Mortgage Points: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments that most people will make in their lifetime. For many, getting a mortgage to finance the purchase is a necessity. When shopping around for a mortgage, you may come across the term “mortgage points.” Mortgage points can be confusing, but understanding what they are and how they work can help you make an informed decision about your home financing.

What are Mortgage Points?

Mortgage points, also known as discount points, are an upfront payment made to a lender to reduce the interest rate on a mortgage loan. Each point is equal to one percent of the loan amount. For example, if you’re taking out a $300,000 mortgage, one point would be equal to $3,000.

How do Mortgage Points Work?

When you pay mortgage points, you’re essentially prepaying some of the interest on your loan. In return, the lender will lower your interest rate. The amount that your interest rate is reduced will depend on the lender and the type of mortgage.

For example, a lender may offer a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 4.5{fb1e1880c459e557ac3ce17ffa2de9d6b992aa91487d45f235782beb8d8c21f0}. However, if you pay one point upfront, the lender may lower your interest rate to 4.25{fb1e1880c459e557ac3ce17ffa2de9d6b992aa91487d45f235782beb8d8c21f0}. That may not seem like a significant reduction, but over the life of a 30-year mortgage, it can add up to significant savings.

In general, the more points you pay, the lower your interest rate will be. However, it’s important to do the math and make sure that paying points makes sense for your situation. Depending on how long you plan to stay in the home, the upfront cost of points may not be worth the long-term savings on interest.

Pros and Cons of Mortgage Points:

There are pros and cons to paying mortgage points, and whether or not it makes sense for you will depend on your individual situation. Here are some factors to consider:


Lower interest rate:

Paying mortgage points upfront can have a significant impact on your interest rate, ultimately leading to savings throughout the lifespan of the loan. This works by effectively prepaying a portion of the interest, resulting in a reduced rate for the remaining balance. By taking advantage of this opportunity, you can enjoy lower monthly payments and potentially save thousands of dollars in interest over the years.

Tax benefits:

When you pay for mortgage points, you may be able to enjoy tax benefits that allow you to deduct the cost on your taxes. This means that you can potentially reduce your taxable income, which can result in lower taxes and a bigger tax refund. It’s important to note that not everyone will be eligible for this deduction, so it’s recommended to consult with a tax professional to determine your eligibility and the potential savings that you can enjoy.

Predictable payments:

Having a lower interest rate on your mortgage can lead to more predictable and manageable monthly payments. This is because a lower interest rate means that your payments will be lower and more consistent, making it easier to budget and plan for other expenses. This stability can also provide peace of mind, knowing that your mortgage payments won’t fluctuate dramatically, even if interest rates change in the future.


Upfront costs:

Paying points requires an upfront cost, which can be a financial burden for some borrowers.

May not be worth it in the long run:

If you don’t plan to stay in the home for the entire life of the loan, paying points may not be worth it.

Limited impact on monthly payments:

While paying points can lower your interest rate, the impact on your monthly payments may not be significant.


Mortgage points can be a useful tool for some borrowers, but they’re not for everyone. If you’re considering paying points, it’s important to weigh the upfront costs against the potential long-term savings on interest. Before making a decision, it’s always a good idea to talk to a mortgage professional who can help you understand your options and make an informed decision based on your individual circumstances.

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