When people want to find out how much their mortgages cost, lenders often give them quotes that include both loan rates and points.
A point is a fee equal to 1 percent of the loan amount. A 30-year, $150,000 mortgage might have a rate of 7 percent but come with a charge of 1 point, or $1,500.
A lender can charge 1, 2 or more points. There are two kinds of points — discount points and origination points.
Discount points: These are actually prepaid interest on the mortgage loan. The more points you pay, the lower the interest rate on the loan and vice versa. Borrowers typically can pay anywhere from zero to 3 or 4 points, depending on how much they want to lower their rates. This kind of point is tax-deductible.
Origination fee: This is charged by the lender to cover the costs of making the loan. The origination fee is deductible if it was used to obtain the mortgage and not to pay other closing costs. The IRS specifically states that if the fee is for items that would normally be itemized on a settlement statement, such as notary fees, preparation costs and inspection fees, it is not deductible.