The Lowdown on Buydowns

Family in living room

A 1% difference in mortgage rate might seem insignificant, but it can add thousands to the total cost of a loan and increase a monthly payment by as much as $100. For some borrowers, 1% can have a huge impact on affordability.

However, rate increases don’t have to keep you on the sidelines. If you want to buy now — and you anticipate earning a higher income in a few years — a temporary buydown can help you get a lower mortgage payment.

How Does a Buydown Program Work?

When mortgage rates increase, so does the cost to borrow money. And unfortunately, higher rates also decrease a borrower’s purchasing power.

With a temporary buydown, FirstBank Mortgage reduces the mortgage rate on your loan for the first two or three years. The original rate doesn’t kick in until year three or four, so you’re able to enjoy smaller initial payments. Therefore, this program keeps homeownership within reach as interest rates increase. It’s important to note that temporary buydowns aren’t one-size-fits-all.

FirstBank Mortgage offers three buydown options:

1/0 Buydown: You receive a rate reduction of 1% in the first year and then your rate returns to the original rate in the second year. Available with conventional and USDA loans.

2/1 Buydown: You receive a rate reduction of 2% in the first year and 1% in the second year. The original rate starts in year three. Available with conventional, VA and FHA loans.

3/2/1 Buydown: You receive a rate reduction of 3% in the first year, 2% in the second year, and 1% percent in the third year. The original rate starts in year four. Available with conventional and VA loans.

To illustrate how this works, let’s say you have a 2/1 buydown and an original interest rate of 6%.

In this scenario, you’ll pay 4% in the first year and 5% in the second year. If you have a 30-year fixed-rate loan for $300,000, a 2% reduction saves over $300 a month. You can use this savings to replenish your cash reserve, pay off debt or even renovate your new home.

As a warning, though, this savings is temporary. Your monthly payment will increase once the buydown expires. With that being said, a buydown only makes sense when you’re able to afford a future higher payment — so plan accordingly.

Benefits of a Temporary Buydown

Since buydowns are a seller concession, you don’t pay the costs associated with this program. This is a seller-paid incentive covered by home sellers or builders, so you’ll need to ask for the buydown when negotiating the home sale.

If the seller agrees to a temporary buydown, they’ll pay your lender the difference between your original mortgage rate and the reduced rate. Buydowns are generally the most cost-effective alternative for sellers, resulting in a bigger net profit compared to reducing their asking price.

Keep in mind that mortgage rates are very unpredictable, and they can increase and decrease from year-to-year. Therefore, average rates once your buydown expires might be lower than your original rate. And if so, you’d have to refinance to take advantage of lower rates.

Refinancing involves replacing an existing mortgage with a new one, and unfortunately this has its own set of costs. The good news, though, is that the buydown programs with FirstBank Mortgage are eligible for FirstBank’s Zero Lender Fees Refinance Loyalty Program. If mortgage rates decrease within 36 months of your purchase, you can refinance to a lower rate and pay zero lender fees.

To learn more about temporary buydowns and our Zero Lender Fees Refinance Loyalty Program, contact the loan experts at FirstBank Mortgage today.

Original loan must close prior to 6/30/2023 with FirstBank Mortgage in order to receive the zero-lender fees refinance. Loans are eligible for a Rate/Term refinance every six months. Borrower will pay zero lender fees, but third-party fees may still apply, ask your mortgage banker for details. Refinanced loan must be on the same subject property as the initial loan. The zero lender fees refinance must be claimed within 36 months of the original purchase closing date and may only be used once during this time period. Lender fees will not be paid for a purchase loan. Full documentation & property insurance required. Loan secured by a lien against your property. Fees & charges apply and may vary by product and state. Terms, conditions & restrictions apply, so call for details. All loans are subject to credit approval. Products and services offered by FirstBank. FirstBank Mortgage is a division of FirstBank. FirstBank Institution NMLS ID 472433. Member FDIC.

We’re here to help. Anytime.

Have questions? Contact us for neighborly advice.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Our monthly newsletter sends mortgage news, market updates and financial tips right to your inbox.