Costa Rica Home Loans / Mortgages
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage
Not long ago, there was only one kind of mortgage: 30-year fixed rate (the borrower has 30 years to pay back the mortgage at a fixed interest rate and the payments are the same over the life of the loan). It is still the most common home loan.
Borrowers choose fixed-rate loans because the mortgage payments are steady and predictable, allowing for easier household budgeting and planning. The payments are the same over the life of the mortgage, regardless of interest rate changes. Initially, both the rate and mortgage payment are higher than those of an adjustable-rate mortgage, but the payment is lower than that of a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage (see below). People who choose a fixed-rate mortgage usually are planning to keep their home and mortgage for several years.
The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage
This type of mortgage enables you to own your home in half the usual time, meaning you could possibly own it before your children start college or you reach retirement. Because the loan is shorter, you pay substantially less in the total interest over the life of the loan, often less than half the total interest of a 30-year fixed-rate loan. However, because the term is shorter, the monthly payments are higher than those of a 30-year mortgage. For people who can afford the higher monthly payments, this is an excellent choice, with lower total costs and a shorter term. Qualification for this type of loan may be more difficult because the income requirement may be higher.
Adjustable Rate Mortgage
Adjustable Rate Mortgages, or ARMs, start out with a lower rate than the current 30 yr fixed rate but can change. ARMs can change monthly, semi-annually, or annually. The new rate is calculated based upon an index, such as HIBOR or the 1 year Treasury Index, and a margin. The margin is constant and the index can vary. At this time Costa Rican banks are only offering ARMs.