What is Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)?

Larry O. Doss Sunday, January 22, 2017

When it comes to buying a home, whether it is your first time or your fifth, it is always important to know all the facts. With the large number of mortgage programs available that allow buyers to purchase a home with a down payment below 20%, you can never have Too Much Information (TMI) about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

Freddie Mac defines PMI as: "An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.

Once you’ve built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment." As the borrower, you pay the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. Freddie Mac goes on to explain that: "The cost of PMI varies based on your loan-to-value ratio - the amount you owe on your mortgage compared to its value - and credit score, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed."

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for all buyers last year was 10%. For first-time buyers, that number dropped to 6%, while repeat buyers put down 14% (no doubt aided by the sale of their home). This just goes to show that for a large number of buyers last year, PMI did not stop them from buying their dream homes.

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Based on information from the Humboldt Association of REALTORS®, as of 12/11/2019. All data, including all measurements and calculations of area, is obtained from various sources and has not been, and will not be verified by broker or MLS for accuracy. All information should be independently reviewed and verified of accuracy. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting the information. Copyright ©2018 Humboldt Association of Realtors®. All rights reserved.