What is a Mortgage Point for Refinancing: Explained Simply

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If you’re considering refinancing your mortgage, you may have come across the term “mortgage points.” But what exactly are they, and what role do they play in refinancing? In this article, we’ll delve into the world of mortgage points, demystifying their purpose and helping you understand how they can impact your refinancing decisions.

Understanding Mortgage Points

Defining Mortgage Points

To put it simply, mortgage points are upfront fees paid to the lender at closing in exchange for a lower interest rate on your loan. Each mortgage point typically costs 1% of your loan amount. These points can be categorized into two types: discount points and origination points.

Differentiating Discount Points and Origination Points

Discount points are optional fees that borrowers can choose to pay to reduce their interest rate. By paying these points, you essentially “buy down” your interest rate, which can lead to significant long-term savings. On the other hand, origination points refer to the fees charged by the lender to cover the cost of processing and approving your loan.

How Mortgage Points Affect Interest Rates and Costs

The number of mortgage points you decide to pay will directly impact your interest rate. For each point you pay, you can typically expect a reduction of around 0.25% in your interest rate. This reduction can result in substantial savings over the life of your loan. However, it’s essential to consider the upfront cost of points and weigh them against the potential long-term benefits.

Benefits of Mortgage Points for Refinancing

Lowering Interest Rates through Points

One of the primary advantages of mortgage points for refinancing is the ability to lower your interest rate. By paying points upfront, you can secure a lower rate, which not only reduces your monthly mortgage payment but also saves you a significant amount of money over time. If you plan to stay in your home for an extended period, paying points may be a wise financial move.

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Long-Term Savings Potential

Paying mortgage points upfront can result in substantial long-term savings. While it may require a larger upfront cost, the reduced interest rate can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. It’s essential to calculate the breakeven point, which is the point at which your upfront cost is recouped through the monthly savings on your mortgage payment.

Calculating Potential Savings

To determine whether paying mortgage points is financially advantageous for you, it’s crucial to run the numbers. Utilize online mortgage calculators or consult with a mortgage professional to evaluate various scenarios. By comparing the costs and savings associated with different mortgage point options, you can make an informed decision based on your financial goals and preferences.

Considerations for Mortgage Points

Assessing Individual Financial Goals and Circumstances

Before deciding to pay mortgage points when refinancing, it’s vital to assess your individual financial goals and circumstances. Consider factors such as how long you plan to stay in your home, your monthly budget, and your long-term financial objectives. By aligning your refinancing decisions with your specific needs, you can make choices that are tailored to your situation.

Evaluating Breakeven Point

Calculating the breakeven point is crucial when considering mortgage points. It represents the period it takes to recoup the upfront cost of paying points through the monthly savings on your mortgage payment. If you plan to move or refinance again before reaching the breakeven point, paying points may not be financially beneficial. However, if you intend to stay in your home beyond that point, the savings can be substantial.

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Tax Implications of Mortgage Points

It’s essential to consider the potential tax implications of paying mortgage points. In some cases, mortgage points may be tax-deductible, which can further reduce their overall cost. Consult with a tax professional to understand how mortgage points may impact your specific tax situation and take advantage of any potential deductions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the typical cost of a mortgage point?

The typical cost of a mortgage point is 1% of your loan amount. For example, on a $200,000 mortgage, one point would cost $2,000.

Can mortgage points be deducted on income taxes?

In many cases, mortgage points can be tax-deductible. However, specific eligibility for deductions may vary depending on factors such as the purpose of the loan and whether the property will be used as a primary residence. Consult with a tax professional to determine if you qualify for any deductions.

Are mortgage points negotiable when refinancing?

Yes, mortgage points are often negotiable when refinancing. It’s worth discussing with your lender to see if they are willing to adjust the points and associated interest rate based on your specific financial situation.

Do mortgage points have the same impact on adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs)?

Mortgage points can still impact adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) but in a slightly different way. With ARMs, the reduced interest rate resulting from paying points typically applies for a fixed period, after which the rate adjusts based on market conditions. It’s crucial to understand the terms of your ARM and how paying points may affect your monthly payments during the fixed-rate period.

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How do mortgage points differ from closing costs?

While mortgage points are a type of closing cost, they serve a specific purpose – to buy down your interest rate. Other closing costs, such as appraisal fees, title insurance, and attorney fees, cover different expenses associated with the loan process. It’s important to review your loan estimate and closing documents to understand the breakdown of all closing costs involved in your refinancing.


Understanding mortgage points is key to making informed decisions when refinancing your mortgage. By paying points upfront, you can potentially secure a lower interest rate and save a significant amount of money over the life of your loan. However, it’s crucial to assess your individual financial goals, calculate the breakeven point, and consider potential tax implications. By doing so, you can navigate the intricacies of mortgage points for refinancing and make choices that align with your financial well-being.

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