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How to Avoid Paying Mortgage Insurance

In today's world, a borrower should not be paying mortgage insurance (PMI) on their home mortgage with a few exceptions such as an FHA loan. Mortgage Insurance is a thing of the past.

Let's first explain what mortgage insurance is. A lender requires a borrower to pay mortgage insurance if the loan amount is greater than 80% of the value of the home on a single loan. The reason this is the case is the loan is not sellable in the secondary financial markets as it does not meet certain guidelines. As a result, the lender makes you pay for their insurance in the event you default on the loan. The insurance will cover the lender for the balance of the loan plus expenses. The problem for borrowers is that mortgage insurance is expensive?..sometimes $100 or more per month.

Fortunately in today's mortgage world, we have legal common ways to avoid paying mortgage insurance in most cases. Let's say you are a first time home buyer and only have 5% to put down on a condo or house. A mortgage professional should do two loans for you. A First Mortgage Loan in the amount of 80% of the value of your home and then a Second Mortgage for the remaining 15% of the loan balance. This would be called an 80/15/5 (80% 1st Loan, 15% 2nd Loan, 5% Down)

The question you ask is why? Well, by doing two loans your payment every month will be cheaper so take a look at this example to see why.

For example, let's say you had 10% to put down, we would do a 1st loan at 80% and then a 2nd loan at 10%. The 2nd loan will always carry a higher interest rate, but when you break the numbers down, it's cheaper from a payment point of view to have the two loans.

Here is a $180,000 loan at 6% fixed rate for 30 years.

Option 1 with PMI
Single Loan 90%
P&I $1,079
PMI $ 85
Payment $1,164

Option 2 with 2nd note and no PMI
Two Loans 80% / 10%
P&I 1st Loan $971
P&I 2nd Loan $126
Payment $1,097

In this example, the borrower will save $67 per month by not paying Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Depending on the type of loan, the Second Mortgage often times can have an interest only option where your payment would even be less on a monthly basis. The downside to this solution is your not paying down the principle on your 2nd mortgage, however if you're a first time home buyer with limited cash flow, this would be a viable solution for you. A mortgage professional should lay out the various options for you in writing so you can make an educated decision as to the best solution for you.

If your currently in a loan with mortgage insurance, then you need to speak with a mortgage professional immediately so your not wasting money on a monthly basis. Your mortgage professional should provide an analysis to determine if doing the transaction is feasible for you with consideration of some closing costs.

(Per the FHA, all FHA loans require mortgage insurnace if the loan is 80% or greater. the mortage insurance will remain in effect for a period of 5 years. If after the 5 years and your loan balance has fallen below 78% of the value of your home, you will be eligable to stop paying mortgage insurance.

Douglas Boncosky is a Mortgage Professional and Author. Doug has published a number of articles, guides and books including the 50 page book, "First Time Buyers Guide to a Stress Free Home Buying Process" Doug is Personal Mortgage Advisor for Smart Mortgage Access, a Schuamburg, IL based mortgage broker. Doug is also Founder & Executive Director of The Advisors Club, a organization exclusively for Chicago area Real Estate Professionals. For more information, please contact Doug at


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