A:

The main types of subprime mortgages include adjustable rate mortgages, fixed-interest mortgages with 40- to 50-year terms and interest-only mortgages.

A mortgage is considered to be subprime if it is given to someone who has poor credit. A poor level of credit is generally defined as a credit score of 640 or less, although it varies. Prime rate mortgages are not offered in these cases because the lender considers the borrower a risk for defaulting on the loan.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgages

An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) starts out with a flat interest rate and later switches to a floating rate. An example is the 2/28 loan, which is a 30-year mortgage that has a fixed interest rate for two years before being adjusted. Similarly, the 3/27 loan has a fixed interest rate for three years before it becomes variable.

In these cases, the floating rate is determined based on an index plus a margin. A commonly used index is ICE LIBOR. With ARMs, the borrower's monthly payments are usually lower during the initial term and then increase to a higher amount for the remaining term. However, the interest rate may decrease, depending on the index. Also, there is time for the borrower to increase his credit score before the flat-rate period ends, in which case, refinancing may be possible.

Fixed-Interest Mortgages

Another type of subprime mortgage is a fixed-rate mortgage that is given for a 40- or 50-year term, in contrast to the standard 30-year period. This lowers the borrower's monthly payments, but it is more likely to be accompanied by a higher interest rate. That said the interest rates available for fixed-interest mortgages can vary from lender to lender. To research the best interest rates available use a tool like a mortgage calculator.

Interest-Only Mortgages

A third type of subprime mortgage is an interest-only mortgage. For the initial term of the loan, which is typically five, seven or 10 years, payment toward the principal is postponed. This means that the borrower only pays interest. He can choose to make payments toward the principal, but these payments are not required.

When this term ends, the borrower begins paying off the principal, or he can choose to refinance the mortgage. This can be a smart option for a borrower if his income tends to fluctuate from year to year, or if he would like to buy a home and is expecting his income to rise within a few years.

Dignity Mortgages

The dignity mortgage is a new type of subprime loan in which the borrower makes a down payment of about 10% and agrees to pay a higher rate interest for a set period, usually for five years. If he makes the monthly payments on time, after five years, the amount that has been paid toward interest goes toward reducing the balance on the mortgage, and the interest rate is lowered to the prime rate.

RELATED FAQS
  1. What is a subprime mortgage?

    A subprime mortgage is a type of loan granted to individuals with poor credit histories (often below 600), who, as a result ... Read Answer >>
  2. How much risk is associated with subprime mortgages?

    Discover the risks associated with subprime mortgages. Find out whether taking out a subprime mortgage on your home is really ... Read Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between a 2/28 and a 3/27 ARM?

    An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) is a type of mortgage that has a fixed interest rate for a certain time period at the beginning ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Subprime Is Often Subpar

    Proceed with caution when considering these short-term, high-interest mortgages.
  2. Personal Finance

    What is a Subprime Mortgage?

    Subprime mortgages are offered to borrowers with low credit ratings, usually 600 or below.
  3. Personal Finance

    5 Risky Mortgage Types To Avoid

    There are plenty of ways to end up with a bad mortgage. The risks of these five should make every homebuyer think twice before signing.
  4. Personal Finance

    Shopping for a Mortgage in 2017? Use This Tool First

    As home-buying technology has progressed, the process of finding the best mortgages rates for 2017 can all be done online.
  5. Personal Finance

    Understanding the Mortgage Payment Structure

    We explain the calculation and payment process as well as the amortization schedule of home loans.
  6. Personal Finance

    Choose Your Monthly Mortgage Payments

    Exotic mortgages allow you to decide how much to pay. Find out how much they really cost.
  7. Personal Finance

    ARMed And Dangerous

    In a climate of rising interest rates, having an adjustable-rate mortgage can be risky.
  8. Insights

    How Interest Rates Affect the Housing Market

    Understand how rate changes can affect home prices and learn how you can keep up.
  9. Personal Finance

    5 Things You Shouldn't Tell Your Mortgage Broker

    Applying for a mortgage can be a strenuous process. Here are five things to avoid doing when meeting with your mortgage broker.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Subprime Mortgage

    A type of mortgage that is normally made out to borrowers with ...
  2. Mortgage Rate

    The rate of interest charged on a mortgage. Mortgage rates are ...
  3. Nontraditional Mortgages

    A broad term describing mortgages that do not take the traditional ...
  4. Variable Rate Mortgage

    A type of home loan in which the interest rate is not fixed. ...
  5. No-Cost Mortgage

    A mortgage refinancing situation in which the lender pays the ...
  6. Second Mortgage

    A type of subordinate mortgage made while an original mortgage ...
Trading Center