,” Jensen said.

Another group of people that can benefit from 5/1 ARM are those who take out or refinance jumbo mortgages, Crouse added.

For these loans, a 5/1 ARM makes the first few years of mortgage payments lower because of the lower interest rate. This, in turn, means that the initial payments will be much more affordable for higher-end properties.

Plus, if buyers purchased these more expensive homes in desirable areas where home prices are projected to rise quickly, it’s possible the value of their home could soar in the first few years while they make lower payments. Then, they can sell after five years and hopefully make a profit.

However, keep in mind that real estate is a risky investment and nothing is guaranteed.

A 5/1 ARM isn’t right for you if …

For homebuyers who plan to stay put for longer than five years, Crouse and Jensen share the sentiment that a 5/1 ARM might not be as beneficial for them.

Homeowners should also consider whether they want to be landlords in the future, Jensen added. If you decide to move out of your home but keep the mortgage and rent out your home, a 5/1 ARM may not serve you.

Additionally, if you think there’s a chance you might not be able to refinance out of a 5/1 ARM by the time your interest rate starts adjusting, you might consider a fixed-rate mortgage instead.

The bottom line

The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage can offer you the benefits of a lower interest rate and monthly payment, especially in the first five years of the loan. This alone may make it an attractive product for homebuyers.

Still, you can’t predict how high your interest rate can go when it transitions from fixed to variable, and that’s a budgeting concern you’ll need to consider when weighing your home financing options.

If after reading this guide you think a 5/1 ARM might be right for you, keep this list of questions in mind as you gather mortgage quotes from lenders:

  • How long do I want to live in this house?
  • Will this house suit my family if my family grows?
  • Is there a chance my job will transfer me elsewhere?
  • How often does the rate adjust after five years?
  • When is the adjusted rate applied to the mortgage?
  • If I want to refinance in five years, how much might that cost me?
  • How comfortable am I with the uncertainty of a variable rate?
  • Do I want to rent out my house if I decide to move?

Once you’ve filled in the answers to the above questions, your next step is to understand the minimum mortgage requirements for the available loan programs.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Cat Alford
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Cat Alford is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Catherine at [email protected]

Crissinda Ponder
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Crissinda Ponder is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Crissinda here

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