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The following is a guest post contributed by Genworth Financial. Enjoy!
Private mortgage insurance (or as it is often abbreviated, PMI) protects the home loan lender in the event of a loan default. Essentially, it acts as a form of protection for the lender if the home buyer gets in to trouble and can no longer pay their mortgage.
Some Often-Forgotten Benefits of Private Mortgage Insurance
I know, I know. At first glance, this coverage called private mortgage insurance might seem like nothing more than yet another monthly fee that you have to pay on top of all of the other fees you’re already paying as a home owner. However, the bottom line of the matter is that at the end of the day, the bank is the one lending you the money to buy your house, and therefore, you must play by their rules.
As such, for the many individuals looking to obtain traditional loans from banks to buy a house, it’s good to know some of the benefits provided by having private mortgage insurance. I’ve listed a few of these below:
- Lower interest rates / monthly payments:
- As we’ve discussed previously on My Personal Finance Journey, your rate of return depends upon the amount of risk you’re willing to take on. From the perspective of a bank, this is no different. If the bank is going to be exposed to more risk, they are going to demand a higher return from you in the form of a higher interest rate.
- Thus, it makes sense that having this type of insurance to shelter the lender will save you some money.
- Lower down payments:
- Without mortgage insurance, the lender requires that you put down more than 20% of the home’s value up front.
- If you’re buying a $200,000 house, this adds up to $40,000. Do you think most people have that type of money?
- Mortgage insurance is tax deductible:
- This is something I didn’t know before researching for this post! PMI is tax-deductible, right along with your interest payments on your home loan.
- Job Loss Protection:
- Many mortgage insurance providers these days are offering programs to work with you during periods where you are temporarily unemployed to help you keep up with your monthly home payments.
For the majority of regular home-buyers, I imagine that private mortgage insurance will be required in order for them to purchase a home, especially since it’s rare for people these days to have cash reserves equivalent to 20% of a home’s value.
However, if you decide that mortgage insurance is not suited for your personal needs, it’s also good to know of ways to obtain a home loan that do not require PMI. Some of these methods are discussed below:
Putting Down a Large Down Payment
Putting down at least 20% of the home’s value in the form of a down payment will eliminate the need for you to buy private mortgage insurance.
Getting a Special Loan
You can also qualify for special federal loan programs due to your occupation that will take care of any mortgage insurance for you. Doctors, nurses, and teachers are eligible for these programs in many states because of the demand for the professions.
Have the Seller Pay Your PMI
How about you all? If you’ve gone through the home-buying and home-loan acquisition process, did you have to pay for private mortgage insurance on your home loan? If not, how did you avoid paying this fee?
Do you think a 20% down-payment is too high of a level to pay in order to avoid paying private mortgage insurance?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.
- @ Special federal loan programs based on your occupation –
- I admit that I wasn’t aware of any of these special programs that you could use if you have a certain occupation to avoid paying private mortgage insurance.
- Does anyone else have any experience using these?
- Additionally, I have heard of some companies helping secure favorable mortgage terms with employees that move for a job change. These people usually can secure a pretty sweet deal too! It’s possible that in these cases, the company could in some way help with paying the mortgage insurance.
- @ Getting the seller to help you out with paying private mortgage insurance –
- This is truly an amazingly opportunistic idea! Kudos for coming up with it!
- It really is hard to imagine that just several years ago, houses were being bought and sold like crazy and now, 4-5 years later, sellers are SO DESPERATE to sell/find buyers that they’ll even bend as far as paying mortgage insurance for the potential buyer.
- However, as a buyer, it is my personal opinion that you have an obligation to use all of the tactics at your disposal to try to get the best deal for yourself and your family! Therefore, this strategy of getting the seller to potentially pay for your PMI is worth a shot at the very least!
- It also reminds me of how ALMOST EVERYTHING in the home-buying/selling process is negotiable – inspection fee, home repairs before sale, real estate agent fees, closing fees, ALL OF IT! And, it never hurts to at least ask if the seller or buyer is willing to cover certain non-traditional costs if you have the “upper-hand” in the transaction process.
***Photo courtesy of http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5014/5547563982_d4d6bedafe.jpg