A mortgage loan that is at a set specified interest rate for the lifetime or maturity of the mortgage. According to the Federal National Mortgage Association, first time buyers often choose fixed-rate mortgages because they want low monthly payments throughout the loan term. Also buyers can reap the greatest cumulative tax deductions available over the loan term. Generally, lenders require 20% down payments on conventional fixed-rate mortgages, but with federal Housing Administration insurance, only 5% is required. Also, private mortgage insurance (PMI) can help buyers purchase a home with only a 10% down payment. Buyers purchase PMI through private companies, but lenders typically acquire the insurance for the buyers. First-year premiums are usually between .35% and 1.65% of the total loan amount, and depending on policy requirements, buyers must pay the premiums either aim advance or monthly. A twist on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the shorter term fixed-rate mortgage, with either a 10- or 15-year loan term.