How Does A Balloon Mortgage Work?

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 29th, 2010

Finally being able to buy your house because you got the mortgage you wanted is an exciting thing. Many mortgage possibilities are available, but a balloon mortgage may be the thing that you need to get moved in. Here are some things you need to know about balloon mortgages that will enable you to decide if this type of mortgage can help you.

A balloon mortgage is taken out for a 30-year period, like an ordinary mortgage, but paid back much sooner. These are often paid back in 5 or 7 years, but recently a 15-year option has become rather popular. At the end of this period of time, the mortgage becomes fully due - it must be paid off. Since most people cannot pay it off because the balance is still quite large, there is a guaranteed option of refinancing - at the market rate at the time.

This makes a balloon mortgage in some ways both like a fixed rate mortgage and an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). It is like a fixed rate mortgage in that it has a fixed payment over a certain period of time. On the other hand, a balloon mortgage is like an ARM because the guaranteed level of interest goes to an unknown rate - to whatever the interest rate is when you refinance.

The monthly payment for a balloon mortgage is like the payment for a fixed rate mortgage because it is based on the whole period of the loan - for 30 years. All balloon mortgages are calculated on a 30-year time frame. The difference being that the full payment is due earlier.

The advantage of getting a balloon mortgage is that it enables you to get lower than traditional mortgage costs. Your payment will usually be a little less than if you had a regular mortgage. This also means two things, though. First, it means that you are not paying much more than interest in the brief time span of the loan; and this also means that you really are not building up much equity on the home during that time.

At the end of the specified time period, whether 5, 7, 15 years, or some other arrangement, you must pay off the balance of the mortgage. A balloon mortgage will be of more value to you if you are intending to sell the house before the balloon payment is due, or, plan to refinance. Refinancing, of course, means that you are forced to take a risk on whatever the new interest rates are at the time ? could be good or bad. There will be, in the initial contract, terms under which such a contract can be refinanced. This may be, however, non-negotiable. Which means, simply, that you are better off refinancing through another lending agency - in most cases.

A balloon mortgage works well with someone who knows that they may not be staying in an area for a long period of time. Another possibility is if you know you can take the balance of your lower payment, reinvest it in higher interest yielding products, and then pay off the balloon mortgage at the end of the term.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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