In Florida, points are hardly ever charged, in fact, I don't think a single one of my buyers there, including me, has ever paid points.
In Minnesota, every singe banker and mortgage broker I have ever met charges at least one point on the loan. When I moved to Minnesota and asked about this common practice, lenders were actually offended that I disagreed with the blanket charges of points to every buyer in Minnesota.
I have been a mortgage banker for 21 years and I have paid points on my own purchases. It all depends on how long you really expect ot be in the home. If you are going to be in there for a long time then pay points to get a better rate ( include the points in your new loan if you can ) you will re-coop in a few years. If you plan on selling or refinancing within the re-coop time then negotiate to not pay points. good luck and let me know if I can assist with your new loan.
First Capital Mortgage
2) The points are tax deductible either way if I recall correctly (check with your tax advisor) but by rolling it in, you are not coming up with the $ out of pocket but are paying it back over 30 years.
3) It can be worthwhile... it all depend on how long you want to stay in your house and how much it costs to buy down the rate.
I'm in the process of buying a house and I'm looking at doing a small rate buydown, but too much buydown ends up costing too much.