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Let The August Group Inc. help you determine if you can cancel your PMI

It's typically known that a 20% down payment is common when buying a house. Considering the risk for the lender is often only the remainder between the home value and the sum due on the loan, the 20% supplies a nice cushion against the costs of foreclosure, reselling the home, and natural value fluctuationson the chance that a borrower doesn't pay.

Lenders were working with down payments as low as 10, 5 and often 0 percent in the peak of last decade's mortgage boom. How does a lender endure the added risk of the low down payment? The answer is Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI. This additional policy guards the lender in case a borrower doesn't pay on the loan and the value of the property is lower than the balance of the loan.

PMI is costly to a borrower because the $40-$50 a month per $100,000 borrowed is rolled into the mortgage monthly payment and often isn't even tax deductible. It's favorable for the lender because they obtain the money, and they get the money if the borrower defaults, different from a piggyback loan where the lender absorbs all the losses.

Does your monthly mortgage payment include PMI? Contact us, you may be able to save money by removing your PMI.

How can a homebuyer refrain from paying PMI?

The Homeowners Protection Act of 1998 requires the lenders on nearly all loans to automatically terminate the PMI when the principal balance of the loan reaches 78 percent of the original loan amount. The law guarantees that, at the request of the homeowner, the PMI must be dropped when the principal amount reaches only 80 percent. So, wise home owners can get off the hook a little early.

Because it can take many years to get to the point where the principal is only 20% of the original amount of the loan, it's important to know how your home has grown in value. After all, all of the appreciation you've accomplished over time counts towards dismissing PMI. So why pay it after the balance of your loan has fallen below the 80% threshold? Your neighborhood might not be following the national trends and/or your home may have gained equity before things simmered down, so even when nationwide trends hint at plunging home values, you should realize that real estate is local.

A certified, licensed real estate appraiser can help homeowners understand just when their home's equity goes over the 20% point, as it's a tough thing to know. It's an appraiser's job to recognize the market dynamics of their area. At The August Group Inc., we're masters at recognizing value trends in St Louis, Saint Louis County and surrounding areas, and we know when property values have risen or declined. When faced with data from an appraiser, the mortgage company will usually do away with the PMI with little anxiety. At which time, the homeowner can retain the savings from that point on.

Want to learn more about PMI and the Homeowners Protection Act? Click this link:
Cancellation of Private Mortgage Insurance: Federal Law May Save You Hundreds of Dollars Each Year