Get the Buyer Incentives to Act Now

February 13, 2023

Sellers, who last year, were not willing to make any concessions, are much more likely to do so this year due to the softening of the market because of inflation and higher mortgage rates affecting affordability for buyers.

Concessions can take place in different forms.  A seller could offer to pay the buyer’s closing costs or pay points for the buyer to get an FHA or VA loan.  Another option would be to pay for a 2/1 buydown that would lower the buyer’s payments in the first two years of the mortgage.

Buydowns can be temporary or permanent and are achieved by pre-paying the interest at the time of closing.  Typically, the seller will do this as an inducement to the buyer.  While individual lenders set the price for permanent buydowns, a common rule-of-thumb would be two points, or two percent of the mortgage amount, to buydown the rate 0.5% for the life of the mortgage.

A more common type of buydown is a 2/1 where the payment is calculated at 2% lower than the note rate for the first year and 1% lower for the second year.  The third and following years, the payment would be calculated at the note rate.

$400,000 Purchase Price, 80% loan-to-value @6.27% for 30 years 
Cost of buydown – $8,099
 
 1st year2nd yearRemainder
Payment Rate4.27%5.27%6.27%
P&I Payments$1,775$1,992$2,221
Monthly Savings$446$229 

In the example above, the seller would pre-pay the interest on the buyer’s mortgage for the first two years to subsidize the difference in the note rate and the payment rate.

A 2/1 buydown is a fixed interest rate mortgage where the buyer must qualify at the note rate.  It is a standard, conforming loan and applies to FHA, VA, or conventional.  The benefit is that the buyer will have lower payments for the first two years which can help them settle into the home and not exhaust their resources initially.

Closing costs and pre-paid items are commonly included in seller-paid incentives for the buyer.  Many times, they are described in the listing and/or sales agreement as “Seller to pay up to $X,000 in closing costs or pre-paid items on behalf of the buyer.”

The benefit to the buyer is that less money is needed to close the loan.  Lenders are agreeable to this type of provision if it is stated in the sales contract.

Car dealers have been providing incentives in the form of upgrades, below market interest rates, pre-paid regular service for a period, and other things to incentivize a buyer to purchase now.  It is also common practice for new home builders to do the same.

In the resale home market, while these things have been done in the past, there wasn’t a need for sellers to incur the additional expenses with such a short supply of homes.  The market certainly changed in 2022 with fewer qualified buyers in the market due to the higher interest rates.  Now, sellers are starting to offer incentives but regardless, buyers can include the incentives in a sales contract for the seller to consider.

I can help you understand what things are common in your market to help with some of the concerns facing buyers today.

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