Which Loan is Right for Me?

If you’re considering buying a home using a loan, you might not know where to start your research. These helpful charts break down the type of loan that best suits your situation and the benefits and disadvantages of each option. 

Years you plan to stay in the home Recommended program 
1-3 years 3/1 ARM, 1 year ARM or 6 month ARM 
3-5 years 5/1 ARM 
5-7 years 7/1 ARM 
7-10 years 10/1 ARM, 30 year fixed or 15 year fixed 
10+ years 30 year fixed or 15 year fixed 
Loan Program Advantages Disadvantages 
Fixed Rate Mortgages 30 year fixed 15 year fixed Monthly payments are fixed over the life of the loan Interest rate does not change Protected if rates go up Can refinance if rates go down Higher interest rate Higher mortgage payments Rate does not drop if interest rates improve 
Loan Program Advantages Disadvantages 
Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) 10/1 ARM 7/1 ARM 5/1 ARM 3/1 ARM 1 year ARM 6 month ARM 1 month ARM Lower initial monthly payment Rates and payments may go down if rates improve May qualify for higher loan amounts 30 year term, no balloon payment More risk Payments may change over time Potential for higher payments if rates increase 
Loan Program Advantages Disadvantages 
Balloon Mortgages 7 year 5 year Lower initial monthly payment Lower payment for a predetermined period of time Many balloon mortgages offer the option to convert to a new loan after the initial term Risk of rates being higher at the end of the initial fixed period Risk of foreclosure if you cannot make balloon payment, refinance, or exercise the conversion option Balloon payment requires you to sell or refinance after the term, as opposed to a 7/1 or 5/1 program with a 30 year term 
Loan Program Advantages Disadvantages 
First Time Buyer Programs Lower down payment Easier to qualify Lower rates may be available May be subject to income and property value limitations Some government subsidized programs may generate a recapture tax if you sell the house too soon Education courses may be required to qualify for these loans 
Loan Program Advantages Disadvantages 
Stated Income Programs Don’t need to verify income Faster approval Good for borrowers who may not qualify with a full income documentation program Higher rates Higher down payment 
Loan Program Advantages Disadvantages 
Interest Only Programs You have several payment options Lower monthly payments Qualify for a higher loan amount Qualify at the interest only payment Option to pay the full normal payment Interest only payments for up to ten years Higher rates Principal loan balance will not decrease during the interest only payment period Payment will be higher for the remaining term 
Loan Program Advantages Disadvantages 
No point, No fee Programs No out-of-pocket loan costs at closing Closing costs are paid from the lender rebate Less money required to close Refinance without increasing your loan amount Higher rates Higher payments Some lenders may have a short payoff penalty which is usually charged to the loan broker, but may be passed on to you Some require a prepayment penalty for the first one to five years 
Loan Program Advantages Disadvantages 
Imperfect Credit Programs Potential for reestablishing credit if you pay your mortgage on time When used for debt consolidation, you may be able to reduce your monthly debt payment Higher rates Terms may not be as favorable Harder to get long-term fixed loans Loans may have prepayment penalties 
Loan Program Advantages Disadvantages 
Home Equity Line of Credit You only borrow what you need Pay interest only on what you borrow Flexible access to funds Interest may be tax deductible May be free of closing costs A good source for an emergency fund, if set up in advance Can be used for debt consolidation and lower payments Rates are usually lower than consumer loan or credit card rates Rates can change. The maximum interest rate can be relatively high Payments can change Harder to refinance your first mortgage 
Loan Program Advantages Disadvantages 
Home Equity Fixed Loan Fixed payments Interest may be tax deductible Get cash out for any purpose Higher interest rates compared to first mortgage Harder to refinance your first mortgage Interest is paid on the entire loan amount, compared to an equity line of credit 

In addition to standard loan programs, you may benefit by obtaining a special program: 

  • Purchase your home with no down payment using Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) or Lender-paid Mortgage Insurance (MI). 
  • Piggyback loans: 80-10-10 or 80-15-5. Avoid PMI payments by using Lender-paid MI. 
  • Debt consolidation programs. 
  • Home Improvement loans. 
  • You may qualify even if you’ve been turned down before!