Rocket Mortgage: Is the One Percent Down Payment Program a Good Deal?

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the mortgage market, you might have heard about Rocket Mortgage’s new program that allows homebuyers to put down as little as one percent on their homes. It’s an enticing offer, no doubt, but is it too good to be true? In this article, we’ll dive deep into Rocket Mortgage’s one percent down payment program and analyze whether it’s a smart move for potential homebuyers. We’ll also explore the motivations behind Rocket Mortgage’s generous offer and its potential implications.

Rocket Mortgage’s One Percent Down Payment Program

Rocket Mortgage's One Percent Down Payment Program

Rocket Mortgage, one of the biggest non-bank mortgage lenders in the United States, recently launched a new program called OnePlus. This program enables low to moderate-income individuals to purchase homes with just a one percent down payment. While it may sound like an attractive opportunity, there are several aspects to consider.

The Timing of the Program

One can’t help but wonder about the timing of this program. It was introduced just two weeks before the end of the school year and the start of the busiest season in the housing market. Is this merely a coincidence, or is there a strategic motive behind it? It’s reasonable to assume that Rocket Mortgage is capitalizing on the surge in demand during this time, enticing potential homebuyers with their one percent down payment offer.

The Fine Print

Before you get too excited about the prospect of putting down just one percent on a home, it’s essential to read the fine print. Rocket Mortgage states that loans originated through their program are sold and guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government agencies that support the housing sector. While this offers some security, it also means that Rocket Mortgage is ultimately responsible for only a portion of the loan.

Rocket’s Generosity

Rocket Mortgage claims that it will pay two percent of the borrower’s loan, essentially gifting it to the homebuyer. They also promise to reduce mortgage premiums, which are typically required when a buyer puts down less than 20 percent. While this might sound like a fantastic deal, it’s crucial to consider the bigger picture. Do you know how to pay off your mortgage faster?

The Downside of Minimal Down Payments

The Downside of Minimal Down Payments

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, minimal down payments were widely criticized for contributing to the housing market’s collapse. The less money a homebuyer puts down, the more likely they are to default on their mortgage when faced with financial difficulties. During that time, individuals who had put little to no money down were more inclined to hand the keys back to the bank and walk away from their homes.

To put it simply, minimal down payments increase the risk for both the homebuyer and the lender. When people have little equity in their homes, they are more likely to abandon their investments when things go awry.

The Real Motivation Behind Rocket Mortgage’s Program

Why is Rocket Mortgage, a major mortgage company, suddenly offering such a generous program with minimal down payments? Their marketing material suggests that they are on a mission to make homes more affordable. However, it’s essential to view this with a critical eye.

Hidden Costs

While Rocket Mortgage offers a two percent grant and reduced mortgage premiums, it’s likely that they aren’t doing this out of sheer generosity. There are probably hidden costs, such as slightly higher interest rates or additional fees, designed to recoup their expenses. After all, no bank gives away money without expecting something in return.

Volume is the Goal

The key to understanding Rocket Mortgage’s motivation lies in its desire for volume. They estimate that 90 million people in the United States qualify for their program. By offering a one percent down payment option, they hope to capture a significant market share. This isn’t about charity; it’s about expanding their customer base and increasing their profits.

The Current Housing Market

The Current Housing Market

To fully grasp the implications of Rocket Mortgage’s program, we must consider the current state of the housing market. Demand for mortgages and homes has decreased, putting pressure on banks to find innovative ways to stimulate homebuying activity.

Rising Home Prices

One of the major concerns is the rapid increase in home prices. Many homes are overpriced, and buyers are paying tens of thousands of dollars above the market value. Saving two percent on the purchase price might seem attractive, but it won’t make up for overpaying on the home itself.

Proceed with Caution

Proceed with Caution

While Rocket Mortgage’s one percent down payment program may seem like a fantastic opportunity at first glance, it’s essential to proceed with caution. While there may be situations where this program makes sense, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. The housing market is complex, and various factors can impact the success of such a program.

Evaluate Your Situation

Before jumping into Rocket Mortgage’s program, carefully evaluate your financial situation, the housing market in your area, and the terms and conditions of the loan. Saving two percent on the down payment won’t matter if you end up overpaying on the home’s purchase price.

Understand the Risks

Remember the lessons from the 2008 financial crisis. Minimal down payments come with higher risks for both buyers and lenders. Ensure you fully understand the potential consequences of a one percent down payment before committing to it.

Consider Other Options

Finally, explore alternative financing options and consult with a financial advisor or mortgage specialist. There may be better ways to achieve your homeownership goals without taking on unnecessary risks.


Rocket Mortgage’s one percent down payment program is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It may work for some individuals, but it comes with risks and potential downsides. Always approach such offers with a critical eye and make informed decisions that align with your long-term financial goals and the current housing market conditions.

Remember, buying a home is a significant financial decision, and it’s essential to choose a path that makes the most sense for you and your family’s future. Don’t rush into it, and always prioritize financial stability and sustainability.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Rocket Mortgage’s one percent down payment program?

Rocket Mortgage’s one percent down payment program, known as OnePlus, is a mortgage program that allows homebuyers to put down as little as one percent of the home’s purchase price as a down payment. The program also offers a two percent grant from Rocket Mortgage and reduced mortgage premiums.

Is this program available to everyone?

While the program aims to make homeownership more accessible to low to moderate-income individuals, eligibility criteria may apply. Prospective homebuyers should consult with Rocket Mortgage to determine if they qualify for the program based on their financial situation and creditworthiness.

What are the potential benefits of this program?

The program offers the advantage of a lower initial down payment, making it easier for some individuals to enter the housing market. Additionally, the two percent grant and reduced mortgage premiums can reduce the upfront costs associated with buying a home.

What are the risks associated with a one percent down payment?

One of the primary risks of a minimal down payment is a higher likelihood of default. Homebuyers who invest less equity in their homes may be more inclined to walk away from their investment if they face financial challenges. It’s essential to understand these risks and consider your financial stability.

Should I consider alternative financing options?

It’s advisable to explore alternative financing options and consult with a financial advisor or mortgage specialist before committing to Rocket Mortgage’s program. Depending on your financial goals and the current housing market conditions, other mortgage programs or strategies may better suit your needs and long-term financial stability.

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