How Do Conventional Loan Points Work?

You can lower your interest rate with points.

Loan points graphicYou’re finally ready to buy a home. You saved up for a down payment, you’ve been approved for a mortgage, and you’re excited to start your search. But then your loan officer tells you about something called “loan points,” and you’re not quite sure what they are. Do you need to pay them? How do they work? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about loan points on a conventional loan.

What are Conventional Loan Points?

Loan points are prepaid interest you can pay to lower your mortgage rate. One loan point equals one percent of your loan amount. So, if you're taking out a $200,000 mortgage, one loan point would cost you $2,000.

Paying loan points is optional. Whether or not it makes sense to pay them depends on how long you plan on staying in your home and how much money you can afford to pay upfront. If you're planning on staying in your home for a long time and can afford the upfront cost, paying loan points could save you a lot of money over your loan.

The Basics of Conventional Loan Points

A conventional loan is a type of mortgage that typically requires the borrower to make a down payment and provides the lender with greater flexibility regarding loan approval. Mortgage points, also known as discount points or buy-downs, are fees the borrower pays at closing to reduce their interest rate.

Points may be used to purchase a lower interest rate, but this will result in an upfront cost that can add to closing costs. The price of one mortgage point equals 1% of the loan amount. If you plan on staying in your home for more than five years, it may be beneficial to buy mortgage points to reduce your monthly mortgage payment.

However, it is important to consider the breakeven point – when the savings from buying points equals the upfront cost. Mortgage points may also help you save on closing costs, such as title insurance and appraisal fees. Ultimately, how many mortgage points you should buy will depend on how long you plan to stay in your home and how much upfront cost you are willing to pay for lower monthly payments. The Basics of Conventional Loan Points

How Conventional Loan Points Lower Your Interest Rate

Mortgage discount points are an upfront cost associated with getting a home loan, as they lower the mortgage rate and interest rate. When you buy points to lower your rate, each point equals 1% of the principal amount of your mortgage loan.

For example, if you have a $200,000 loan amount and purchase two points, you would pay an upfront cost of $4,000. This cost could be worth it in the long run if you plan to stay in the home for a long time because it would result in lower monthly payments on your mortgage loan.

You can calculate when you will break even by subtracting the upfront cost from the total savings in monthly payments over a certain period. If buying points lowers your interest rate enough to help save more money than the upfront cost, then it may make sense to buy them to reduce your principal and interest payments over time.

The Cost of Conventional Loan Points

Mortgage points, also known as "buy-down points" or "discount points," are fees paid directly to the lender at closing in exchange for a reduced interest rate. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount (for example, two points on a $100,000 mortgage would cost $2,000).

Paying points can be beneficial if you plan to stay in the home for a long time because it can help reduce your overall interest costs over the life of the loan. Additionally, if you purchase discount points upfront, you may qualify for an even lower interest rate. For instance, one discount point typically equals a 0.25 percent reduction in the mortgage rate.

Although mortgage points require an upfront cost and don’t always result in immediate savings, they can help borrowers break even on their investments over time. Ultimately, whether or not it makes sense to buy mortgage points depends on how long you plan to stay in the home and how much money you are willing to pay upfront.

Paying for Conventional Loan Points

Paying for conventional loan points can be a great way to reduce your overall mortgage payment. When you buy points, you are essentially paying an upfront fee to reduce the current interest rate on your mortgage. This reduces the amount of interest you will have to pay over the life of the loan and can help lower your monthly payments.

Mortgage points are calculated with a mortgage points calculator based on current interest rates and the amount of equity in your home. You can use this calculator to estimate how much buying points will cost and how much it will reduce your monthly payment amount. The reduced interest rate is applied to each payment, so if you can make lump sum payments or additional payments, it will reduce both the principal and the interest paid over time.

With conventional loans, there is no limit on how many points you can purchase at closing costs; however, keep in mind that each point costs 1% of your mortgage amount and may not be worth it if current rates are already low. If you're considering paying for conventional loan points, talk with a lender about whether or not it's a good move for your financial situation.

The Effect of Conventional Loan Points on Loan Amount

Conventional loan points are fees paid to a mortgage lender by the borrower at the time of origination. These points are calculated as a percentage of the total loan amount and can be used to lower the interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

In addition, they may also be used as a tax deduction as they can be counted towards your home equity with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Depending on current interest rates and credit scores, each point could mean a lower interest rate for you; however, this is not always the case.

For instance, paying points might not make sense financially if you have excellent credit scores and low current interest rates. Mortgage insurance may also apply depending on the type of loan you choose. In any case, it’s important to do your research before deciding whether or not it makes sense to pay for points to get a better financial outcome in terms of savings over the life of your loan.


Understand how conventional loan points can affect the total cost of your loan before committing to one. Shop around for the best rate available and consult with a financial advisor or mortgage broker if you have any questions. Making use of loan points can help you get lower interest rates and reduce your monthly payments, but it is important to be sure you understand all of the terms, fees, and other details.

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