Is it Worth Paying Points On a Mortgage?

Is it Worth Paying Points On a Mortgage?

When financing a home purchase or refinancing a current home, you have to make a number of decisions. You will have to choose from among a half dozen different mortgage types available to you. Regardless of which type of mortgage you choose, you’ll be faced with another question: should I pay points?

Points, or discount points, are a cash payment that you make to the bank (or your mortgage lender) to get a lower interest rate on your loan. A lower interest rate means a lower monthly payment and savings to you, the homebuyer. The lender also benefits by getting some cash up front, so points can be a win for both parties. However, paying points for a reduction in your interest rate isn’t always worth it. Let’s look at some simple scenarios to answer the question, “Should I pay points on my refinance or new mortgage?”

Let’s assume you are borrowing $250,000. You are quoted an interest rate of 5 percent on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. This means that every month you’ll be paying $1,342.05 in interest and principle for your mortgage. By the way, you don’t need to be a math wizard to calculate these numbers, your mortgage broker or bank loan officer will provide this information to you, and there are great mortgage calculators online that make doing the math a snap.

Here’s how buying points works: on this same type of loan you might see that paying 1 point lowers the rate to 4.675 percent. Each point equals 1 percent of your total loan amount. So, with our $250,000 loan, 1 point costs $2,500. The math looks like this:

[points] / 100 x [loan amount] = [cost of the discount]

1 / 100 x $250,000 = $2,500.

Also, points may appear on mortgage rate tables a few different ways – as number or a percent, and sometimes under the heading “points” or “discount.” Despite these stylistic differences, the numbers are always the same.

So, we know that to reduce this mortgage interest rate from 5 percent to 4.675 percent will cost $2,500. Now let’s figure out if it’s worth it. The new monthly payment at this lower rate is $1,292.84. This is $49.21 less than the payment for the loan at 5 percent. By spending $2,500 we save nearly $50 a month. Since our 30-year mortgage will last 360 months, that’s a savings of almost $18,000.

It sounds good, saving $18,000 by paying $2,500. But keep this in mind, you only get your $18,000 in savings if you stay in the house for 30 years. With a savings of $49.21 per month it will take you over four years to break even. Here’s the math:

[cost of the discount] / [monthly savings] = [number of months to break even]

$2,500 / $49.21 = 50.8 months (or 4 years and 3 months)

If all these savings sounds great, conventional wisdom actually tells us this is not a great deal. Most experts agree that it is not worth paying points on a mortgage if you won’t break even in less than four years.

This is true for a few reasons. Most likely you won’t be in your house for 30 years, so you never realize the full value of the savings. Second, your cash has value today. In the above scenario, if you spend $2,500, you break even in four years and three months, and double your money in eight years and six months. Could you make better use of this cash? When you pay points, you’ve spent the money, so it can be redeemed no matter how long you’re in the house. For it to make sense, in the above scenario, you’d ideally like to be saving about $60/month not $50.

Deciding whether it is worth paying points on a mortgage can be confusing because it’s difficult to know exactly how long you’ll be in a house and how your financial situation might change over time. If you’re faced with the dilemma of whether you should pay points during a refinance or home purchase, the simple formulas and guideline above can help you through the process.

Bank of America to Streamline Short Sale Process

Bank of America says it’s making changes to its short-sale procedures that will shorten decision times on short sale offers to 20 days, down from 45 days or longer.

The new task flow in Bank of America’s short-sale management platform, Equator, will enable short-sale specialists to conduct tasks like document collection, valuations and underwriting simultaneously. When buyers walk, agents will have five days instead of 14 days to submit a backup offer.  Contact us for more information.

Record Rates Push Housing Affordability Higher

Record Rates Push Housing Affordability Higher.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit another all-time low this week, marking the seventh straight week it has averaged below 4 percent, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.

Here’s a closer look at rates for the week ending Jan. 19:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.88 percent, with an average 0.8 point, a new all-time low and dropping from last week’s previous record of 3.89 percent. A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.74 percent.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.17 percent, with an average 0.8 point, up slightly from last week’s record low of 3.16 percent. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 4.05 percent.
5-year adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.82 percent, with an average 0.7 point, the same as last week’s average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.69 percent.
1-year ARMs: averaged 2.74 percent, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 2.76 percent average. Last year at this point, the 1-year ARM averaged 3.25 percent.
Source: Freddie Mac

Proposed mortgage settlement offers little relief for homeowners

A proposed $25 billion settlement between five big banks, state attorneys general and the Obama administration may help resolve some of the thornier legal issues surrounding the mortgage mess that caused the housing market to collapse.

It will do relatively little to stop the ongoing wave of home foreclosures or revive the deeply depressed housing market, however.

Read the article “Proposed mortgage settlement offers little relief for homeowners”

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Jaynelle, Watermark Properties

Jaynelle, 510.206.7144, jaynelle.bell@gmail.com

I have successfully negotiated over 100 property short sales in the last six years and have the inside information for dealing with the giants like Bank of America, Wells Fargo/Wachovia, Chase and Citibank and others.  Do you know that the banks will, in some instances, pay YOU up to $20,000 to do a short sale? You owe it to yourself and your family to find out All of your options.  Call 510.206.7144 today.