Are all mortgage loans the same?  Or can making a choice between one particular type of mortgage get you in trouble if you aren’t careful.  In the case of an adjustable rate mortgage versus a fixed rate mortgage it is true that all mortgages are not alike.  

Of course in many cases the type of loan you can secure has to do with how good or bad your credit has been over the years.  Your FICO score will often determine the loan you will be offered.  Basically, FICO is an acronym for Fair Isaac Corporation and refers to your best-known credit score calculated by using a specific mathematical formula.  

GMAC takes the FICO score into account and also explains the difference between a fixed rate mortgage and adjustable rate mortgage, depending on which loan you might be eligible for, “Most mortgage loans have either a fixed interest rate or an adjustable interest rate.  With a fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rate never changes and your payments remain stable throughout the life of your loan.  With an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), the interest rate changes at regular intervals — usually once every year — based on a formula that uses a market index.  For most ARM options, rate adjustments begin after an initial period — usually between three months and ten years — during which the rate is fixed.”

That said you might be wondering why in the world a person would opt for a loan with rates that fluctuate like the wind.  There are some good reasons such as that in some cases a lender will charge a lower interest rate for an ARM at the beginning of the loan than as compared to a fixed-rate loan.  This will not only increase your buying power, but in many cases it can prove quite frugal if interest rates remain steady or decrease.

At bankrate.com it states, “With a fixed rate mortgage (FRM), your monthly payments will be steady. In contrast, with an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)…you typically have an initial fixed rate lower than the rate of a comparable fixed rate mortgage. The initial fixed rate period is followed by adjustment intervals. For example, a "3/1 ARM" is fixed at an initial low rate for the first 3 years, and then adjusts every year based on an index. Common ARMs are: 1/1, 3/1, 5/1, 7/1, and 10/1.” 

For the most part a quick rule of thumb is to remember that a fixed rate is a great idea if you plan on being in your home for a long time and the interest rates are low when you buy.  As for an adjustable rate mortgage this is a good idea if you don’t plan to stay in your house very long and the rates are higher than usual when you’re initially buying.