Question:   How do you get a low-interest rate loan?

Answer:   Price discounts and interest rate buydowns are common incentives offered by new-home builders trying to overcome slow sales.

Buydowns are a financing technique used to reduce the monthly payment for the borrower during the initial years of the loan. Under some buydown plans, a residential developer, builder or the seller will make subsidy payments (in the form of points) to the lender that "buy down," or lower, the effective interest rate paid by the home buyer.

State agencies often offer lower rate loans. But to qualify, borrowers usually must be a first-time home buyer and meet income limits based on the median income level of their county.

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