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  • Writer's pictureZachary Epps

A real estate 3-2-1 buydown contract is a financing arrangement designed to help homebuyers


3-2-1 buydown


Remember this financing arrangement is designed to help homebuyers afford more manageable mortgage payments during the initial years of homeownership. This type of contract provides buyers with a temporary reduction in their mortgage interest rate and subsequently, their monthly mortgage payments. The "3-2-1" in the name refers to the structure of the interest rate reduction over the first three years of the loan term. Here's how a 3-2-1 buydown contract works:

  1. First Year (Year 1): In the first year of the contract, the interest rate is reduced by 3% from the standard prevailing market rate. For example, if the prevailing market rate is 6.5%, the buydown rate for the first year would be 3.5%.

  2. Second Year (Year 2): In the second year, the interest rate is reduced by 2% from the standard rate. Using the same example, the interest rate for the second year would be 4.5%.

  3. Third Year (Year 3): In the third year, the interest rate is reduced by 1% from the standard rate, making it 5.5% based on the previous example.

After the initial three-year period, the interest rate and monthly payments are typically adjusted to the standard market rate for the remaining term of the loan. This gradual increase in the interest rate and payments allows buyers to ease into their mortgage commitment, especially in situations where their financial capacity might be constrained initially.

A 3-2-1 buydown contract provides several benefits for homebuyers:

  1. Affordability: The reduced interest rates and monthly payments in the early years can make homeownership more accessible for buyers who might be stretching their budgets to afford a new home.

  2. Predictable Payments: Buyers can anticipate their payment increases over the years, helping them plan their finances accordingly.

  3. Transition Period: For those expecting changes in their financial situation, such as an increase in income, the gradual payment adjustment can ease the transition to higher mortgage payments.

  4. Investment Opportunities: Buyers might use the savings from lower payments during the initial years to invest in home improvements, pay down other debts, or build a financial safety net.

It's important to note that a 3-2-1 buydown is usually offered as part of a marketing strategy by home builders, sellers, or lenders to attract buyers. It can also be a strategy you can implement with your Buyer Agent to access the right terms to meet your budget if the seller agrees to the terms.


These contracts are temporary and aim to provide buyers with a financial cushion during the initial years of homeownership. Before entering into a buydown contract, potential buyers should carefully review the terms and conditions to ensure they understand the payment structure, the standard market rate that payments will eventually adjust to, and any potential costs associated with the arrangement.

As with any financial decision, prospective buyers should consult with financial advisors, real estate professionals, and mortgage lenders to determine if a 3-2-1 buydown contract aligns with their long-term financial goals and circumstances.

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Zachary Epps

GRI®, ABR®, MCNE®, CLHMS®, SRES®, REALTOR®,

RE/MAX Hall of Fame, RE/MAX Platinum Club


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