Mortgage loans are not “one size fits all” type of deals. Because every borrower's situation is unique, lenders have created several loan programs to fit various needs. For those looking to make a long-term home purchase or for those interested in safety, fixed rate mortgages are typically the best way to go. These offer predictable monthly payments that never change over the course of the loan. The most common terms are 15 or 30 years.
For first-time homebuyers or subprime borrowers, adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) may be the easiest way to break into the housing market. These loans provide low interest rates during the first several years, making the payments more affordable, making it easier for borrowers with smaller incomes or poor credit scores to qualify for financing. ARMs do carry a danger - the interest rate will eventually go up and without careful planning, many borrowers are caught unprepared to make the higher payments, putting them at risk of default.
There are also jumbo loans for those buying homes worth more than the Fannie Mae conforming limit (currently set at $417,000 for most