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Ultimate Guide to the Rocket Mortgage Real Estate Rebate

Rocket Mortgage, a prominent digital home loan provider, offers a real estate buyer rebate, a mechanism that returns a portion of the commission to the property buyer.

This practice, while advantageous for certain individuals, might prompt inquiries about its usage, benefits, and possible alternatives.

This article seeks to deliver an extensive guide on Rocket Mortgage's real estate buyer rebate, elucidating its workings, its inherent advantages, and showcasing other options prevalent in the market.

By the conclusion, readers should possess a more defined comprehension of the rebate and how it compares to competitor programs.




What is a Real Estate Rebate?

A real estate rebate, often termed a "cash-back rebate," refers to a portion of the commission earned by a real estate agent that is returned to the client, either the buyer or seller, upon the closing of a property transaction.

Originating as a competitive strategy, real estate rebates aim to attract clients by offering them a monetary incentive.

Typically, when a property is sold, the seller pays a commission to both their agent (the listing agent) and the buyer's agent. This commission is usually a percentage of the property's sale price.

A real estate rebate occurs when the buyer's agent offers a portion of their received commission back to the buyer.

For sellers, an agent might offer to list the property for a reduced commission, effectively providing a "rebate" on the back end.

The purpose of this rebate is twofold.

Firstly, it serves as an incentive for clients to work with a particular agent or brokerage, thus providing a competitive advantage in the crowded real estate market.

Secondly, it can ease the financial burden on buyers, who can use the rebate to cover closing costs, home improvements, or even as part of their down payment in certain situations.


A small house model with stack of gold coins on wooden table


Benefits of Real Estate Rebates

Real estate rebates offer a plethora of advantages that can significantly enhance the homebuying experience.

One of the most immediate benefits is the substantial financial savings they provide.

By obtaining a percentage of the home's purchase price or the closing costs back, buyers can drastically reduce the initial monetary burdens associated with securing a property. This reduction in upfront costs, in turn, augments the affordability of homeownership.

For many, the preliminary expenses can be intimidating, and rebates act as a mechanism to make this monumental step more attainable.

Moreover, the potential savings afforded by rebates can broaden a buyer's horizons, allowing them to consider homes that might have been slightly out of their budgetary reach initially.

This financial cushion doesn't just expand choices; it can also serve as a leverage point during negotiations.

The promise of a rebate might make buyers more amenable to certain compromises, knowing they have a financial buffer awaiting them.

A notable aspect of many rebate programs is their ties to professional real estate services. Often, these rebates are available when buyers collaborate with specific, vetted agents or platforms.

This arrangement not only ensures potential financial returns but also promotes the use of seasoned professionals who can guide buyers through the intricate homebuying process.

Such professionals, aiming to stand out in a competitive market, might offer enhanced services, further elevating the buyer's experience.


Rocket Mortgage's Real Estate Buyer Rebate - BUY+

The BUY+ program is an initiative by Rocket Mortgage wherein clients can obtain up to .5% of the purchase price of their home, capped at $10,000, toward their closing costs when they engage with a Rocket Homes partner agent.

The emphasis of the program is to connect clients with agents familiar with the local area. Rocket Homes Partner Agents are chosen based on a vetting process and have been rated by previous clients.

The primary goal of the BUY+ program is to offer clients potential savings on closing costs and the advantage of working with knowledgeable local agents.


MakeFloridaYourHome Real Estate Buyer Rebate

Usually, buyers are expected to have at least 6.5% of a home's purchase price available upfront, factoring in the FHA's minimum down payment and associated closing costs. The Down Payment Assistance (DPA) program can finance 5% of this sum, leaving a 1.5% balance.

The MakeFloridaYourHome Buyer Rebate addresses this by offering a 1% rebate. This brings the buyer's immediate down payment obligation down to only 0.5% of the home's value.

For those aiming for a no down payment situation, MakeFloridaYourHome provides methods to help buyers receive a seller rebate. This can cover the last 0.5%, making the down payment effectively 0%.


Comparison of Rocket Mortgage's BUY+ and MakeFloridaYourHome Real Estate Buyer Rebate

Rocket Mortgage's BUY+ Program:

  • Rebate Percentage and Cap - Clients can receive up to 0.5% of the purchase price of their home, with a maximum cap set at $10,000.

  • Usage - This rebate is directed specifically toward closing costs.

  • Partnering Agent - The program connects clients with Rocket Homes Partner Agents, who are vetted and chosen based on ratings by previous clients. This ensures clients work with seasoned agents familiar with the local area.

  • Primary Benefit - The aim is to reduce the burden of closing costs for clients while pairing them with experienced local agents.

MakeFloridaYourHome Buyer Rebate:

  • Rebate Percentage and Objective - Offers an uncapped 1% rebate, which is primarily targeted at reducing the buyer's down payment.

  • Impact on Down Payment - Reduces the immediate down payment requirement from 1.5% to 0.5% of the home's value.

  • Additional Assistance - Provides strategies to help buyers pursue a seller rebate, potentially covering the remaining 0.5% and achieving a 0% down payment.

Both rebates serve unique purposes, with Rocket Mortgage focusing on closing costs and MakeFloridaYourHome emphasizing down payment reduction.

However, if we are considering the potential to maximize savings and reduce immediate out-of-pocket expenses for the buyer, the MakeFloridaYourHome Buyer Rebate appears to be the more attractive option.

Offering the possibility to reduce the down payment to effectively 0% provides a significant advantage for buyers, especially those struggling with upfront costs.

While the local agent expertise from Rocket Mortgage's BUY+ is valuable, the immediate financial relief offered by MakeFloridaYourHome's rebate could be a determining factor for many buyers.


Guide to Accessing a Real Estate Buyer Rebate

The process of acquiring buyer rebates in real estate can seem intricate. Here's a streamlined guide to navigate this opportunity:

  • Grasp the Basics - Initiate by acquainting yourself with the general concept of real estate buyer rebates. Being knowledgeable simplifies all subsequent interactions.

  • Initiate Contact - Engage with the rebate provider through official communication avenues, such as a website, phone, or email. This interaction is foundational for understanding eligibility and associated details.

  • Schedule a Consultation - After the preliminary outreach, book a detailed session with a designated representative. This meeting is the right moment to raise questions and understand the rebate's nuances.

  • Assess Your Eligibility with MakeFloridaYourHome - Engage in discussions to determine if you qualify for the rebate, touching upon topics like financial readiness, property preferences, and any specific criteria.

  • Delve into DPA Options - With the rebate covering 1% and the DPA 5%, familiarize yourself with available DPA schemes. Understand the finer details of each offering.

  • Choose a Property - Search for suitable properties that align with your budget and prerequisites. It's advantageous to coordinate with a knowledgeable agent, given their familiarity with the rebate process.

  • Submit an Offer - After pinpointing a property, place your offer, ensuring you follow prevalent real estate norms and guidelines.

  • Lock in the Rebate - As your offer moves towards acceptance and the closing phase nears, seek confirmation that the 1% rebate will be activated. Obtaining a written assurance is imperative.

  • Consider Seller Rebate Options (Optional) - If you aim to minimize the down payment, explore avenues for a seller rebate. Expert guidance can be pivotal in understanding how to negotiate such an arrangement.

  • Complete the Purchase - Dive into the final purchase stages, which encompass inspections, finalizing mortgage specifics, and concluding the acquisition. During the closing, vigilance is required to ensure all rebates are integrated correctly.

The Best Down Payment Assistance Programs in 2023

This section provides a comprehensive overview of the most notable programs available this year, detailing their benefits and eligibility criteria.


The Chenoa Fund

The Chenoa Fund Program is a nationwide endeavor aimed at promoting homeownership among individuals who find down payments challenging. Managed by the Chenoa Fund, this initiative offers secondary financing avenues to potential homeowners.

It stands out due to its diverse product offerings crafted for different borrower needs, encompassing both forgivable and repayable down payment assistance, along with certain zero-interest possibilities. The scheme is crafted to dovetail with FHA loans.

Eligibility for the program mandates adherence to specific conditions.

Typically, a credit score of a minimum of 620 is expected, coupled with a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio that doesn't surpass 50%.

Another foundational element involves mandatory attendance at homeownership counseling sessions. These educational interactions are designed to enlighten participants about homeownership's various facets.

Furthermore, there's an income cap; an applicant's earnings shouldn't exceed 115% of their locality's median income. The acquired property should also be designated as the buyer's main dwelling.

While the Chenoa Fund Program's main target group is first-time home purchasers, certain products are accessible to those with prior homeownership experience.

Given the program's multifaceted product range, it's prudent for prospective beneficiaries to rigorously review the specific conditions and provisions tied to each alternative.


Florida Hometown Heroes

The Florida Hometown Heroes Program is a state-backed initiative designed to support Florida's working population in achieving homeownership.

Contrary to what the name might suggest, its scope is not limited to frontline workers but covers all employed residents of the state.

The primary feature of this program is providing financial aid for down payments, and acknowledging its popularity, the state has increased the financial assistance cap to $35,000 for 2023-2024.

A unique aspect of this initiative is its focus on fortifying community bonds. It promotes the idea of participants purchasing homes near their places of employment, fostering a sense of community and reducing commute times.

To be eligible, there are several conditions applicants must meet.

They must be first-time homebuyers, defined as individuals who have not owned a home in the past three years. Additionally, they need a credit score of 640 or above.

From a financial perspective, an applicant's income should not surpass 150% of their county's median income, as set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

A crucial stipulation is that applicants be employed by an organization based in Florida and intend to buy a home in the same community as their workplace.

It's crucial to understand that meeting all criteria doesn't guarantee inclusion, given the high demand for the program's offerings.


FHA Loans

The FHA loan program, initiated by the Federal Housing Administration in 1934, facilitates home financing through a different avenue compared to conventional loans.

Noteworthy for its reduced down payment requirements, it appeals to a broad demographic, including first-time homebuyers and those without significant savings for a down payment.

The government guarantees this category of loan, reducing the risk for lenders and thereby allowing for more lenient qualification criteria for borrowers.

Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the qualifications involved with FHA loans:

  • Down Payment - The program accommodates individuals with a credit score of 580 or higher by requiring only a 3.5% down payment on the property value. Conversely, individuals with credit scores between 500 and 579 are expected to make a down payment of 10%.

  • Credit Scores - FHA loans have a flexible approach to credit scores. Although a score of 580 or higher is ideal, as it enables a reduced down payment, those with scores between 500 and 579 are not precluded, though they are subject to a higher down payment.

  • Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI) - The general guideline is that a borrower's monthly debt obligations should not surpass 43% of their monthly income. Nonetheless, this standard is not rigid, and deviations may be permitted in certain cases.

  • Residency - It is mandatory for the property acquired through this loan to be the borrower's primary residence, thereby ruling out investment or secondary homes.

  • Mortgage Insurance - Borrowers are required to pay two types of insurance premiums - an initial fee, usually about 1.75% of the loan value, and a yearly fee, which typically ranges from 0.45% to 1.05%.

Rocket Mortgage ONE+

The ONE+ program from Rocket Mortgage is designed to alleviate the burden of down payments for potential homeowners. This initiative requires participants to put forward only 1% of the home's purchase price as a down payment.

Rocket Mortgage supplements this with a 2% grant, enabling the buyer to instantly hold a 3% equity in the home.

Unlike many programs which are tailored for first-time homeowners, the ONE+ program is open to both first-time and seasoned buyers and is available across the nation.

One of its standout features is the absence of mortgage insurance premiums, a staple in many traditional loans until the owner has 20% equity in the property.

To qualify for the ONE+ program, certain criteria must be met.

An individual's income should not be more than 80% of the median income of the area where they aim to buy a property. For context, if an area has a median income of $90,800, the maximum income limit for an applicant would be $72,640.

Additionally, participants must have a minimum FICO® Score of 620. The properties under this program are confined to single-unit homes that will serve as the buyer's main residence.

Also, the combined amount, encompassing the buyer's initial down payment and Rocket Mortgage's grant, should not surpass 5% of the home's overall value.

It is vital to differentiate between total income and qualifying income, as this distinction can be critical during the application process.


VA Loans

The VA loan program, established in 1944 by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is a government-backed loan initiative designed for U.S. veterans, active-duty military personnel, and specific qualifying military spouses.

The primary objective of this program is to provide financial support for homeownership. Several features differentiate VA loans from traditional mortgage products:

  • Down Payment - VA loans do not require borrowers to make any down payment, allowing for 100% financing of the home purchase.

  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) - Unlike many conventional mortgages, VA loans don't require borrowers to pay PMI, reducing monthly expenses.

  • Certificate of Eligibility (COE) - This is a mandatory document for all VA loan applicants. The COE confirms the applicant's eligibility based on service duration and type, as determined by the VA.

  • Credit Score - The VA itself doesn't set a minimum credit score. However, many lenders typically seek a score of 620 or higher. Some lenders may consider lower scores based on individual financial situations.

  • Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI) - While the VA doesn't enforce a fixed DTI ratio, a 41% ratio is often referenced. This is not rigid, and considerations may be made based on other financial strengths of the borrower.

In summary, VA loans are designed to offer financial advantages to those who've served in the U.S. military, aiding them in the home-buying process. Prospective borrowers should be aware of the specific requirements and benefits associated with this loan type.


Lowest Credit Score for Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage®, a prominent online mortgage lender, abides by the guidelines set for FHA loans regarding credit score requirements.

For an FHA loan with a minimum down payment of 3.5%, a borrower must have a credit score of 580 or higher. However, if a borrower possesses a credit score ranging between 500 and 579, they are still eligible for an FHA loan, but the stipulation is that they need to make a higher down payment of 10%.

Consequently, when potential homeowners approach Rocket Mortgage® for an FHA loan, the company mandates a minimum credit score of 580.

It's important for borrowers to recognize this threshold and be aware that while a score of 580 or higher permits a down payment of just 3.5%, a score between 500 and 579 would necessitate a larger initial investment in the form of a 10% down payment.


Is Rocket Mortgage 1% Down Legit?

Under this kind of program, the borrower contributes 1% as a down payment, and often the lender or another entity contributes an additional amount, which can increase the buyer's equity in the home.

However, it's essential to approach such offers with an informed perspective. There are several factors to consider:

  • Eligibility Criteria - Such programs usually come with specific qualifications related to credit score, income levels, and property types.

  • Loan Terms - The terms of the loan, including interest rates and loan duration, can differ from conventional loan structures.

  • Mortgage Insurance - Even if the down payment is minimal, borrowers might still be required to pay for mortgage insurance until a certain equity threshold is reached.

  • Equity Position - The combined down payment and any lender contributions will determine the borrower's initial equity position in the property.

To ascertain the legitimacy and details of any such program offered by Rocket Mortgage or any other lender, prospective borrowers should directly consult with the lender, review the loan's official documentation, and perhaps seek independent financial advice from experts at MakeFloridaYourHome.

It's always crucial to understand fully the commitments and implications of any mortgage agreement.


Bottom Line

Rocket Mortgage's real estate buyer rebate, along with other rebate programs in the market, provide potential homeowners with financial leeway, making the homebuying process more accessible and affordable.

While Rocket Mortgage's BUY+ focuses on easing closing costs and pairing buyers with seasoned local agents, the MakeFloridaYourHome rebate emphasizes drastically reducing or even eliminating the down payment.

The choice between these two, or any other program, should be dictated by individual circumstances, priorities, and financial capabilities.

Homebuyers should equip themselves with adequate knowledge about these rebates and programs, assessing their eligibility criteria, benefits, and potential implications.

By doing so, they ensure a smoother, more informed transition into homeownership.

With over 50 years of mortgage industry experience, we are here to help you achieve the American dream of owning a home. We strive to provide the best education before, during, and after you buy a home. Our advice is based on experience with Phil Ganz and Team closing over One billion dollars and helping countless families.

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