A better mortgage fit: fixed or adjustable?

Integrated calculators help you decide

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In many, if not most, countries, borrowers are offered one type of mortgage: Take it or leave it. Borrowers in the U.S., however, can choose from a large menu of mortgage types designed to meet different borrower and lender needs.

These include fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) with terms ranging from 10 to 40 years, and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) with 30-year terms but initial rate periods ranging from one to 10 years. Many of these mortgages have an interest-only payment option for the first five or 10 years. And all are offered with multiple combinations of interest rate and lender fees.