How To Avoid Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

by Joyce Powers 12/15/2019

You can ask any homeowner-buying and owning a home is expensive. Mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and other bills quickly add up.

If you want to buy a home but don’t have a large down payment saved, odds are you’ve discovered something called private mortgage insurance (PMI).

PMI is an extra monthly payment that you make (on top of your mortgage payment) when you don’t have enough to make a large (20%) down payment on your home.

However, if you want to buy a home and don’t want to tack on an extra monthly payment for PMI, you have options. In today’s post, I’m going to talk about some ways to avoid paying PMI on your mortgage so you can save more money in the long run.

PMI Basics

Before we talk about getting rid of PMI, let’s spend a minute on what to expect when you do have to pay it.

PMI typically costs 0.30% to %1.15% of your total loan balance annually. That means that your PMI payments will decrease a moderate amount as you pay off your loan.

Furthermore, once you have paid off 22% of your loan, your PMI will be cancelled and you’ll only be responsible for your regular monthly mortgage payments.

Getting PMI waived early

With conventional loans, you can request to have your PMI cancelled once you’ve paid off 20% of the mortgage. However, many buyers with PMI are using some form of first-time buyer loan, such as an FHA loan.

With an FHA loan, you’ll be stuck with PMI for the lifetime of the loan if you don’t make a down payment of 10% or more. That’s a lot of PMI payments, especially if you take out a 30 year loan, and it can quickly add up.

If you have an FHA loan with FHA insurance, the only way to cancel the insurance is to refinance into a non-FHA insured loan. And remember--refinancing has its own costs and complications.

Making it to the 20% repayment mark

On conventional loans, the best way to get rid of PMI is to reach your 20% repayment mark as soon as possible. That could mean aggressively paying off your mortgage until you reach that point.

This can be achieved by making extra payments, or just paying more each month. However, you don’t want to neglect other debt that could be accruing costly interest in favor of paying off your loans. Make sure you do the math and find out which debt will be more expensive before neglecting other debt.

Once you do reach the 20% repayment mark, you’ll have to remember to apply to have your PMI canceled with your lender. Otherwise, it will be canceled automatically at 22%.

About the Author
Author

Joyce Powers

 After leaving a successful career in the financial industry, I did much soul-searching and found myself drawn to the real estate industry. When you consider that the most important investment most people make is their primary residence, I thought this would be a perfect second career for someone with my background.

I became a licensed NYS Realtor and I am currently a NYS Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker affiliated with KMS Realty Group and a member of the Staten Island Board of Realtors. I've also obtained the following Designations and Certifications: ABR (Accredited Buyer's Representative), CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist), CNE (Certified Negotiation Expert), CSSP(Certified Short Sale Professional), GREEN (National Association of Realtors GREEN Designation), SFR (Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource), SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist). Since 2010 I've been a Top Producer of the Staten Island Board of Realtors. I’ve also served on various committees at the Staten Island Board of Realtors, including the Grievance Committee and the Professional Standards Committee and I'm currently a Director of the Staten Island Board of Realtors.

As a professional full-time Realtor, I will guide you through one of the most important financial decisions you will make - whether it is buying or selling your home or investing in real estate properties. I will be by your side every step of the way.