Susan Baghdasarian's Blog
You may have heard of private mortgage insurance, also known as PMI, but you’re probably not sure what exactly it is. If your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price of the home, then you’ll need to pay for this additional insurance in order to secure a loan for the home. This type of policy protects the lender if you end up in a foreclosure situation. This way, the lender is assured that they will not lose money.
Private mortgage insurance is also required if you refinance your home when it has accrued to less than 20% equity. Again, this protects the lender from losing money if the loan is defaulted on.
The fees involved with private mortgage insurance can range based on a few factors including the actual size of the down payment and your credit score. You can expect the cost of the insurance to be somewhere between 0.3% and 1.5% of the loan amount per year. The PMI premiums are tax deductible some years and other years they are not. It really all depends upon the state of the government and what they have enacted for the particular fiscal year. Private mortgage insurance premiums can be paid either monthly or with a large payment upfront, although most policies will require the borrower to pay on a monthly basis.
This Insurance Can Be Canceled
The lender will automatically cancel your PMI once the loan drops down to 78% of the home’s value. For this reason, you’ll want to keep track of your payments in order to see how far away you are from shedding this monthly fee. When your loan is paid down to 80% of the home’s original value, you have the right to ask your lender to discontinue to insurance premium payments.
What Is The Loan-To-Value Ratio?
This ratio is the amount of mortgage debt in the form a percentage based on how much the home is worth. It’s calculated by the following formula:
Amount owed on the mortgage/Appraised value
This is an important factor when it comes to matters of PMI insurance, as it’s how the required loan payment percentages are calculated. If a home is worth $100,000 and $80,000 is still owed on the home, the loan-to-value ratio is 80 percent. This means the borrower can request the insurance be cancelled.
FHA Loans Have Different Requirements
If you secure an FHA loan, they require the payment of PMI premiums for the entire life of the loan. You can’t exactly cancel these insurance payments but you can refinance the loan in order get rid of the insurance. This means that you will no longer have an FHA loan.
Private mortgage insurance can be a nuisance, however as a first-time homebuyer with little capital, the fees may be worth it when you’re able to secure your first home.
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It’s easy to fall in love with a house if it has all the features you’re looking for. However, it’s important not to ignore the qualities of the neighborhood the house is in as well.
The state of the surrounding neighborhood is important for many homeowners. You’ll use the local amenities, walk on the sidewalks, drive on the roads, and eventually even set the price of your home based partially on the price of those surrounding it.
In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the reasons you should pay attention to the neighborhood when shopping for homes, and what qualities to look for to find a place that has both high quality of life and resale value.
Neighborhood Inspection 101
There are a number of things you’ll want to learn about a neighborhood before you move in. Some of them you can observe with your own eye, some you can find online via public records, and others will require talking to the locals to see what their experience has been.
Things to observe
When you go to visit a home, set aside some time beforehand to drive around the neighborhood. Check out the roads, sidewalks, and the general state of the neighborhood. Boarded up houses and closed businesses aren’t always a sign of doom and gloom, but it can give you insight into the pricing of some homes and give you some negotiating power.
If you love the house and feel okay about the neighborhood swing by during rush hour, if possible. This will give you a sense of traffic and how long it will take you to get to work from your new home.
If you’re moving into a city, it’s also a good idea to check out the after-hours scene. If a peaceful evening at home is what you seek, it will be a good idea to know ahead of time if your street comes alive at night.
Things to research
It’s a good idea to get a feel for the local culture before buying a home to see if it fits with your lifestyle. Are businesses closed on Sundays? Are there community events and clubs that you ur your family would be interested in? You can find most information online through Facebook groups, library websites, and local newspapers.
If you’re concerned with crime, you can find local data online. Similarly, records are available for local schools, such as where the town’s test scores land compared to state and national averages.
Talk to the neighbors
The most practical way to learn about a neighborhood is to ask the people who live there. They’ll be able to tell you how it has changed over the years, which will give you a sense of where the neighborhood is headed. They can tell you whether it’s a neighborhood filled with young families or aging retirees, and will likely be able to let you know if there are any problems in the neighborhood.
Aside from the local culture, you should ask your potential new neighbors about the infrastructure. Do they have frequent power issues? Is there often noisy construction, or have there been potholes that haven’t been filled for years? You can learn a lot from the people who have lived in a neighborhood for multiple years.
An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) offers a home loan with an interest rate that may move up or down. Therefore, with an ARM, your mortgage payments may rise or fall depending on a variety of market factors.
For many homebuyers, an ARM remains a viable home financing option for a number of reasons, including:
1. Lower Interest Rate at the Beginning of Your Mortgage
An ARM enables you to purchase a home that may exceed your price range. As such, it frequently represents an ideal option for a young professional who expects his or her income to rise over the next few years.
With an ARM, you are able to lock in an interest rate for the first few years of your mortgage. For instance, with a 5/1 ARM, your interest rate will remain in place for the initial five years of your home loan. This means that your mortgage payments will remain the same for five years, then rise or fall based on market conditions.
Ultimately, an ARM may help you secure your dream home. In fact, an ARM often allows homebuyers to pay a lower interest rate at the beginning of a mortgage than the interest rate associated with many traditional fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) options.
2. Extra Savings for Home Improvements
If you choose an ARM with a below-average interest rate, you may be able to save extra money that you can use to improve your home.
For example, if you want to overhaul your residence's attic or basement or add an outdoor swimming pool, an ARM may help you do just that. Because you'll know exactly what you're paying for the first few years of your home loan, you can budget accordingly and invest in home improvements that may help you boost the value of your home.
3. Affordable Short-Term Financing
If you intend to live in a home for only a few years, an ARM may be preferable compared to an FRM.
In many instances, an ARM will feature a lower interest rate than an FRM. As a result, if you take advantage of an ARM, you may be able to secure a great house at an affordable price. Plus, if you sell your home before your initial interest rate expires, you can avoid the risk that your interest rate – and monthly mortgage costs – may rise.
Homebuyers should evaluate both ARM and FRM options. By doing so, a homebuyer can assess his or her home loan options and make an informed decision.
If you ever have ARM or FRM questions, banks and credit unions are happy to respond to your queries. These lenders will enable you to evaluate your financing needs so you can acquire your dream house.
Furthermore, consulting with your real estate agent may deliver immediate and long-lasting benefits. Your real estate agent can offer home loan recommendations and put you in touch with local lenders.
Dedicate the necessary time and resources to assess your home financing options, and you can move one step closer to securing your ideal house.