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

Kurt Clements Real Estate Leave a Comment

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. I do my best to explain both in this article for my South Side Chicago homebuyers.

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.

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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. Want more information on how you can qualify to become a homeowner?  Let’s set up a time to chat, email me your schedule [email protected].

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Kurt Clements

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Kurt has developed a unique system designed to turn renters into homeowners. Unlike most Realtors his initial focus is on the financial end of the transaction. This dynamic has allowed him to develop more buyers that were not previously in the market, which in turn leads to more listings being sold. While Kurt is constantly tweaking his programs to meet the needs of his clients, he is ever mindful that a home is not sold without a buyer. More times than not, a buyer that he turned into a homeowner.