Buying Points To Lower Interest Rate

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Points, sometimes called discount points, are upfront fees paid to lower interest rates at the time of a loan’s origination. Though some lenders will use this term to include any fees involved in closing, generally, mortgage points refer to a specific percentage the buyer will pay the lender to lower the interest rate applied to the loan.

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).

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Buying points on shorter-term mortgages or those with very low interest rates could yield savings of only a few bucks a month, so be sure to do the math before you finalize your mortgage program.

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Some existing and prospective homeowners out there are fixated on obtaining the lowest possible mortgage interest rate, even if it means pulling money out of their own pocket at the time of financing.. Though most borrowers usually opt for a higher mortgage rate to avoid paying closing costs when buying a home or refinancing a mortgage, this group of savvy homeowners will pay the one-time fees.

Should I pay discount points for a lower interest rate? In some cases, it may benefit you to ‘buy down the interest rate’ by paying extra money up front in the form of discount points. Use this calculator to help determine if this makes sense for you.

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To buy down a mortgage rate, borrowers pay an additional charge in the form of points (also known as "discount points") in exchange for a lower interest rate on their mortgage. Depending on the transaction, the lender may offer a 0.25% interest rate reduction on the first point you buy.

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Generally, paying 1 percent of the loan amount in points will lower your rate by .25 percent, but this isn’t always the case. Ask your lender to provide options for paying points (or buying your rate down) so you have a few options to analyze for favorable breakeven timelines.

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