Temporary buydowns are a type of mortgage financing option that can help borrowers save money on their monthly mortgage payments during the early years of their loan. With a temporary interest-rate reduction, the borrower pays a reduced interest rate for the first few years of their loan, which gradually increases over time until it reaches the full, original interest rate.

How do Temporary Buydowns Work?

Temporary buydowns work by reducing the borrower’s interest rate during the early years of the loan. This is achieved by the borrower paying a lump sum upfront, which is used to buy down the interest rate for a set period of time. This lump sum is typically paid at closing and is calculated based on the amount of the loan and the length of the temporary interest-rate reduction period.

During the rate subsidy period, the borrower’s monthly mortgage payments are based on the reduced interest rate, which can result in lower monthly payments compared to a traditional mortgage. As the payment adjustment period comes to an end, the interest rate gradually increases until it reaches the full, original interest rate. Once the payment adjustment period ends, the borrower’s monthly payments will increase to reflect the higher interest rate.

Benefits of Temporary Buydowns

There are several benefits to using a temporary buydown to finance a mortgage:

  1. Lower Monthly Payments: By reducing the interest rate during the early years of the loan, borrowers can save money on their monthly mortgage payments. This can be especially helpful for borrowers who are just starting out or who have limited cash flow.
  2. Qualifying for a Larger Loan: Because the temporary buydown reduces the borrower’s monthly payments, they may be able to qualify for a larger loan than they would with a traditional mortgage.
  3. Predictable Payments: With a temporary payment adjustments the borrower’s payments are predictable and known in advance, making it easier to budget and plan for future expenses.

Drawbacks of Temporary Buydowns

While temporary buydowns can be beneficial for some borrowers, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider:

  1. Higher Upfront Costs: The lump sum payment required for the temporary rate subsidy can be a significant expense for borrowers, especially if they are already stretching their finances to purchase a home.
  2. Gradually Increasing Payments: As the payment adjustment period comes to an end and the interest rate increases, the borrower’s monthly payments will gradually increase as well. This can be challenging for borrowers who are not prepared for the increased costs.
  3. Potential for Negative Equity: If the borrower’s home value decreases during the buydown period, they may end up owing more on their mortgage than the home is worth. This can make it difficult to refinance or sell the home in the future.


In conclusion, temporary buydowns offer an attractive financing option for borrowers seeking to alleviate the burden of high monthly mortgage payments in the initial stages of their loan. By reducing interest rates during the early years, borrowers can significantly decrease their monthly obligations and free up funds for other expenses or savings. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals or families who anticipate facing financial constraints or tighter budgets during this period.

However, it is crucial to exercise caution and thoroughly evaluate the implications before opting for a temporary buydown. One key consideration is the upfront costs associated with such an arrangement. Temporary buydowns typically require borrowers to make a lump sum payment upfront to secure the reduced interest rate. These upfront expenses can be substantial and must be factored into the overall affordability analysis.

Additionally, borrowers should be aware that temporary buydowns involve gradually increasing mortgage payments over time. While the initial lower payments may provide short-term relief, it is important to anticipate and plan for the future payment increases. Proper budgeting and financial management are essential to ensure that the borrower can comfortably handle the higher payments when they come into effect.

Another potential concern associated with temporary buydowns is the risk of negative equity. Negative equity occurs when the outstanding balance on the mortgage exceeds the current value of the property. If property values decline or remain stagnant during the buydown period, borrowers may find themselves owing more than their home is worth. This situation can limit refinancing or selling options and may present challenges if the borrower needs to move or sell the property before the buydown period ends.

Given the complexities and potential risks involved, it is highly recommended that individuals seeking a temporary buydown consult with a qualified lender or financial advisor. These professionals can assess the borrower’s unique financial circumstances, evaluate the long-term feasibility of the buydown option, and provide guidance on whether it aligns with their specific needs and goals. They can also help navigate the intricacies of the process, provide accurate cost projections, and ensure that all necessary considerations are taken into account.

Ultimately, while temporary buydowns can be a valuable tool for managing mortgage payments in the early years of a loan, careful consideration and expert advice are paramount. By thoroughly assessing the upfront costs, anticipating the gradually increasing payments, and evaluating the potential risks, borrowers can make informed decisions that align with their financial situation and long-term objectives.