One of the many loan options that home buyers have today is the graduated payment mortgage (GPM). In a graduated payment mortgage, your mortgage payments start low and increase gradually over a pre-determined period of time. This type of loan is very beneficial for people who can’t afford a large monthly mortgage payment shortly after becoming home owners, but expect to have a better financial situation and afford larger mortgage payments in the future. Most people that his type of loan is geared towards are college/university students or recent graduates who wish to become home owners, but can’t afford to make the often large payments that come with conventional mortgage loans.
How Does a Graduated Payment Mortgage Work?
Because the graduated payment mortgage is designed to help those who can’t afford to make large payments on their mortgage, the loan has an initial period when the interest rate is very low. This is followed by a period of 3 to 5 years when the interest rate increases gradually and remains fixed for the remainder of the loan. The payment increase can be from 2.5 percent to 7.5 percent in the first 5 years, or 2-3 percent over 10 years.
The graduated payment mortgage uses a negative amortization schedule, meaning that at first your monthly mortgage payments will include a smaller interest payment than the one owed on the loan, while the remaining interest will be added to the principal. This makes it easier for you to get approved for this type of mortgage loan, but the downside is that the overall cost of the mortgage loan will be higher.
Graduated payment mortgages are not a favorite type of loan for most lenders as it is considered to have a higher degree of risk, so it is most likely that you will receive a higher interest rate than on a regular fixed -rate mortgage loan.
Benefits of a Graduated Payment Mortgage
Graduated payment mortgages can be very beneficial, depending on your situation and the plans that you have for your future. Here are the advantages that a graduated payment mortgage comes with:
- The largest benefit that a graduated payment mortgage has is that it allows someone with a lower income to become a home owner. People who expect to see an increase in their income in the next few years after taking on a mortgage shouldn’t have a problem acquiring a GPM. Because of the low initial mortgage payments, you will be able to make monthly payments on your mortgage loan while increasing your income.
- You have a greater flexibility in choosing the type of home that you purchase. This is also an effect of the low initial payments. By paying less for the first few years, you gain more buying power, allowing you more flexibility on the price.
- People with lower credit scores and not so perfect credit histories can qualify for this type of loan and become home owners much easier than they would for a regular mortgage loan.
Risks of a Graduated Payment Mortgage
The greatest risk that comes with a graduated payment mortgage is that the borrower doesn’t fully understand how much his or her mortgage payments will increase after the initial period, leading to financial troubles or even losing their home. This can happen due to poor budgeting or unrealistic income growth expectations. The initial payments may seem very attractive, but before you know it, a few years go by and you are required to make much higher payments that may be more difficult for you to budget for.
Graduated payment mortgages can be very advantageous for someone who has properly researched what this type of loan offers. But, as with any loan designed to help the home buyer qualify much easier, you will find that the graduated payment mortgage will end up costing you more than a regular fixed-rate loan. This tradeoff is not necessarily that bad for people who expect an income growth but want to become home owners before this happens.