Tag: drop pmi

How to avoid or get rid of PMI

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) protects the lender in case you default on your loan. In most cases, unless you have a 20% down payment, you would have to pay PMI. But if that sounds like one more expense you can’t afford, here are some ways you can avoid PMI or get rid of it if you’re already paying for it.

Lender-paid PMI

The way PMI usually works is that you, the borrower, would have to pay an extra fee, along with your monthly mortgage. That extra fee can really squeeze your budget, especially if it’s already tight.

However, some lenders will offer to pay your PMI. Here’s how that works: They’d pay the full amount of the PMI up front, and you’d have to pay it back in the form of interest. It would slightly increase your mortgage rate, meaning that you’d have a higher monthly payment.

To figure out whether this is a good option for you, you’ll have to calculate whether the monthly cost of PMI would be more or less than the increase to your mortgage rate if your lender chooses to pay the PMI for you. Either way, the lender isn’t really paying it — you are. It’s just being distributed differently.

20% Down Payment on a Conventional Loan

The best, and most obvious, way to avoid PMI is to have a 20% down payment on a Conventional Loan. Since you’re putting down 20%, the lender wouldn’t need that extra protection against defaults. So you’d be in the clear.

However, if you couldn’t afford a 20% down payment and had to opt for an FHA Loan, for example, you could still get rid of your PMI once you reach 20% in home equity. Some types of loans have PMI attached to them for their entire lifespan, so in that case, you’d have to refinance to a Conventional Loan when you have 20% in home equity in order to drop the PMI.

VA Loans

If you are a veteran or are currently serving in the military, you are eligible for a VA Loan. The government created this loan program so that returning military members could purchase their own home with zero down payment, low monthly payments and more flexibility than traditional loans. The best part is, VA Loans require no PMI because the government provides a guaranty on the loan in case of default. So if you qualify, you can get a 15 or 30-year fixed VA Loan with zero down and no PMI.

The gift of equity

If you are purchasing your home from a family member, you can accept a gift of equity to lower the loan-to-value ratio. A gift of equity is when a family member sells you his or her house for a lower price than the listed price, and the difference can be used to make your down payment or pay off debt so you can qualify for the loan.

You can’t use a gift of equity on a VA Loan or Jumbo Loan. With an FHA Loan, you could also get a gift of equity from your in-laws or a non-profit organization. In any case, it must come with a letter that says it’s a gift.

For more information on avoiding PMI or getting rid of PMI on your existing loan, contact Riverbank Finance at (800) 555-2098 to schedule an appointment with one of our professional loan officers.

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How can I lower my monthly mortgage payments?

So, you’ve had a home for awhile, but you feel like your budget is just too tight. You scrimp and save, but it’s never enough. If the biggest expense you have is your mortgage, maybe it’s time to refinance your mortgage.

Refinance to a lower rate

Rates are very low. Right now, for a 30-year mortgage, the fixed rate can be as low as the high 3’s to low 4’s. Fifteen-year loans may even be in the high 2’s. Refinancing may be a great way to lower your overall mortgage payments by dropping your interest rate. This could help to save you thousands over the life of your loan. If your interest rate is over 4.5% now is a great time to review refinance options.

Drop your PMI

The only type of mortgage where Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) drops off when you have 20% equity is the Conventional loan. Other types of loans, like the FHA, require PMI for the life of the loan. PMI usually costs 0.5 or 1% of the entire loan. It protects the bank from defaults. For you, it’s an extra cost — one that, once you’ve paid off 20% of the original loan value, you can refinance to remove. While it may not seem like a lot of money, 1% of a loan over the life of a 30-year mortgage can really add up over time. 

Extend your mortgage term

One reason folks often have trouble paying their monthly mortgage is that they think that a 15-year term is better than the 30-year. While it’s true that a 30-year mortgage takes longer to pay off, the monthly payments are lower. If your goal is a lower monthly budget, switching from a 15 to a 30-year will certainly do the trick. The only downside is the term of the loan is longer if you pay the minimum payments.

Also, if you already have a 30-year mortgage and refinance to a new one, you could still reduce your monthly payments.

Refinance from an FHA loan to a Conventional loan

You may have started with bad or low credit when you initially bought your house and had an FHA loan as the result. Or maybe you didn’t have enough money for a larger down payment. As your credit improves, you could have an opportunity to refinance your loan to a conventional mortgage. There are two advantages when refinancing an FHA to a Conventional loan: First, you could get rid of the Private Mortgage Insurance payments if you’ve paid 20% of the mortgage. Secondly, the interest rates for a Conventional loan may be lower than they are for FHA loans.

If you are thinking about refinancing your mortgage, contact one of our professional loan officers at 800-555-2098 to schedule an appointment. We can sit down and look at your financial situation and help you figure out the best way to lower your monthly mortgage payments.

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Mortgage Rates have Dropped to Recent Lows

average mortgage rates 2016

Interest rate chart data from Freddie Mac mortgage rates based on US weekly average survey.

Mortgage rates have dropped again officially hitting the lowest levels in one year which is near historic lows. According to the Freddie Mac weekly mortgage survey, rates are as low as 3.72% for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage and as low as 3.01% for a 15 year fixed rate mortgage.

If you have been considering refinancing your mortgage now is the time to lock in a low rate. With falling oil prices, stock investors have been getting nervous and fleeing to more stable and safe investments such as government bonds and mortgage backed securities. This demand to buy bundled mortgages has driven mortgage rates to recent record lows.

Refinance to Drop Mortgage Insurance

In additional to low mortgage rates, home values have been setting records for appreciation. The rise in home values may make it possible to drop mortgage insurance (PMI) which is required on most loans with less than 20% equity.

Refinance to a 15 Year Mortgage

Other homeowners may choose to refinance from higher rate 30 mortgages to low 15 year fixed rates and keep their mortgage payment low. Paying a mortgage off 15 years sooner has the potential to save thousands in mortgage interest.

Refinance from a FHA loan to a Conventional loan

Government backed mortgages, such as FHA loans, are a popular mortgage option for those with smaller down payments. While government loan rates may be low, they typically have higher monthly PMI than conventional mortgages.  Higher property values may allow homeowners to refinance from a FHA mortgage to a conventional loan and save significantly on their monthly payments.

For more information on your refinance options call a loan officer today at 800-555-2098 or request information below.

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