Regarding the "Variable Rates that Seem To Go Only One Way," there is nothing more truthful than what was stated by Mr. Schlander.
It is particularly true for most condominium owners. They are stuck! I am currently paying more than 14.50% variable interest, despite the fact that the market rates for fixed loan have fallen to below 10%. What I did not realize when I bought the property was that it must be Fannie-Mae-approved or FHA-approved to qualify for the fixed rate. No agents, lenders or sellers will disclose this fact to you when you are making the purchase.
The variable loan is not only going one way, it is a "dead end" street.