Tags Posts tagged with "PMI – Mortgage Insurance"

PMI – Mortgage Insurance

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Countrywide Home LoansWell…sort of.

I made the big move yesterday afternoon and made an extra payment of $900 to Countrywide that put my current loan to value percentage at 79.998 percent.

Yes, that’s less than $3 over the mark but they can’t deny that it is, infact, over the mark.

Then I submitted a request to have the mortgage insurance removed.

The automated response:

The research request has been submitted for review. Please allow up to 3 weeks for research to be completed. When the research has been completed, a letter will be sent to the address of record containing the results. Once you receive the letter, should you have any additional questions, please use the contact information provided in the letter.

Three weeks? Sheesh. I dunno, seems like something a computer could do. I could even write the program for them to check their database of customers.

So I guess I’m in a bit of a foggy period. That’s okay, I’ll stay the course with the mortgage as the top priority until the letter arrives.

I’m a bit of a pessimist, so I’m not really expecting a favorable result. Somehow I can just see the letter saying that my loan isn’t old enough (70 months) or that I’m too close to the 80% mark and they won’t drop it until I hit 78% mark.

Even worse, they’ll pull out a recent headline as an excuse and say it can’t be dropped because the value of the property has dropped in recent months. Or ask me to pay for an appraisal. Ugh…

I’ve read that mortgage companies have to legally cancel PMI at 78%. Seems a little crooked to me. Why is it not 80%? Oh, so someone out there can line their pockets for a few extra years… I get it.

Anyway, I’ve got my fingers crossed!

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It feels like it’s been months since I last accomplished a financial goal. In fact, it *has* been months. It’s getting me down.

I eliminated $28k+ worth of credit card debt way back on March 27 with a $508.13 payment to Chase Bank.

Seems like forever ago already.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though, for my next target — eliminating the PMI I’m charged each month on my mortgage bill.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – PMI is extra insurance that lenders require from most homebuyers who obtain loans that are more than 80 percent of their new home’s value. In other words, buyers with less than a 20 percent down payment are normally required to pay PMI.

PMI plays an important role in the mortgage industry by protecting a lender against loss if a borrower defaults on a loan and by enabling borrowers with less cash to have greater access to homeownership. With this type of insurance, it is possible for you to buy a home with as little as a 3 percent to 5 percent down payment. This means that you can buy a home sooner without waiting years to accumulate a large down payment.

Under HPA, you have the right to request cancellation of PMI when you pay down your mortgage to the point that it equals 80 percent of the original purchase price or appraised value of your home at the time the loan was obtained, whichever is less. You also need a good payment history, meaning that you have not been 30 days late with your mortgage payment within a year of your request, or 60 days late within two years. Your lender may require evidence that the value of the property has not declined below its original value and that the property does not have a second mortgage, such as a home equity loan.

I’ve got $1448 to go before I hit the magic 20% number when I can request that it be dropped. This will result in a $1k+ savings each year for me.

Right now, I’m sending $150 towards principle every Monday. My monthly mortgage payment knocks off $210 each month (increasing $5 each month). And to make each monthly payment a nice round number (it makes the checks easier to write), I also send an additional $45 that is applied directly to principle.

I’ve already paid the mortgage for June so the numbers for the rest of the month are pretty simple to calculate. There are 3 Mondays remaining this month, so subtract $450 from the total.

$1448 – $450 = $998

I’ll mail in the next mortgage payment (which is actually due August 1) in the first week of July. That will take at the very least another $255 off the total sum. The 4 Mondays in the month will total $600.

$998 – $255 – $600 = $143

On the current course, I’ll complete this goal on the first Monday in August. That isn’t very far away.

But July happens to be a 3-paycheck month for me, so providing that our upcoming vacation doesn’t go way over budget and property taxes on our vehicles don’t kick my butt, I’ll likely send in an extra $500 (or so) in July to really break past the magic number before submitting my request to Countrywide to have the PMI dropped.

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My house is protected by PMI!The more I think about it, the more I want to focus on paying down the mortgage.

When I paid off the last of my credit card debt, the house just happened to become the top priority. Not for any real reason other than the fact that I already had an automatic payment plan in place. With the extra money around, I just increased the size of my payments.

After around a month, though, I realized that it wasn’t exactly the wisest path to take. I switched things up and started paying down my auto loan instead. I also increased my savings rate.

But now, I’m starting to lean back towards the mortgage again…

Yes, all of this flip-flopping in just 2 months time. I should run for office.

I haven’t put anything into place just yet, but while going through my records, I noticed that my mortgage holder (CountryWide) does their escrow analysis on my account each year somewhere between October and November. For the past 4 years, anyway, it’s been one of those two months.

Now, my whole point of paying down the mortgage quickly is to eliminate the monthly PMI that I’m paying out of that escrow account.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – PMI is extra insurance that lenders require from most homebuyers who obtain loans that are more than 80 percent of their new home’s value. In other words, buyers with less than a 20 percent down payment are normally required to pay PMI.

PMI plays an important role in the mortgage industry by protecting a lender against loss if a borrower defaults on a loan and by enabling borrowers with less cash to have greater access to homeownership. With this type of insurance, it is possible for you to buy a home with as little as a 3 percent to 5 percent down payment. This means that you can buy a home sooner without waiting years to accumulate a large down payment.

Under HPA, you have the right to request cancellation of PMI when you pay down your mortgage to the point that it equals 80 percent of the original purchase price or appraised value of your home at the time the loan was obtained, whichever is less. You also need a good payment history, meaning that you have not been 30 days late with your mortgage payment within a year of your request, or 60 days late within two years. Your lender may require evidence that the value of the property has not declined below its original value and that the property does not have a second mortgage, such as a home equity loan.

Eliminating the PMI from my mortgage bill would essentially ensure that an additional $85.15 would go towards principle each month. (Technically, my minimum mortgage payment would go down after the analysis, but I’d continue to send in the same amount on my own — resulting in the $85.15 per month increase.)

That sounds like a good thing, right?

Well, considering that my regular payment applies less than $300 towards principle each month, an additional $85.15 is like increasing my payment by over 25% — and that’s without sending them an additional dime. That makes it very attractive.

As of today, I have $1901 more to knock off the principle before I can safely request that they remove the PMI from the calculation.

To be safe, I think I should press to reach that goal by September, at the latest, to ensure that I get there before they kick off their analysis procedure.

(I’m aware that I can request that PMI be removed any time after I reach the 20% level, but the escrow analysis locks in my monthly payment for an entire year. If I don’t make it by the upcoming analysis, what was going towards the PMI will just sit in the escrow account and result in an escrow overage. In that case, they’ll send me a check of the difference in November of 2009 after the next analysis — not exactly ideal which is why I’m trying to avoid the scenario all together.)

So, with most of my income for June likely being sucked up by our upcoming vacation, I’m thinking that, to be safe, I’ll have to send around $2000 extra towards the principle spread accross July, August, and the first few weeks of September.

That’s a definite possibility if I scale back the current plan of $1000 towards the car and $1000 towards savings each month.

Actually, if I were feeling really daring, I’d just take the $2000 I have in savings right now and send it right to Countrywide and call it a day (or year?)… Nah, not feeling it…

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Mortgage first?
I have 3 financial goals remaining for 2008, and right now I’m the furthest along in my quest to eliminate Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) from the mortgage.

With momentum on my side, I’m eager to finish this one off, but is it the wisest move?

Let’s see…

The other two remaining goals are paying off the auto loan and piling up $10k in savings. Comparing the interest rates of all three, the goal of coming up with $10k in savings comes dead last:

Goal	   Rate
------------------
PMI	   6.735%
Auto	   5.350%
Savings    2.960%

Add in that I only currently have $500 in savings, earning me less than $2 per month, well, that must make it the third priority. It’s not doing anything for me at this point.

To eliminate PMI, as of this morning, I need to take another $3147 off of the total balance of my mortgage.

By accomplishing this, my monthly mortgage bill will not change in the short term, but instead of $85.15 being taken from escrow each month, it will remain, well, in escrow.

When my mortgage company reviews my payment again, usually towards the end of the year, I might see my monthly payment fall around $60. (Not the full $85 due to tax increases and higher insurance premiums which are also paid from the escrow account.)

The auto loan currently has a balance of $6668 — double the amount I need on the mortgage.

Though I’ve been overpaying it since the start, it’s minimum payment each month is $289. By eliminating this debt, the result will be $289 that I can send elsewhere each month — but it will take me twice as long to get there (because the auto loan balance is twice as large as the number I need to hit on the mortgage).

Hmm…

In the long run, it’s obvious to me that paying down the mortgage makes the most financial sense. It will undoubtedly save me tens of thousands in the end — especially if I keep up with the additional payments.

But if the real goal is to have more money in my pocket at the end of the day (and by the end of this year), then the auto loan goal should take precedence as it will allow me to have more money in pocket to fund the savings (and even the mortgage) goal.

I’ve got a couple decisions to make as I’ve already gotten going with the mortgage being priority number one

And that was probably the wrong move in the short run…

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For illustrative purposes only — I’ve never had a Discover Card.By my calculations and over the trend of the past few months where my income has dropped, but stabilized, and after all of the monthly bills are paid, I should now find myself with roughly an additional $1500, on average, in my checking account each month for “daily life” expenses.

Prior to this month, 100% of that (and then some) went towards debt repayment.

I still have debts to repay, mortgage and auto loan, but the credit card debt is gone.

I’ve found some time to run some numbers and weigh a few different options to see what the best route to take with the “extra” $1500 would be and I think I’ve settled on one.

For all of my examples, I’m going to assume that each month has 4 weeks — it’s just easier to figure out that way.

At the start of April, I already chipped into the original $1500 dollars when I set up a weekly $75 auto-transfer into my ING account. I’m not planning on altering that right now.

$1500 – ($75 x 4 weeks) = $1200

This is where the decisions need to be made. The interest rate on my auto loan is 5.35% and I get hit for around $30 in finance charges each month. The interest rate on my mortgage is 6.735% and I get hit for around $650 each month.

Dave Ramsey would say I should attack the auto loan because it’s the smallest balance and not the mortgage. Clark Howard would probably say the same thing, though he may make note of the fact that the auto loan has the smaller interest rate.

But I’m considering going the more logical route. Yeah, the rate on the mortgage is higher, but that’s not the main reason. The Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) I’m continuing to pay is the reason.

PMI is extra insurance that the mortgage companies require from homebuyers who obtain loans that are more than 80 percent of their new home’s value. Basically, if your down payment was less than 20 percent, you’re going to have to pay PMI until you reach that 20 percent mark.

PMI is costing me $85.15 each month. That’s over $1000 each year. I’ve paid my mortgage 66 times so far. That means I’ve paid PMI 66 times and that adds up to $5619.90.

That could have, and should have, gone towards principle. With it, I’d have hit the 20% mark long ago. In the first few years of a 30-year loan, an additional $5k thrown towards the principle would have made a HUGE difference!

Basically, PMI hurts a lot more than the monthly $85.15 let’s on.

Eliminating PMI (on top of paying down the higher rate first) would be the most beneficial route, financially, for me so that’s the route I’m going to focus on.

For the remainder of April, I’m just going to let the dust settle, just pay the mortgage and auto loan like I have been for months, and build up a bit of a cash cushion in my checking account.

This new strategy will commence in May.

I’m going to double the weekly principle payment on the mortgage, from $125/week up to $250/week.

$1200 – ($125 x 4 weeks) = $700

This will allow me to eliminate PMI (and, in turn, subtract an additional $85.15 from the principle each month) by September 2008.

It will also put me on pace to pay off the mortgage in February of 2014, though that isn’t the real goal. I’m thinking more short term just to eliminate the PMI at which point I’ll weigh my options again.

For now, this will leave me with $700 worth of “spending” money each month. I’m thinking I can throw half of that towards the auto loan with each monthly payment.

$700 – $350 = $350

This would put me on pace to have the auto loan paid off in January of 2009. Based on my goals for 2008, that’s not good enough, so any additional money that comes my way will be tossed this direction as well.

In the end, this plan will continue to pay down my debts at a hectic pace, but still allow me to have $350 worth of spending money each month — and that’s $350 more than I have in my pocket right now.

Crazy what eliminating a little credit card debt can get ya…

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Countrywide Home LoansAs always, there has been a lot of debate about whether or not it is wise to pay off your mortgage early.

JD’s post on Get Rich Slowly yesterday, and the comments on it inspired this post.

Last summer I started sending an additional $25/week towards the principle on my mortgage. Then, at the tail end of December, I picked up the pace, increasing my weekly principle payments to $125/week. So far, so good.

I haven’t “missed” any of that money (yet), and it’s put my mortgage on schedule to be payed off in June of 2017. That’s exciting.

But then you read about how stupid some think it is to pre-pay a mortgage… Invest the difference instead… One comment, from Kaleb, on the original post struck a chord:

I just got out of credit card debt this month ($11,000 or so paid off in 6 months). Now, like J.D. I have tons of extra money each month. If I prepaid my mortgage $2,000/mo, I’d have it paid off in less than 5 years. But if I saved $2,000/mo and got 6%, I’d have enough CASH to pay my mortgage off in 5 years, and that’s not counting the tax deduction! It’s the same thing, but with more security! It’s the smart thing to do!

I think I’m disciplined enough to take this route instead of what I’ve been doing. But… not this year.

You see, I’m still paying PMI on my mortgage — and that has got to stop. The sooner, the better.

So, for the remainder of the year, I’m going to keep on sending in that $125/week until I hit the mark where I can drop the PMI (currently costing me around $85/month). Right now, that should happen in October or November.

Once I’m there, Kaleb’s plan will go into effect in an ING account or something. Not earning the 6% he mentions, but something that I’d have access to if things got tight.

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