Mortgage Basics
A calculator a house and a $1 bill in the background
Chapter 2: How mortgages work

There are as many types of mortgages to choose from as there are types of houses to buy. Here you'll learn how to choose the mortgage that is right for you -- and what kind of lender to get it from.

There's a lot to learn in this chapter since there are all kinds of ways to finance your home. We'll tell you about fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages, as well as subprime mortgages for those who have credit problems. We also explain the less-well-known kinds -- jumbo, balloon and others. Finally, we discuss the different types of lenders and tell you which ones are the best choices in different financial situations.

What you can expect to learn from this chapter:
  • Fixed-rate mortgages
    The pros and cons of 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages are explained, as well as the differences in interest paid over the life of the loans.
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages
    Adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, move with market interest rates. Here we explain which rates are used and how your payments might be affected.
  • Deciding between an ARM and a fixed-rate mortgage
    Now that you know the difference between the two types of mortgage, we'll compare them side by side to make it easy for you to decide which to take.
  • Subprime mortgages
    Even if you have credit problems, you may still be able to get a subprime mortgage. We explain what these are and what to look out for.
  • Other types of mortgages
    We explain the other types of mortgages you've heard about: jumbo, balloon, two-step, assumable and construction mortgages, and seller financing.
  • Which type of lender is right for you?
    This section explains the different types of lenders you might get a mortgage from and which is the best for your situation.



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