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The reasons to pay discount points to buy down a mortgage rate are to save on the total interest paid and to have lower payments. For mortgage rates in the 4 to 6 percent range, each quarter-point in rate savings equals about $15 to $16 per month in lower payments on a 30-year, $100,000 mortgage.
But suppose that your lender offers you an alternative: In exchange for paying one point upfront, the lender will reduce the interest rate to 3.875 percent. 5 ways to shave .25 percent from your mortgage rate. You now have a $180,000 mortgage at 3.875 percent. The monthly cost for principal and interest is $846.43.
Mortgage points, also known as discount points, are fees paid directly to the lender at closing in exchange for a reduced interest rate. This is also called "buying down the rate," which can lower your monthly mortgage payments. One point costs 1 percent of your mortgage amount (or $1,000 for every $100,000).
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Discount points are used to buy down the interest rate you’re charged on the loan. In other words, there’s a trade-off between your interest rate and the discount points you pay. For any given loan, you can usually lower the interest rate by agreeing to pay more discount points, or you can lower your discount points by accepting a higher.
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Keep in mind that while purchasing points will lower your interest rate, it won’t lower the loan amount. That $100,000 loan will still be $100,000 whether or not you buy one, two, three or zero points. In addition to lowering the interest rate, buying points can help come tax time, according to Kramsky.
When we obtained a final loan approval, our interest rate was low. Now that the interest rates have gone up and we are 40 days prior to escrow closing, we were told that we need to lock in a rate. The rate now is 5.375%, we are buying down the interest rate for $3,292.00 to bring the interest rate down to 4.375%.
Use a points calculator to determine how much you’ll benefit from paying points. Then, compare those savings to a smaller loan (using an amortization table). For example, on a $300,000 loan, evaluate the savings that come from a lower interest rate if you pay two points (or $6,000).