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Understanding PMI or Private Mortgage Insurance


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PMI is required if the down payment on your new home is less than 20%. You're indemnifying the lender from the possible eventuality of you defaulting on the loan will enable you to purchase with very little down.

Typically the charges for a PMI plan are around one-half of one percent (0.005) of the loan.

So, an example would be: If you put down 10% or $20,000 on your new $200,000 dollar home the formula applied means that you will pay .005 percent on $180,000 or $900. This being an annual charge the monthly payment calculates out to $75 per month. More often than not a homeowner cannot raise enough for the initial deposit and so they must secure the PMI and then they must pay this cost until they have paid no less than a fifth of the initial principal back. This can take years to accomplish.

Note:


When your LTV, loan to value ratio, reaches 80% you should notify the lender that you no longer need to satisfy the requirements for PMI and that you wish to stop paying the premiums. Laws that went into effect in 1999 require lenders to inform the buyers at closing exactly how long they will need to carry PMI before they achieve the 80% level required to stop. This same law requires that the lender automatically discontinue all PMI at 78%.

Keep in mind that the law will allow the lender to keep the PMI enforced down to the 50% level if you fall into one of these high-risk categories:

  1. Reduced documentation loan
  2. Bad or questionable credit history
  3. High debt-to-income ratio
  4. Its an FHA loan (requires payment of PMI throughout the entire life of the loan)
How to Avoid PMI:
  1. Pay more interest - from .75 percent to 1 percent, depending on the down payment. The advantage is that mortgage interest is tax deductible.
  2. Secure an "80-10-10" loan and, again, there is the advantage of mortgage interest being tax deductible.

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