We got a 2.6% mortgage rate this year to buy our first home. Here’s how we did it.

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MARCH 7, 2024

Grace Lucchese and Mickey Ricard scored a low mortgage interest rate for the house outside Boston they bought in January. Courtesy of Grace Lucchese

  • Grace Lucchese and Mickey Ricard bought a home with a 2.6% interest rate via an assumable mortgage.
  • The lower mortgage rate is saving the couple more than $2,000 each month.
  • The couple said the process for assuming a mortgage was long and tedious but worth it.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Grace Lucchese, 23, who’s a behavioral analyst, and her partner, Mickey Ricard, 24, who’s a veteran and an HVAC technician. They purchased a home with an assumable mortgage in Westford, Massachusetts, in January. An assumable mortgage allows qualifying buyers to acquire the interest rate, current principal balance, and other conditions of a seller’s existing loan. Not all loans can be assumed. The essay has been edited for length and clarity.

Grace: We live in Massachusetts. The housing market is pretty crazy here.

Mickey got out of the military back in 2020, and I graduated from college in 2022, right in the middle of COVID. At first, we lived in Lawrence, then moved to Framingham, and finally to my hometown in Sudbury, where we lived in an apartment.

We were paying ridiculous prices for rent, and our money was going nowhere. We also have a dog with special needs, so we wanted to find a home with a backyard.

Ricard, Lucchese, and their dog, Moon, inside their new home. Courtesy of Grace Lucchese

During our homebuying search, we looked all around Boston. We could not find a home that was move-in ready and under $650,000. We put offers on probably seven different homes and got into bidding wars on two of them.

The last home we saw before making a purchase was a complete fixer-upper. It was going to require almost a full gut on the inside, and it was expensive. It would have been a stretch for us to renovate and make monthly payments, but we were willing to do it. Unfortunately, we lost it in a bidding war.

We kind of gave up for a while. Then my mom texted us one day and said, “I know you’re discouraged, but you should just go and look at this house.”

It was really beautiful and priced a lot more than what we were looking at, but it ended up being the greatest opportunity we had.

We are saving thousands of dollars each month

Mickey: The home is located in Westford, Massachusetts. It’s a two-story Colonial built in 1885, with 1,600 square feet, three bedrooms, and one bathroom.

Grace: Mickey’s dad grew up in this town, and we really fell in love with how historical-looking it was. We also liked that it was a tighter-knit community.

Mickey: It’s safe around here and a really good town.

The couple’s Massachusetts home. Courtesy of Grace Lucchese

Mickey: Our home was originally listed for $429,000. When we were negotiating with the seller and trying to talk him down on the price, they brought up the assumable loan — I had no clue what that type of mortgage was.

Grace: An assumable mortgage is not a new loan; you’re just taking over the owner’s loan term and interest rate. At first, it sounded too good to be true. When we were first looking for homes, the interest rate was around the higher sevens.

Grace: We talked about the assumable mortgage for about a day and decided we were going to go for it. We put an offer on the house on September 27 and finally closed on January 16. We made a down payment of $13,000 and purchased our home for $422,500.

We have a 2.6% interest rate. If we took out a regular veteran (VA) home loan, our payment was going to be around $4,200 each month. But with the assumable loan, our monthly payment went down to $1,700. With homeowners’ insurance included, it’s about $2,100 per month.

The home has a 30-year mortgage with 26 years left. Its previous owner originally had a $419,000 mortgage, but when we got it had already dropped to between $403,000 and $405,000.

We had to advocate for ourselves during the loan process

Grace: It took us almost six months to close on our house, which is a really long time when buying a home.

Mickey: We thought the process of assuming a loan would be easier because you’re not getting a new loan, but it was a lot more difficult.

The problem is that a lot of people, even mortgage companies, don’t know what assumable loans are or how to process them. I was told probably at least 10 times by the mortgage company that they weren’t going to be able to do the mortgage.

Grace: We also really struggled with people not calling us back and getting the ball rolling.

Luckily, we had a lot of people on our team whom we trusted completely, like my best friend’s dad, who was our real-estate agent. He put us in contact with an assumable-loan expert, Mark McDonough, and he quickly became one of the most important people on our side.

Mickey: You need someone who knows all the laws, especially regarding mortgages. That’s why it was great to have him. Every time I said, “The mortgage company told me I can’t get the loan,” he would remind them of my legal rights, and they’d get the job done.

Grace: We would not have been able to really understand the process and close our loan without Mark and our attorney, Paul.

We’re the youngest homeowners in our family

Mickey: I always wanted to reach this point in my life and become a homeowner. I just wasn’t sure it would happen. And now that it has, it still doesn’t feel real.

Grace: We say it all the time, but we can’t even believe this is our home. We wanted to invest in something within ourselves and each other, and we worked really hard to get here. It’s such a huge accomplishment for us. We’re young, in our early 20s, and the youngest homebuyers in both of our families.

The couple’s living room. Courtesy of Grace Lucchese

Grace: We’ve put a couple of thousand dollars into the house already. We got a new roof, completely redid the kitchen, and refinished the living room, bathroom, and bedroom floors.

But our biggest priority in our life right now is our dog. She has epilepsy and is two years old. So we’re frequent fliers at the ER vet, and it’s thousands of dollars each time.

When we were originally looking for a home, a tough conversation we had was about being able to afford emergency vet visits for her. We realized that with the prices of the homes we were considering, it might not be feasible to spend $1,000 on her care. This was crucial for us because she could lose her life.

Grace Lucchese, Mickey Ricard, and their dog. Courtesy of Grace Lucchese

Now that our assumable mortgage is saving us about $2,000 each month, it makes the stress a little less because we have the option of having more money available.

Grace: Assumable mortgages are still not very common in Massachusetts. I think it’s because of all the loopholes and hurdles you have to jump through to find and process them. I think it’s worth it, though. We recommend them to everyone.

I keep saying that we have to die in this home because it was the deal of a century. We literally won the lottery.


Courtesy: Business Insider