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The Mortgage Professor: Selecting the type of mortgage that best meets your needs

Perhaps the most important decision a mortgage borrower makes is the type of mortgage: whether fixed-rate, FRM, or adjustable-rate, ARM, if the mortgage is fixed, the borrower decides the term, if it is adjustable, they decide the initial period until the rate adjusts. The available terms on FRMs today are 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years. The available fixed-rate periods on ARMs are 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10 years. All ARMs have terms of 30 years.

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