30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
The "traditional " mortgage. The payment and interest rate is constant throught the life of the loan. The loan will amortize (gradually reduce) the outstanding balance of the mortgage over a 30 year period. This can be the best loan when interest rates are low or when a borrower intends on staying in a home for a long period of time.
15 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
This loan has a constant payment and interest rate, but this loan will amortize (pay down) over 15 years. This loan will have a lower interest rate than a 30 year mortgage, but the monthly payments will be higher than a 30 year mortgage. The borrower will pay less in interest over time.
Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs)
This type of loan has an interest rate that varies over time. Typically, these loans have a lower interest rate compared to a fixed rate mortgage. After the "first reset date" or the initial period of time that the interest rate is constant, both the payment and interest rate will change. There is a trade-off for an ARM loan - the borrower will benefit from a lower interest rate than a fixed rate loan, but will be subject to the interest rate and payment increasing after the reset. The ability for the loan to reset is a benefit for the lender. These loans will amortize over 30 years.
Hybrid ARMs - 3/1s, 5/1s, 7/1s, or 10/1s - these loans have a fixed interest rate for 3, 5, 7, or 10 years. The interest rate and payment will reset annually after the initial fixed rate period.
This loan has a rate that is recalculated once a year.
With this loan, the interest rate is recalculated every month.
This type of loan does not amortize (the balance is not reduced) for a defined period of time. This can be a feature of a Fixed Rate Mortgage or an Adjustable Rate Mortgage. Because of this feature, this type of loan has a lower initial monthly payment. This loan is not very common in the present lending environment, but it is still available from some lenders.