Why do I need mortgage insurance??

Why do I need mortgage insurance?

When buying a home, and getting a home loan, being approved or not all comes down to risk. If the mortgage company thinks you are a good risk, you get the loan. If you are too risky, you get denied. Pretty simple concept.

A good example of this concept is down payment size.  If you put at least 20% down, you are considered a good risk. Put less than 20% down, you are high risk. Needless to say, not everyone can put 20% or more down payment.

To minimize the lenders risk on small down payment loans, but yet allow for these same small and more affordable down payments, a tool called mortgage insurance, commonly referred to as PMI, or private mortgage insurance is available.

The insurance policy you are required to obtain and pay for as part of your monthly mortgage payment essentially provides protection to the lender in case you default on the loan, and covers the lender for the amount between 20% down and what you actually put down.

The cost of the mortgage insurance depends on multiple factors, but primarily down payment size, credit scores, and loan type.

The smaller your down payment, the higher the mortgage insurance costs. The lower your credit score, the higher the costs.  For example, A client with 10% down and an 800 credit score on a 30-yr fixed loan might pay about $30 a month per $100,000 loan amount for mortgage insurance. The same 10% down, but a client with just a 640 credit score might pay as much as $105 per month per $100,000 loan.

Contact your loan officer for exact monthly costs for your individual situation and down payment size, as this article covers basic and most common situations, but does not encompass every possible situation.

Typicaly standard PMI will automatically fall off your loan once you reach 78% of the original loan amount with no interaction from the homeowner. It is simply automatic.

You can request to have mortgage insurance removed from your loan once you believe you are at 80% of the original loan. The 80% mark can be based on a combination of paying down the loan, and today’s appraised value.  For example, you put 5% down when you bought the house, you’ve paid down through payments another 5%, and the home has appreciated 14% since you bought it.  That would put you ate 76% loan-to-value. So contact your lender on their proceedure to have mortgage insurance dropped.

Must Deal With Mortgage Insurance

If you are putting down less than 20%, you MUST deal with mortgage insurance somehow. Other than monthly mortgage insurance, lenders can also offer more creative options. The most popular is known as ‘lender paid mortgage insurance’, where the lender increases your interest rate, and uses the extra money to buy mortgage insurance. You still have it, but it doesn’t show as a monthly cost.

The next is known as ‘single premium’ insurance. Under this option, you pay a one time lump sum amount up-front at closing equal to 3-years of monthly mortgage insurance.

The last option, is getting two loans. An 80% first mortgage, and a second mortgage to cover the difference from what you have for down payment. This is a viable option primarily for high credit, low risk clients, and for jumbo loans over $424,100.

While these options may sound enticing, for most people, balancing up-front costs, long-term versus short-term costs, and overall benefits based on individual situations can become a mind numbing challenge.  Suffice to say the vast majority of people go with standard monthly mortgage insurance for a reason.

FHA Loan Mortgage Insurance

FHA loans also have mortgage insurance, but this insurance is significantly different from conventional loan mortgage insurance.

Most people using FHA loans put the minimum down payment of 3.50%, and take a 30-yr fixed loan. Most FHA mortgage insurance is the same for everyone regardless of down payment size or credit score.  For small down payments, this is roughly $85 per month per $100,000 loan amount.Next, FHA mortgage insurance for small down payments is called ‘Life of Loan’ insurance, which means regardless of future loan-to-value, appreciation, or what you’ve paid down, FHA mortgage insurance never goes away. The only way to remove it is to refinace the loan.

Another item with FHA loans, is that regardless of down payment size, ALL FHA loans will have insurance. So contact your loan officer for exact monthly costs for your individual FHA insurance, especially if you are putting more than 10% down or picking a 15-year loan.

PMI is Not Homeowners Insurance

Mortgage insurance often times gets confused with home owners insurance.  PMI protects the lender from default, while home owners insurance protects the owner for items like fire, storm damage, theft, etc.

VA Loans Have NO Mortgage Insurance

If you are active or former U.S. military, you have a great benefit in a VA Home Loan. Most people know VA loans generally do NOT require a down payment, they also have NO monthly mortgage insurance.  This can be a huge monthly savings over other loans.

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Author Joe Metzler is a Senior Mortgage Loan Officer for Minnesota based Mortgages Unlimited. He was named the 2014 Minnesota Loan Officer of the Year, and Top 300 Loan Officers in the Nation for 2010, 2015, 2016.  He provides Home Mortgage Loans in MN, WI, and SD. He can be reached at (651) 552-3681. NMLS 274132.


Tips for getting a VA Loan

Tips for getting a VA Loan in MN, WI, or SD

VA Mortgage Lender in MN and WI, SDMinneapolis, MN: If you are an active or military veteran, the VA home loan is one of the most amazing benefits provided to you for your service to our country.

The two biggest benefits of a VA mortgage loan are simple…

    1. No down payment required
    2. No monthly mortgage insurance, which can save you a HUGE amount of money when buying a home.

Basic VA Loan Eligibility Requirements for a VA loan

The first step is to understand if you qualify for VA Loan benefits.  The vast majority of people with regular service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard qualify as long you have served  active duty a minimum of 181 days (90 days during the Gulf War). and you haven’t been dishonorably discharged.

Reserves and National Guard have to have completed 6-years of basic service, or at least 90-days of active duty (deployed) service.

There are all sorts of additional rules and guidelines in terms of service less time, and still qualifying. These include hardship early out, and service related disabilities. There are even options for the surviving spouse of a veteran who passed away during active duty to obtain a VA home loan.

Anyone dishonorably discharged from service does not qualify for a VA Loan, and some with less than honorable discharge may also not qualify.

VA loans MN, WIAlways check with an experienced VA Loan Officer if you have questions about your eligibility.

Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

All VA are require to obtain a copy of your VA certificate of Eligibility (COE).  The certificate tells the lender if you qualify, if you have a service related disability, and if you’ve used your VA Loan benefits previously.

Most veterans don’t seem to know where their certificate is these days – but that is OK.  Experienced VA Loan officers can usually obtain your COE in just a few minutes through a special VA Lender Portal called ACE.  Sometimes we can’t get it, and will need you to sign VA Form 26-1880, and for you to supply your discharge papers (like a DD214)

VA Home Loan Specialist

While most of the basic guidelines for a VA Home Loan are similar to any other mortgage loan, there are enough other requirements that anyone not specifically trained and experienced in VA loans is someone to avoid.  I hear from people all the time that they started a VA loan application at some other company, only to realize the loan officer has no VA loan experience.

VA Loan Application

Before you apply for a VA Loan with just anyone, I strongly suggest you contact a local to your area VA Loan Specialist.  Someone right down the street that you can go meet with well documented VA Loan experience.

There are a lot of VA Mortgage lenders.  We suggest you don’t take a chance with your largest financial transaction trying to get approved over the phone with some out state internet based lender. There is NOTHING they can offer that you can’t get locally.
Stop by my St Paul, MN office. Let’s chat, have a coffee, and get your VA Loan in MN approved today!