What Is Mortgage Insurance and How Does It Benefit Me? Let’s Take a Look

What Is Mortgage Insurance and How Does It Benefit Me? Let's Take a LookAre you in the market for a new home? If you are considering a mortgage, you may be curious about mortgage insurance, commonly referred to as PMI or MI. Let’s explore the topic of mortgage insurance, including how it works to reduce risk and how it benefits you as the mortgage borrower.

Mortgage Insurance = Risk Reduction

You might not know this, but the toughest part of the home buying process for many individuals and families is coming up with the required down payment. For example, if you were to buy a $200,000 home, you may want to invest $40,000 or $60,000 or more in the down payment. The remainder would be borrowed in your mortgage, which you would then pay off each month.

Most mortgage lenders require a minimum of 20 percent as a down payment. In the example above, this means having $40,000 cash on hand before you buy the home. If you can’t come up with this much, your lender may require mortgage insurance be purchased to protect them in case you default on the loan.

Mortgage Insurance Can Help You Qualify

Since mortgage insurance reduces the lender’s exposure to risk, it can help you in a number of ways during the qualification process. First, you can put less in your down payment than you had initially intended, which can increase your buying power and the size of home you can afford. Mortgages backed with a private insurance policy tend to be approved a bit faster than those that aren’t. Also, if you decide that you don’t need it later, many mortgage insurance policies can be canceled, which saves you a bit of money.

Look For Supplemental Benefits

Finally, don’t forget to ask your mortgage lender about any supplemental benefits offered with your mortgage insurance policy. Some policies protect you in the event that you lose your job or provide a partial claim advance if you can’t pay your mortgage. Note that not all policies have these benefits, so be sure to ask.

While it is true that mortgage insurance provides benefits to lenders, it also offers significant benefits to you as the borrower. To learn more about mortgage insurance or to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you can buy a home, give us a call today. Our friendly team of mortgage professionals is happy to help.

You Ask, We Answer: What Are the Pros and Cons of Private Mortgage Insurance?

You Ask, We Answer: What Are the Pros and Cons of Private Mortgage Insurance?It’s easy to get Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) confused with homeowners’ insurance, but PMI is an entirely different thing that may or may not be necessary when it comes to your home purchase. If you’re going to be investing in a home in the near future and are wondering what PMI may mean for you, here are some things to consider regarding this type of insurance.

Your Down Payment Amount

If you’ve been perusing the housing market for a while, you’ve probably heard that 20% is the ideal amount to put down when investing in a home; however, you might not realize why. The truth is that 20% down is the suggested amount because this will enable you to avoid having to pay PMI on the purchase of your home. In this regard, PMI is a protective measure for lenders since they may be taking on more financial risk with those who have less equity built up in their home.

Getting Into The Market

For those who want to get into the real estate market right away and only have 10-15% to put down, PMI can be a means of being able to invest before mortgage rates increase. While buying a home when you want can certainly be a benefit, it’s also worth realizing that PMI is an additional fee and will impact the total cost of your home loan. It may be a risk worth taking if you want to buy now, but if it’s total cost you’re considering, it may better to save more before buying.

Getting Money Back

Whether you’re a homeowner or not, most people don’t look forward to tax time no matter how much money they get back. However, if you have PMI for your home, you’ll not only be able to get a variety of tax deductions, you’ll also be able to get back some of the money that you invested into your private mortgage insurance. It may not be enough of a deduction to compete with saving up, but if you’ve found the perfect home the deductions can serve as an added incentive.

While you’ll only be required to pay PMI if you put down less than 20%, it can be a benefit if you’re looking to purchase a home right away. If you’re currently perusing your options on the real estate market, reach out to one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

If Your Home Is Destroyed in a Natural Disaster, What Happens to Your Mortgage?

If Your Home Is Destroyed in a Natural Disaster, What Happens to Your Mortgage? When you’ve been in your home for a while and have established a certain amount of equity, it can be a good feeling to know that you have an investment you can count on. However, with changing weather patterns you may be afraid of a natural disaster striking and what it could mean for your financial well-being. If you’re curious about how this can impact your mortgage, here are a few things to consider.

Determine Your Protection

The thought of having your home adversely impacted by a natural disaster is bad, but it can be even worse if the proper precautions haven’t been taken to insure your house against its wrath. While there are certain calamities that will be less likely in your area and may be difficult to get insurance for, if you live in an area prone to floods or earthquakes, you should have protection against their occurrence. In all likelihood, if you’ve taken the proper precautions when taking on home insurance, your home should be prepared for what nature unleashes.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Whether you’re certain that your home is covered in the event of a natural disaster or not, it’s important to contact your insurance company as soon as disaster occurs so that you can make the necessary claim. This means that you’ll need to be able to explain what happened, the extent of the damage and provide photographic evidence of your claim so that you have the evidence to back it up. Once the worst has occurred, you’ll want to file a claim with the company as soon as you can to ensure you’ll get back what you’ve invested.

What Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover?

Generally speaking, there are a number of natural disasters that are included under homeowner’s insurance including tornadoes, hurricanes and wildfires. Insurance for disasters like earthquakes, floods and tsunamis can be purchased separately, while the occurrence of landslides and avalanches may be covered separately. It’s important when purchasing a home that you are covered against natural disasters that can occur in the area so your biggest investment is not at risk.

The occurrence of a natural disaster is stressful enough without having to worry about the possibility of your insurance not covering the damage. If you are currently looking into homeowner’s insurance and are considering a home purchase, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

3 Reasons Why the Cost of Title Insurance is Worth the Investment

3 Reasons Why the Cost of Title Insurance is Worth the InvestmentTitle insurance is one of the few types of protection policies available to homebuyers and one that is often overlooked because of its optional nature.

Because title insurance is purchased simultaneously with the home, it can be very easy to forego when looked at alongside all the additional fees that are associated with purchasing property.

This is typicaly not advisable, as title insurance is one of the smartest forms of protection a homeowner can buy. Here are just three reasons why every purchaser should get title insurance.

It’s The Best Protection Against Fraud

Title insurance protects the owner of a home from any claim made against their property, whether or not they are responsible. These include unpaid mortgage balances on the home, an improper foreclosure or any form of real estate fraud perpetrated by the seller.

Fraud is more prevalent now than ever before and has started to gain momentum in real estate as well. Forgeries are easier to create in the electronic age and criminals take advantage of today’s ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude to sell property they don’t actually own to unsuspecting victims.

The Insurer Performs An Exhaustive Title Search

Countless records are now made public online for low one-time payments to access them. But does anybody really know what they should be looking for? Title insurers are experts at finding anything suspicious with a home and researching exhaustively to make sure everything about the transaction is legitimate.

And if it’s not, the insurance still covers the buyer for any losses incurred if they are ordered out of their new home should a claim be made against it. Then they will research the claim to make sure it isn’t a fraudulent one.

Title Insurance Is A One-Time Fee

Although it is a large fee, title insurance only needs to be paid for once. Unlike other insurance policies that are either monthly or annually, title insurance is a one-time fee that is acquired at the time of closing. Most mortgage lenders require that their title insurance policy is paid for by the borrower anyway, so it’s not a giant leap to take out your own policy the same time.

Title insurance will also protect against mortgage fraud or any unpaid mortgages the home already has. Although title insurance is strongly recommended, it is a good idea to speak with a professional about it so that any questions you have may be answered.

Understanding Lower FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums and How They May Help You Save Money

Understanding Lower FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums and How They May Help You Save Money FHA loans are designed to help individuals take advantage of the benefits of home ownership, and these loans have low down payment requirements. However, for borrowers who choose to make a down payment that is less than 20 percent of the sales price, the borrower will be required to pay a mortgage insurance premium with the monthly mortgage payment.

This premium is in place to minimize the risk that the lender takes when making a low down payment loan, but it does result in a higher monthly mortgage payment for the homeowner. Recently, the FHA has announced a lower rate for FHA mortgage insurance premiums, and this can help home buyers save money.

A Closer Look At The Reduced Premium

In January 2015, the FHA announced that the FHA premium rate would decline from a current level of 1.35 percent of the loan value to 0.85 percent. This has the potential to save home buyers hundreds of dollars per year in reduced mortgage payments, making home ownership more affordable. In fact, the FHA stated that it believes this reduction will help as many as 250,000 home buyers who currently do not qualify for a mortgage to purchase a home.

Calculating the Savings For You

The mortgage insurance premium is in place on low down payment loans until the home equity has accrued to at least 20 percent of the home’s value. This equity is essentially built up between principal reduction with regular monthly payments and increasing property values, but homeowners typically will need to prove that the equity is present before the mortgage insurance premium can be removed from the monthly payment.

As a home buyer, it is important to know that you may be responsible for the mortgage insurance premium for several years or longer. Therefore, this reduced premium can result in considerable savings for you over time. You can use an online calculator to determine your actual savings and to calculate your monthly payment based on the new rate.

If you have not qualified for a mortgage in the past due to the addition of a mortgage insurance premium, you may consider contacting a mortgage representative about your current options. The reduction in the premium rate will help many to qualify for the loan amount that they need, and you can speak with a representative about your financing needs and to request an estimate for your mortgage payment.

Do You Need Mortgage Insurance Even if It’s Not Required by Your Lender? Let’s Take a Look

Do You Need Mortgage Insurance Even if It's Not Required by Your Lender? Let's Take a LookFinding a proper mortgage loan and understanding the processing procedures behind the loan is the basis of good research. The down payment on a mortgage loan is typically significant when dealing with mortgage insurance.

Most loan applications with less than 20% down payment are required to include mortgage insurance with the loan. However, mortgage insurance may still be required even if it’s not typically required by your lender.

Underwriting Requirements

Most home mortgage applications undergo a strict set of standards for approval. These standards are known as underwriting and make up the bulk of time spent on a mortgage application. Unique situations in employment or credit history may require an additional down payment percentage to avoid PMI or private mortgage insurance.

Most underwriting requirements require adequate information on the borrower’s credit and employment history for complete application. Self-employed individuals or those with alternative forms of credit may need a few additional hoops to jump through when dealing with mortgage insurance requirements.

Lender-paid Mortgage Insurance

Lender-paid mortgage insurance is a popular option with potential homeowners that seek to avoid the cost of a PMI or FHA-backed insurance on a home loan. Most lenders incorporate payment of private mortgage insurance in exchange for a slightly higher interest rate.

This is one example of the points system on a mortgage application that eliminates the cost of PMI. The increase in interest rate may or may not warrant the need for a lender-paid mortgage insurance arrangement.

What’s Involved With Risk Assessment?

Strict lending requirements and banking policy now limit the number of mortgages with zero down payment options. Conventional mortgages and FHA both require private mortgage insurance if it is less than 20% down payment. However, FHA loans can be more flexible with the initial down payment requirements with adequate credit. FHA mortgage costs are now for the life of the loan. Lenders will look at mortgage insurance as risk protection.

The risk protection process may or may not require mortgage insurance in your home loan. For example, VA and USDA loans do not usually require mortgage insurance if the borrower’s credit and employment history are adequate.

Conventional loans have a reduction in risk once there is at least 20% equity in the home compared to the principal of the mortgage. Don’t hesitate to contact your trusted mortgage professional about potentially dropping mortgage insurance in the future to reduce overall loan costs.

You Ask, We Answer: What is Private Mortgage Insurance or ‘PMI’ and How Does It Work?

You Ask, We Answer: What is Private Mortgage Insurance or 'PMI' and How Does It Work? For many homeowners, their mortgage payment contains more than just principal and interest. A little something called PMI could be representing a significant portion of that payment, and it’s important for home buyers to understand this cost.

What Is PMI?

PMI stands for private mortgage insurance, or sometimes just mortgage insurance. However, it isn’t intended to mitigate risk for the homeowner, but rather the bank.

Statistics show that when a home buyer puts less than 20% down on a home, he/she is much more likely to default. So, requiring these buyers to carry PMI helps the bank hedge their losses in the event of a default.

It’s important to note that the home buyer doesn’t shop for PMI; this is all taken care of by the lender. However, the cost of PMI should be calculated out well before closing to help the home buyer be aware of his/her final mortgage payment.

Who Needs PMI?

Who will need to carry PMI depends on factors like the credit rating of the buyer and the exact mortgage being sought out. However, it’s safe to say that most home buyers with less than a 20% down payment will be required to carry PMI.

Does PMI Ever Go Away?

Eventually, PMI can be removed from a mortgage once enough of the principle has been paid down or enough years have passed.

It’s important for home buyers to fully understand the terms of their PMI requirement. Sometimes, it will be automatically removed once 20% of the house has been paid off, while other times, refinancing may be required.

Should Those Who Cannot Put 20% Down, Not Buy A House To Avoid PMI?

Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer. Yes, PMI is an extra cost that needs to be calculated into the cost of the home – but putting off a home purchase isn’t necessarily the right course of action.

For many families, it’s financially challenging to save up 20% of the cost of a home. After all, in 2010, the median home price of new homes sold in America was $221,800. A 20% down payment on such a home would be $44,360.

However, many find that it’s still cheaper, or just financially wiser, to buy a home with PMI than to continue renting. Each potential home buyer should call their mortgage professional to get more information about market trends in their area and to decide the appropriate course of action.