In today’s rapidly shifting and unique real estate landscape, potential homebuyers may feel overwhelmed by the complexity of mortgage choices. For instance, adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) present an alluring proposition with seemingly attractive rates. However, they may hold hidden drawbacks that may emerge over time. By contrast, the less-known strategy of ‘Buydowns’ offers an innovative pathway toward homeownership that could provide more tangible benefits, both immediate and long-term.
Martini Mortgage Podcast | Episode 183 | “Arm vs. Buydown”
What is a Buydown?
A ‘Buydown’ is a mortgage-financing technique where the property seller pays an upfront fee to reduce the interest rates for the initial years of the mortgage. This strategy aims to decrease the borrower’s monthly payments, increasing the home’s affordability.
Comparatively, ARMs may appear glamorous with their initial low-interest rates, but the reality is that these rates are variable and may rise significantly over time. The consequence is a potential increase in the mortgage payment that could strain the homeowner’s finances. Moreover, ARMs often necessitate refinancing, not out of choice, but out of necessity – an eventuality that could come with its own challenges.
On the other hand, a Buydown provides the flexibility to refinance when the timing aligns with the homeowner’s financial strategy. This flexibility can yield significant savings, one of the many unanticipated benefits a Buydown could offer.
Unmasking the ‘2-1 Buydown’ With Raleigh Mortgage Broker Kevin Martini
Diving deeper into the ‘2-1 Buydown concept.’ This approach entails the seller paying a fee at closing that substantially reduces the buyer’s mortgage interest rate. Specifically, the rate decreases by 2% in the first year and 1% in the second year of the loan term.
This innovative approach results in considerably lower monthly payments during the early years of homeownership, thereby improving home affordability. It helps potential homeowner attain their dream home earlier and build equity sooner. This strategy contrasts the scenario where individuals prolong their tenant residency while saving for a higher down payment or waiting for more favorable market conditions.
The Strategic Importance of a Buydown in the Current Market
In the current market, characterized by periodic price reductions and rising mortgage rates, the ‘2-1 Buydown’ could be a potent negotiation tool. Interestingly, more sellers are inclined to consider a Buydown rather than reducing the property’s asking price.
This stems from the fact that a well-structured ‘2-1 Buydown’ can have a greater impact on reducing a buyer’s monthly payments than a simple price cut. Such a significant reduction in monthly expenditure can greatly enhance the feasibility of homeownership for many buyers.
Preparing for Interest Rate Fluctuations with a Buydown
The journey of homeownership using a ‘2-1 Buydown’ continues after the first two years. As the third year begins, the interest rate reverts to its standard ‘note rate.’ This is where the strategic foresight behind a Buydown becomes evident. If market interest rates remain stable or increase, homeowners typically continue with the loan and regular payments.
However, suppose a forecasted recession leads to a decrease in mortgage rates. In that case, the Buydown strategy allows homeowners to refinance at these lower rates. It’s important to remember that interest rates are cyclical, rising in booming economic conditions and falling during a recession. Having a Buydown in place gives homeowners the adaptability to maneuver these economic cycles. In addition, any unused portion of the “2-1 Buydown’ is returned to the borrower.
Tax Benefits of a Buydown
A discussion about Buydowns would only be complete by touching on their potential tax benefits. The buyer can claim seller-paid Buydowns as tax-deductible if they itemize their tax deductions, even though the seller covers the cost. Similarly, sellers can deduct the Buydown payment made on behalf of the buyer against their capital gain upon selling the property, considered a “cost of sale.” For more details on these tax benefits, buyers and sellers can refer to IRS Publication 936. It’s always advisable to consult with a tax professional to understand fully how these benefits might apply to individual circumstances.
The Martini Mortgage Group Bottom Line
Choosing between an ARM and a Buydown is not a decision to be taken lightly. While sometimes an ARM might be the best choice, most often, a Buydown proves to be a more potent strategy in securing homeownership.