This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Don't Ditch That ARM Just Yet

A rate reset on an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) can be stressful. But thanks to historically low interest rates, there's a good chance your rate will actually go down if it's scheduled to reset in the next few months. If that's the case, you might be better off sticking with your ARM a little longer, despite the low rates on fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs).

Interest rates on ARMs typically are calculated by adding percentage points to a rate index -- most commonly the 12-month London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR. The rate index fluctuates, and the margin between your rate and the rate index is set by the lender and remains fixed for the life of your loan. The margin is often 2.75%, but can be higher if your lender considers you a risky borrower.

The 12-month LIBOR has fluctuated widely over the past decade -- it was at a low of roughly 1% in 2004 before rising steadily to more than 5% by the end of 2007. Now with LIBOR back to the 2% mark, borrowers with ARMs are potentially facing a drop in their interest rates.

For example, say your mortgage rate is scheduled to reset in March, and you're deciding between refinancing with a new FRM and letting your rate reset. Your current interest rate is around 5%, and you have $200,000 remaining on your initial mortgage. The margin on your ARM is 2.75%, so with the 12-month LIBOR roughly 2%, your rate would drop to 4.75%. That means your monthly payments, which are now $1,169, will likely be reduced to $1,140. BankingMyWay.com's ARM calculator can show how your specific numbers might change.)

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,079.57 -42.44 -0.25%
S&P 500 1,996.74 -3.38 -0.17%
NASDAQ 4,557.6950 -11.9260 -0.26%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs