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Interest Rate Buy Downs

The most common buy down is the 2-1 buy down. In the past, for a buyer to secure a 2-1 buy down they would pay 3 points above current market points in order to pay a below market interest rate during the first two years of the loan. At the end of the two years they would then pay the old market rate for the remaining term.

As an example, if the current market rate for a conforming fixed rate loan is 8.5% at a cost of 1.5 points, the buy down gives the borrower a first year rate of 6.50%, a second year rate of 7.50% and a third through 30th year rate of 8.50% and the cost would be 4.5 points. Buy downs were usually paid for by a transferring company because of the high points associated with them.

In today's market, mortgage companies have designed variations of the old buy downs rather than charge higher points to the buyer in the beginning they increase the note rate to cover their yields in the later years.

About Interest Rates

Research Rates
Begin by checking out current interest rates and rate movements when shopping for a mortgage. Mortgage rates generally rise and fall along with Wall Street securities and generally reflect the overall direction of interest rates. By keeping an eye on mortgage market trends and key economic indicators, a borrower has a better chance of obtaining interest rate savings.

What is APR?
A tool used to compare loans across different lenders is the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). The Federal Truth in Lending law requires mortgage companies to disclose the APR when they advertise a rate. It is designed to represent the true cost of the loan to the borrower, expressed in the form of a yearly rate. The purpose is to prevent lenders from hiding fees and upfront costs behind low advertised interest rates.

Meeting with a Lender
You may prefer to meet with the mortgage company before house hunting to determine in advance how much you can afford and the mortgage amount for which you can qualify. This step is called pre-qualification and can save you time and trouble by making certain you are looking in the correct price range.

Lock in Your Rate
A lock in, also called a rate lock or rate commitment, is a lender's promise to hold a certain interest rate and a certain number of points for you, usually for a specified period of time, while your loan application is processed. Depending upon the lender, you may be able to lock in the interest rate and number of points that you will be charged when you file your application, during processing of the loan, when the loan is approved, or later.

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