PMI/Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage insurance, no matter what kind, protects the lender-not you! 


Typically, borrowers making a down payment of less than 20 percent of the purchase price of the home will need to pay for mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance also is typically required on FHA and USDA loans.

Mortgage insurance lowers the risk to the lender making the loan to you, so you can qualify for a loan that you might not otherwise be able to get.

But, it increases the cost of your loan. If you are required to pay mortgage insurance, it will be included in the total monthly payment that you make to your lender, your costs at closing, or both.

Understanding the Implications of PMI/Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage insurance is designed to protect the lender, not you, the borrower. This fact, highlighted by, underscores a crucial point when you’re navigating the mortgage process. Typically, mortgage insurance becomes a requirement for borrowers making a down payment of less than 20% of the home’s purchase price. This also applies to FHA and USDA loans.

PMI/Mortgage insurance significantly reduces the lender’s risk when they approve your loan, facilitating a smoother approval process for loans you might not otherwise qualify for. However, it’s important to remember that while it benefits the lender, it adds to your loan’s overall cost. If you’re required to pay mortgage insurance, it gets included in your total monthly payment to your lender, your closing costs, or both.

Unpacking the Basics of PMI

PMI, an acronym for Private Mortgage Insurance, makes it possible for individuals to purchase a home with less than a 20% down payment. If you’re making monthly PMI payments into an escrow account, it’s vital to ask yourself: “Is it time to start pocketing this monthly PMI payment instead?”

When you make your mortgage payment each month, you’re likely paying off more than just the loan. Your payment typically also goes into an escrow account that covers real estate taxes and various insurance types, including homeowners, hazard, flood, and PMI.

If you purchased your home through conventional financing with less than a 20% down payment, chances are you’re paying PMI. This insurance protects the lender or investor against loss if a borrower stops making payments. However, homeowners often unknowingly continue to pay for this insurance long after it’s no longer necessary, resulting in unnecessary expenditure on insurance premiums.

Navigating PMI Cancellation

The silver lining is that once you’ve attained 20% equity in your home – through appreciation, improvements made to the property, or by paying down the principal balance of the mortgage (or a combination of these) – you can compel the lender to cancel your PMI. The process involves submitting a written request for PMI cancellation (most lenders have a brief form for this) and providing proof of equity exceeding 20%, usually in the form of a state-certified appraisal.

Recent legislation, such as the Homeowners Protection Act, obliges servicing lenders to make homeowners aware of any PMI payments and the requirements necessary for its cancellation. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for your lender’s notification to remove PMI. In most cases, with equity of 20% or more, you can cancel it almost instantly.

Understanding PMI Requirements

PMI isn’t universally required. If a homeowner has made a down payment less than 20% on a single-family home purchase, mortgage insurance is generally required. Conversely, homes purchased with at least a 20% down payment should have sufficient equity to cover potential losses by the lender, eliminating the need for PMI. However, the rising popularity of buying homes with less than 20% down has led to a boom in the mortgage insurance industry. According to the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America (MICA), over 15 million Americans have purchased homes in the past four decades due to mortgage insurance covering the down payment difference.

How to Cancel PMI/Mortgage Insurance

Once you’ve built up 20% equity for a single-family owner-occupied residence (some banks may require as much as 25% equity – it’s important to check your loan documents to ascertain what applies in your situation), you can initiate steps towards canceling your mortgage insurance. Contact your loan servicer (the entity to which you send your mortgage payments), who can guide you through the cancellation procedure and inform you of your remaining mortgage balance.

Every loan servicing institution may have different policies regarding this procedure. It’s recommended to ask your servicing lender for their specific requirements for PMI cancellation in writing. The servicer’s ultimate decision is influenced by several factors, including the borrower’s payment history throughout the loan. As such, consistent communication with your loan servicer is essential.

Remember, you are your own financial advisor, and every potential savings counts. Continuing to pay PMI when it’s no longer necessary reduces your available cash.

At Appraisals of Southwest Florida, we specialize in assisting homeowners in eliminating unnecessary PMI. A real estate appraisal by a state-certified appraiser is generally the primary proof needed to cancel PMI, and our team is well-equipped to provide this service. We offer a free initial consultation to help you determine if you have enough equity in your home to cancel your PMI.

Give us a call today at 239-591-6262 or fill out our free quote request form. Our team of appraisal experts will work to provide the best solution for your individual needs. 

‘Give us a call today with any questions you might have and also check out our ‘Praise’ page and see what others are saying about Kathy Homan and the ‘Appraisals of Southwest Florida.’

Understanding the value of your property is a crucial factor in many of life's most significant decisions. This is where a residential appraisal comes into play. A residential appraisal is a comprehensive analysis that determines the fair market value of a property. It's a vital tool, whether you're applying for a mortgage, considering listing your home for sale, or simply interested in discerning the market value of your property.

Beyond these commonly recognized needs, there are numerous other situations where a residential appraisal can provide invaluable insight. These include:

  1. Estate Planning: Understanding the value of your property can help shape your financial and estate planning strategies, ensuring your loved ones are well provided for in the future.
  2. Financial Planning: An appraisal can aid in making informed decisions about refinancing, investment, or property improvement.
  3. Real Estate Owned (REO) or Short Sale Scenarios: Accurate property valuation is crucial when dealing with distressed properties to ensure you are making a sound financial decision.
  4. Bankruptcy or Divorce Proceedings: A precise, unbiased property valuation is vital in legal situations such as division of assets.
  5. PMI or Mortgage Insurance Removal: An updated appraisal can help you remove private mortgage insurance (PMI) once you've reached sufficient equity in your home.

Appraisals play a significant role in the decision-making process of banks, lending institutions, and individual homeowners. They provide an objective perspective on a property's value, taking into account a multitude of unique features and market conditions.

Our experienced residential appraisers delve into meticulous research, examining specific factors that might influence the value of your home. These include the presence of any recent renovations, needed repairs, upgrades, and both interior and exterior features of the property. An in-depth inspection of the property is also conducted to ensure an accurate and comprehensive valuation.

With Appraisals of Southwest Florida, you're not only getting a service, but you're also gaining the expertise and knowledge of certified residential FHA-approved appraisers with 23 years of experience in the field. Our professionals have the requisite training, proven experience, and the competency to deliver precise and reliable appraisal reports.

So, whether you're selling your home, undergoing legal proceedings, planning for the future, or merely curious about your property's value, an accurate appraisal can provide the insights you need to make informed, confident decisions.

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