PPP 101: What You Need to Know About Pre-Payment Penalty Buyout Options

Are you a foreign real estate investor considering options to finance or refinance a property in the US? If so, it’s important to know about pre-payment penalty (PPP) buyout options.

Although lump sum payments may come with a fee, PPP gives investors the flexibility to pay off their mortgage loan amount quickly and at minimal cost if needed. Whether you are currently aware of this option or have only heard about it in passing, understanding the role that these transactions play in today’s market is essential for savvy foreign buyers seeking to make sound investments.

In this article, we will guide you through all that you need to know about pre-payment penalty buyout options: from what they entail and how how they work right through to examples of typical agreements such as 5-4-3-2-1, 3-2-1 and no PPP contracts, and some tips for helping decide if a PPP buyout is right for you. Let’s start with exploring exactly what a pre-payment penalty buyout entails.

What Is a Pre-Payment Penalty Buyout?

A loan buyout, also known as a debt buyback, is when an individual borrower pays off their current loan to terminate the loan agreement. This allows the borrower to take out a new loan and often receive a more favorable annual percentage rate than what they were previously paying. In some cases, mortgage lenders may charge prepayment penalties (PPPs) to recoup losses from the early termination of the loan agreement.

Lenders generally use penalties for pre-payment to protect themselves against losses caused by borrowers who pay off their loans early. For example, if a borrower takes out a 30-year loan for $100,000 and pays it off early, the lender will have lost the interest on that loan through the end of the term. As such, they might use a PPP to recoup some of that lost revenue.

Types of Pre-Payment Penalties: 5-4-3-2-1 and 3-2-1 vs No PPP

Now let’s explore two common types of pre-payment penalties and how they compare to having no PPPs. Specifically, we’ll look at the 5-4-3-2-1 and 3-2-1 models for PPPs and the advantages and disadvantages of each type compared to not having any PPPs. By understanding the different structures of these penalties, borrowers can better determine which payment model is most suitable for their financial situation.

5-4-3-2-1 PPP

The 5-4-3-2-1 structure is an increasingly popular form of pre-payment penalty in which a borrower pays a larger fee if they choose to prepay their loan within one year, a slightly smaller fee if they choose to prepay within two years, and so on. The idea behind this structure is that the borrower will be discouraged from making an early repayment due to the increasing penalties involved.

3-2-1 PPP

The 3-2-1 model is a less commonly used structure in which the borrower pays a fee if they choose to repay their loan in three years or less, two years or less, and one year or less. This type of PPP generally provides more flexibility for borrowers since the fees associated with each tier are not as costly as in the 5-4-3-2-1 model.


Finally, it’s important to note that some lenders offer loans without any fees for paying the loan balance off early. While this type of loan does not provide the same level of protection for lenders, it may be a better option for borrowers looking to make an early repayment or refinance without worrying about facing a hefty penalty.

Example of a Pre-Payment Penalty

Assume a borrower had a loan balance of $100,000 and opted for the 5-4-3-2-1 PPP loan option. If they decided to refinance in the second year, they would be responsible for paying four percent of that loan balance; in this case, $4,000 would be owed as a penalty. But why would a borrower choose to incur a pre-payment penalty?

The decision could make financial sense, such as obtaining a lower interest rate or more favorable loan terms. For instance, if borrowers think their properties will have a better DSCR in a year (after he rented it out for a full year), then they could refinance their original loan in the second year at a lower rate and thus reduce the amount of interest paid each month. Depending on the new monthly payment amount, they could recoup the penalty fee within a few years, after which the borrower would start seeing that additional money back in their pocket each month.

Does Your Loan Have a PPP Clause?

When a borrower takes out a loan, the loan disclosure documents will typically include a Pre-Payment Penalty (PPP) clause, which states that if the loan is paid off early or refinanced, the borrower may be subject to additional fees.

Prepayment penalties are not always allowed by federal law, depending on the type of loan. FHA, VA, and USDA loans are prohibited from levying such fees. Other circumstances where they may be present include: Conventional loans, SBA loans, investment property loans, non-recourse loans, loans provided by alternative sources, lines of credit, and subprime mortgages. Homeowners should bear this in mind when negotiating loan agreements.

It’s important for borrowers to review their loan documents carefully to determine if there is a PPP clause outlining any potential penalties for prepayment of the loan. If such provisions are included in the loan documents, they should be read thoroughly and understood before signing on the dotted line. Borrowers who have already taken out a loan can also contact their lender directly to request information about any PPP clauses associated with their loan.

Should You Purchase a PPP Buyout Option?

There are some important considerations when deciding whether to purchase a PPP buyout option. The first is the buyout cost, which may vary significantly and should be weighed against the potential savings that could be achieved.

Generally, purchasing a prepayment penalty buyout will cost anywhere between 1-5% of the amount owed on the loan. Although it can be expensive initially, it may be worth paying to reduce or avoid future interest payments. Additionally, borrowers should also consider how many years they plan to keep the property. The longer they hold on to the real estate, the less likely penalties could come into play if they decide to pay off their loan.

Before making a decision, it is important to consider a few factors. First and foremost, look at the interest rate of your loan. If the interest rate is low, it may be wiser to keep paying on the loan to save money in the long run. Secondly, think about how much cash flow you have available each month; if you would struggle with regular repayments, then paying off the loan in full could be beneficial. Finally, research any penalties that come with making an early repayment of your loan.

To reduce or avoid pre-payment fees, borrowers can attempt to negotiate a lower fee with their lender. They should also consider asking the lender if they are willing to waive the fee altogether. However, borrowers should note that lenders may not be willing to do this, so it’s important to take into account all factors before deciding whether or not purchasing a PPP buyout option is worth it.


In summary, pre-payment penalty buyout options give foreign real estate investors the flexibility to exit their loans quickly and at minimal cost if needed. Although a fee may be associated with lump sum payments, this option is often more advantageous than being locked into a loan with no way out. Understanding how these transactions work and their role in today’s market is essential for any investor looking to make sound decisions when purchasing property in the US.

*The information contained in this post has been provided by Lend A.I. Ltd. (and/or its affiliates) for information purposes only, and as such, this post shall not be interpreted as legal, tax, professional, or commercial advice. While every care has been taken to ensure that the content is useful and accurate, Lend A.I. (and/or its affiliates) gives no guarantees, undertaking or warranties in this regard, and does not accept any legal liability or responsibility for the content or the accuracy of the information so provided, or, for any loss or damage caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with reliance on the use of such information.

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