Your home is most probably the largest investment you will make during the entire course of your life. Home mortgage loans are most often the largest financial decision a person ever makes. It is important to fully understand how mortgages work and their component terms. Failure to do so can prove quite costly.

The first component is the duration of the loan. Mortgages most often have thirty year pay back periods. However, some newer exotic mortgages allowed for extension of this timeframe to up to fifty years. The long the loan term means the slower you are paying towards principal balance. This can prove risky. It is advised you stick with a 30 year term, and if you can afford the payment then seek a 25 year term.

The next important facet of a mortgage is its associated interest rate. Interest rates for mortgages are generally tied to a prevailing market rate. If you have good credit this rate tends to be lower. Also, a higher down payment can translate to a lower rate. It is important to seek the lowest rate possible. Even a tiny bit lower rate can translate to significant savings over the long course of the loan.

Some interest rates are fixed. This means the initial rate you have stays the same and never changes. This allows for effective family budgeting knowing exactly how much your housing expense will be on a continuing basis. The fact that is fixed doesn't mean that you are stuck with it forever. At some point in the future if rates decrease it could be possible to refinance and thus lower your rate.

Other mortgages have what is called "adjustable rates". These mortgages have interest rates which fluctuate with the benchmark rate. Most often, they go significantly up from the initial rate you are given. Many borrowers are confused and think their adjustable rate loan is actually fixed. It is imperative you know for sure which yours is. If you unknowingly have an adjustable rate you could be in for a rude surprise which is best avoided.

Some loans have what are called "teaser" rates. You are well served not to be teased in by these. The initial monthly payment amount on these mortgages are very low. That is the bait. Once they hook you, then the payment amount can radically increase. Many times so much so the borrower can no longer afford it. This is obviously a predicament you do not desire to find yourself in.

Some mortgages have various fees and other charges termed "points". Many borrowers focus solely on the interest rate and fail to take into consideration these fees and points. Make sure you read all the fine print. See exactly what charges are levied at closing. High points or fees can wipe out an otherwise attractive interest rate.

Home mortgage loans can be confusing. If you don't understand a clause then ask. If you still don't understand, then ask again. Pay attention to the duration, the interest rate and ensure you understand if your rate is fixed or adjustable. Avoid high fees or points owed at closing. These simple steps can save you thousands over the time you own your home.