The party’s nearly over for anyone who used an adjustable rate mortgage, called an ARM in lender jargon.

Housing economists estimate that anywhere from $162 billion to $1 trillion in home loans will have to be refinanced in the next year. Refinancing accounts for nearly half of the mortgage business these days and experts think 19 percent of all ARMs taken out in 2004 and 2005 are at risk of default.

While the Fed is holding steady on interest rates — for now — hundreds of thousands of homeowners are nervously calculating how much higher their payments will be.

If your loan is adjusting soon, take out your pencil. If you can’t afford the new payment, you’ll have just a couple of options – refinance or sell. And selling is tough in many neighborhoods these days.

The best thing you can do is plan ahead, figure out how much you can afford, and then find a mortgage program that works for you,

With practical, informative consumer advice, I’m Ilyce Glink, News-Talk 750 WSB