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What's the Difference Between Origination Points and Discount Points?

Mortgage ris media updated June 9, 2024

Navigating Mortgage Points: Origination vs. Discount

When delving into the world of mortgages, understanding the distinction between origination points and discount points can significantly impact your loan terms. Here's a breakdown to help you grasp the difference and make informed decisions:

Origination Points: Origination points represent fees charged by lenders for processing your mortgage application. They are typically calculated as a percentage of the loan amount, with one origination point equivalent to 1%. While some lenders levy origination points, others may not. Keep in mind that origination points are typically negotiable, offering borrowers some flexibility in terms of costs.

Discount Points: Discount points provide an opportunity for borrowers to prepay interest upfront, thereby reducing the interest rate on the mortgage and subsequently lowering monthly payments. Each discount point purchased results in a fractional reduction in the interest rate, the extent of which varies among lenders. These points are also calculated as a percentage of the loan amount, with one discount point equal to 1%. While purchasing discount points involves upfront costs, it can yield substantial long-term savings, particularly for homeowners planning to stay in their homes for an extended period.

Tax Implications: It's important to note the tax implications associated with mortgage points. Origination points are typically not tax-deductible, whereas discount points often are. Consultation with a tax professional can provide insights into how purchasing discount points and itemizing deductions may affect your overall tax liability.

Making Informed Decisions: When weighing the decision to purchase mortgage points, it's essential to conduct a thorough assessment of your financial situation and long-term housing plans. Calculate the breakeven point by dividing the upfront cost of discount points by the monthly interest savings to determine the timeframe required to recoup the initial investment. If you anticipate remaining in the home beyond this breakeven point, purchasing discount points may prove financially advantageous. Conversely, if short-term residency or potential refinancing is on the horizon, alternative strategies, such as a larger down payment, maybe more prudent.

Consider the broader financial landscape, including anticipated expenses beyond the mortgage, such as moving costs and home maintenance. By evaluating the overall picture and weighing the pros and cons of each option, you can make a well-informed decision tailored to your unique circumstances and financial goals.


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