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Tuesday
May072013

Why do I have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance, (PMI), on my mortgage?

In the lending world the lender is looking for two things.  First and foremost, they are looking for the borrower to pay them back.  That’s why they check out your credit worthiness in many different ways.  The second thing they look for is collateral just in case the borrower doesn’t pay them back.  In the case of a real estate loan the house or other property is the collateral.  If the loan amount is more than a certain percentage, (typically 80%) of the property value the lender will have the borrower purchase Private Mortgage Insurance, (PMI).  There are many ways to avoid PMI.  Here are two of the ways: 

-          Purchase a home that costs less. 

-          Come up with more down payment for your home purchase.

If you are currently paying PMI here are two ways to eliminate it:

Pay down your mortgage to 78% of the original purchase price and have no late payments in the past twelve months.  The Homeowners Protection Act of 1998 requires the lender to remove your PMI.

Contact your servicer about how to eliminate mortgage insurance.  Mortgage lenders may permit you to drop mortgage insurance if the property has reached 80% loan to value.  You normally would need to pay for a new appraisal of your property.  Please note this is at your lenders’ discretion.  If you have late payments or your credit has deteriorated your lender may not remove your PMI.  If your property has appreciated get it reappraised to see if the loan to value on your home is under 80%.  Then notify the lender and they may take the PMI off of your loan.

Beware of lenders who say they will make you a mortgage loan with no down payment.  The lender is likely buying PMI behind the scenes and they are probably charging you a higher interest rate to compensate for their paying of the insurance.  Ask them what the interest rate on a loan where you have to pay PMI would be. 

PMI is tax deductible through 2013 if your adjusted gross income is less than $100,000.  If your adjusted gross income is more than $100,000 but less than $110,000 than a portion of your PMI is deductible.  Remember, this tax deduction goes away after 2013 unless the government extends it.  As always talk with your tax consultant about your specific circumstances. 

Want to know how much your PMI will be?  MGIC is one of the big PMI providers and here’s their website: http://www.mgic.com/is/html/ratefinder.html .  This will give you at least an idea as to how much your PMI could be.  Remember that your borrower may be using a different set of criteria to evaluate PMI but the two biggees are your credit score and the value of your house.  (MGIC also has a pretty cool website for homebuyers including a test to see if you’re ready to buy a home.)

 If you have more questions about PMI or mortgages call Jeff Banyas.  He’s our VP of Lending and he knows as much about mortgages as anyone I’ve ever talked to.  His phone number is 202-482-3749.  Or drop him a line at jbanyas@docfcu.org

 

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