Mortgage points, also known as discount points, are payments that a homeowner pays directly to the lender in return for receiving a lower interest rate on their mortgage. This is sometimes referred to as “buying the rate down.”
In essence, you pay a little amount of interest upfront in return for a reduced interest rate throughout the course of the loan’s life. Each point you purchase is equal to one percent of your entire loan balance.
The purchase of mortgage points to decrease your monthly mortgage payments may be a wise decision if you choose a fixed-rate mortgage and intend to remain in the property after the break-even time has passed. The break-even period is the amount of time it takes to repay the cost of purchasing the points you purchased.
Are mortgage points a good investment?
When deciding whether or not points are the best option for you, it is helpful to do the numbers. Examine your financial situation to see if you have the funds on hand to purchase points upfront in addition to your down payment, closing expenses, and reserves.
Also, take into consideration how long you want to remain in the house. Your lender can assist you in determining whether or not paying points is the best option for you. The following is an example of how to determine your break-even point:
Payments made after your break-even point are when you will see the most significant savings. Consider the following scenario: if it takes 68 months to reach your break-even point, you would have a little more than 24 years remaining on your 30-year mortgage.
There are a few more things you should know regarding mortgage points
The conditions of purchasing points might differ significantly from one lender to the next. Here are some crucial considerations to bear in mind:
When it comes to your rate decrease, the lender and the market will set it, and it may vary after the fixed-rate period for your mortgage expires. In order to avoid this, it’s critical to ensure that your break-even point happens far before the fixed-rate period ends.
Customers of Bank of America, on the other hand, will have a lower rate if interest rates rise during the adjustable term since your rate will be dependent on the points you originally acquired. Consult with a tax specialist to see if purchasing mortgage points will have an impact on your tax status.
You should calculate the figures if you have to choose between putting down a 20 percent down payment and purchasing points. If you make a smaller down payment, you may be required to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which might negate the advantage of purchasing points to get a lower interest rate.
The purchase of mortgage points allows you to lock in a reduced interest rate throughout the home-buying process, resulting in lower monthly payments over the life of your loan. You may use this helpful guide to learn how mortgage points are computed and to determine if purchasing mortgage points makes sense in your particular scenario.
Mortgage points provide a number of advantages
When people purchase points, they do it in order to cut their interest rate and reduce the total cost of their loan.
Points may boost your closing costs by thousands of dollars, but if you plan to remain in your house for a long enough period of time to realize savings from the lower interest rate, the high up-front cost may be worth it. Paying for points, on the other hand, may not be worthwhile if you intend to sell your house or refinance before you reach the break-even point.
A cheaper monthly payment may also be obtained via the use of points. In the event that your monthly mortgage payment is putting an undue burden on your finances, mortgage points may be a viable option for you. Having a lower interest rate means having cheaper monthly installment payments.
If you elect to acquire mortgage points, you may even be able to save money on your taxes. In addition, since mortgage interest is tax-deductible and points are considered prepaid mortgage interest.
It is possible that you may be able to claim a deduction for the cost of the points. Check out the IRS guidelines on mortgage point advantages and consult with a knowledgeable tax professional if you have any questions about the deductions you may be entitled to.
Understanding points will help you better comprehend the link between closing costs and your interest rate, whether you’re planning to buy or refinance a home.
When Should You Purchase Mortgage Points?
If you find yourself in any of the following scenarios, purchasing mortgage points may be a wise investment:
You intend to remain in your current residence for an extended period of time. If you want to remain in your house for a long period of time, it makes financial sense to invest in points and a reduced mortgage rate.
If you’re certain that you’ll have the same mortgage for the foreseeable future, mortgage points may help you save money on your loan’s total cost. The longer you stay with the same loan, the more money you’ll save in discount points throughout the course of your repayment.
You’ve calculated when the breakeven point will occur. Calculate when the upfront cost of the points will be more than offset by the reduced monthly mortgage payments by doing some arithmetic. You might think about purchasing points if the time is perfect and you are certain that you will not relocate or refinance before reaching the breakeven point.
When Should You Avoid Purchasing Mortgage Points?
Mortgage points are not always a good investment for homeowners. Here are some reasons why you should not purchase them:
You don’t intend to remain in your current residence for an extended period of time. If you’re a traveling spirit who likes to move from one area to another every few years, you won’t get much use out of a discount coupon. Points are a long-term technique for paying less interest over the course of a loan’s life.
It will take many years until the money you save on interest outweighs the money you pay to purchase the points you have purchased. For those who anticipate moving in the near future, earning points is not a worthwhile investment in their time and money.
Bottom Line: Mortgage Points Can Save You Money on Your Mortgage
Despite the fact that mortgage points and prepaid interest may be appropriate for certain borrowers, they are not always the most cost-effective option. You must crunch the figures in order to evaluate whether or not you can save money by using discount points.
Before you close, take the time to sit down and evaluate your budget, down payment, loan conditions, and long-term goals. Find out what your breakeven point is and how likely it is that you will remain in the property in order to determine whether discount points will save you money in the long run when refinancing or purchasing a house.
You intend to make additional payments on your mortgage. Mortgage points will only be beneficial to you if you make on-time payments on your home loan for a lengthy period of time. If you have the financial capacity to pay off your loan fast, you may not save much money in the long run.
You don’t have the funds to purchase points at this time. It is not worthwhile to deplete your savings account in order to save money on interest in the future. As an alternative, you might save money on interest in the long term by paying additional money toward your principal when you have extra cash on hand.
Your down payment would suffer as a result of this. It is always preferable to put more money toward your down payment rather than toward points. Bigger down payment may result in a lower interest rate, less expensive home mortgage insurance, or lower monthly payments, among other benefits. Mortgage discount points do not provide all of the advantages listed above.
Meet Krishnaprasath Krishnamoorthy, a finance content writer with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the insurance, mortgage, taxation, law, and real estate industries.