LOAN TYPES

Variety in mortgage offerings may ultimately be a boon to borrowers, but, at least at the start of the mortgage-shopping process, variety holds the potential for plenty of confusion. Here's a guide to some of the basics.
 

A loan in which the interest rate does not change during the entire term of the loan. For an individual taking out a loan when rates are low, the fixed rate loan would allow him or her to "lock in" the low rates and not be concerned with fluctuations.

Fixed Rate Loan
Construction loan

Construction loan is a more specific type of loan, designed for construction and containing features such as interest reserves, where repayment ability may be based on something that can only occur when the project is built. Thus, the defining features of these loans are special monitoring and guidelines above normal loan guidelines to ensure that the project is completed so that repayment can begin to take place.

Mezzanine Loan

An increasingly popular loan vehicle for commercial property, the mezzanine loan is similar to a second mortgage with a major variation. Rather than being secured by the actual real estate property, mezzanine loans are secured by the stock that is held by the company that owns the real estate. The real estate itself has already been used to secure the first, or primary loan.

Floating Rate Loan

Any interest rate that changes on a periodic basis. The change is usually tied to movement of an outside indicator, such as the prime interest rate. Movement above or below certain levels is often prevented by a predetermined floor and ceiling for a given rate. For example, you might see a rate set at "prime plus 2%". This means that the rate on the loan will always be 2% higher than the prime rate, which changes regularly to take into account changes in the inflation rate. For an individual taking out a loan when rates are low, a fixed rate loan would allow him or her to "lock in" the low rates and not be concerned with fluctuations

Bridge Loan

A short-term loan that is used until a person or company secures permanent financing or removes an existing obligation. This type of financing allows the user to meet current obligations by providing immediate cash flow. The loans are short-term (up to one year) with relatively high interest rates and are backed by some form of collateral such as real estate or inventory.