If you make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price of the home, mortgage lenders generally require that you take out Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) that protects the lender incase you default on your mortgage. You may need to pay up to a year’s worth of premium for this coverage at closing, which can amount to as much as several hundred dollars. One obvious way to avoid this extra cost is to make a 20% down payment. There are also other ways to eliminate PMI such as 80-10-10 financing which is further described in this section.
How does PMI work?
PMI companies write insurance protecting approximately the top 20% of the mortgage against default, depending on the lender’s and investor’s requirements, the loan-to-value ratio, and the particular loan program involved. Should a default occur, the lender sells the property to liquidate the debt, and is reimbursed by the PMI company for any remaining amount up to the policy value.
Could obtaining PMI help me qualify for a larger loan?
Yes. Let’s say that you are a family with $42,000 annual gross income and monthly revolving debts of $800 (car payment and credit cards) and have $10,000 for a down payment and closing costs on a mortgage at 7% interest. Without PMI, the maximum price you can afford is $44,600. But with private mortgage insurance covering the lender’s risk, you can buy a house worth $62,300. PMI has afforded you 39% more house.
What does PMI cost?
Costs vary from insurer to insurer, as well as from plan to plan. For example, a highly leveraged adjustable rate mortgage would require the borrower to pay a higher premium to obtain coverage. Buyers with 5% down payment can expect to pay a premium of approximately 0.78% times the annual loan amount ($92.67 monthly for a $150,000 purchase price). But the PMI premium would drop to around 0.52% times the annual loan amount ($58.50 monthly) if a 10% down payment was made on the loan.
How does the buyer apply for PMI?
Although the buyer typically bears the cost of PMI, the lender is the PMI company’s client, and shops for the PMI on behalf of the borrower. Many lenders deal with only a few PMI companies because they know the guidelines for those insurers. This can be a problem when one of the lender’s prime companies turns down a loan because the borrower doesn’t fit its risk parameters. An uneneterprising lender might follow suit and deny approval on the loan application without consulting even a second PMI company. This obviously could leave all the parties involved in an undesirable position.
The lender has an increasingly difficult task to be fair to the borrower while shopping for the most effective method to soften liability. Sometimes, it may appear that a lender has no justification for doing what he or she does – but if we look deeper, it is undoubtedly there.
|Amerin Guaranty Corporation
303 East Wacker Drive, Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60601
|PMI Mortgage Insurance Company
601 Mongomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
|Commonwealth Mortgage Assurance Company
1601 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2197
|Republic Mortgage Insurance Co.
P.O. Box 2514
Winston-Salem, NC 27102-9954
|G.E. Capital Mortgage Insurance Corporation
P.O. Box 177800
Raleigh, NC 27615
|Triad Guaranty Insurance Corp.
P.O. Box 25623
Winston-Salem, NC 27114
|Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation
P.O. Box 488
Milwaukee, WI 53201
|United Guaranty Corporation
P.O. Box 21567
Greensboro, NC 27420
If you are looking for a loan and need to understand ARMs then keep reading. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM)’s are loans whose interest rate can vary during the loan’s term. These loans usually have a fixed interest rate for an initial period of time and then can adjust based on current market conditions.
Although the initial rate on an ARM is lower than the rate on a fixed rate mortgage, the ARM will adjust to higher rates. When the time comes for the ARM to adjust, the margin will be added to the index and typically rounded to the nearest 1/8 of one percent to arrive at the new interest rate. That rate will then be fixed for the next adjustment period. This adjustment can occur every year, but there are factors limiting how much the rates can adjust. These factors are called “caps”. Suppose you had a “3/1 ARM” with an initial cap of 2%, a lifetime cap of 6%, and initial interest rate of 6.25%. The highest rate you could have in the fourth year would be 8.25%, and the highest rate you could have during the life of the loan would be 12.25%.
Some ARMs have a conversion feature that would allow you to convert the loan from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate. There is a minimal charge to convert; however, the conversion rate is usually slightly higher than the market rate that the lender could provide you at that time by refinancing.
Adjustable rate mortgages are usually amortized over a period of 30 years with the initial rate being fixed for anywhere from 1 month to 10 years. All ARM loans have a “margin” plus an “index.” Margins on loans range from 1.75% to 3.5% depending on the index and the amount financed in relation to the property value. The index is the financial instrument that the ARM loan is tied to such as: 1-Year Treasury Security, LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate), Prime, 6-Month Certificate of Deposit (CD) and the 11th District Cost of Funds (COFI).
What is a HUD home?
It is a house that has a HUD-insured mortgage loan on it. When the owner doesn’t make the payments, HUD pays the lender what is owed, and then takes ownership of the home. They try selling it quickly, and at market value. Virtually anyone who can pay cash or get a loan is eligible to buy these houses. (HUD employees and relatives of HUD employees are eligible, but must receive written approval from the Director of HUD’s Office of Single Family Asset Management in order to purchase a HUD-owned single family property.)
HUD homes are found in all sorts of neighborhoods, although most are meant to be affordable to low-income and moderate-income families. These are homes that generally sell for the same as surrounding homes (except when they need work). To find HUD homes in the price range you want, then, you simply look for neighborhoods with homes in that price range. If A HUD house need fixing up the asking price will reflect that. HUD may offer special incentives such as an allowance to upgrade the property, a moving expense allowance, or a bonus for closing the sale early. The houses are sold “as is,” but HUD will allow you to get professional inspections prior to making an offer. The cost of these will be yours, however, whether or not you make an offer or buy the home.
On most sales, you can request that HUD pays all or a portion of your financing and closing costs. Essentially you just make an offer as you would on any property, except that HUD homes are typically sold in an “Offer Period,” at the end of which all offers are opened and the highest reasonable bid is accepted. If not sold in the initial Offer Period, you can submit a bid any day of the week, including weekends and holidays, until the home is sold. If your bid is accepted, your real estate agent will usually be notified within 48 hours.
HUD doesn’t loan on these homes, although they do offer mortgage insurance programs that can help you get a loan. Contact a HUD approved lender for more information.
The most important issue in the entire foreclosure process is that of how long it will take from the first payment being missed to the eviction of the homeowners. It is also an issue that most foreclosure victims have no idea about, and spend more time worrying about than any other aspect. Without knowing if or when the process has started, when the sheriff sale will be conducted, and how long they have after the auction until they are removed from the property, homeowners feel they have little control over the situation. Having a firm idea of the time frame of the foreclosure process, though, will allow them to put together reasonable plans to stop it with the time they have available.
The timeline of the foreclosure process will depend almost entirely on the state laws, so homeowners in danger of missing more than one mortgage payment should look those up as soon as possible. Various time lines are determined by the state, including notices that must be posted or mailed, redemption periods after the sale, and the scheduling and confirmation of the sheriff sale. Even procedures for postponing a sheriff sale are determined by the state laws. All of these aspects will be taken into account for the actual time that foreclosure victims have available to save their homes.
However, in general, the mortgage company will start the foreclosure process about 3-6 months after the first missed mortgage payment. Even though they can start it after the loan is technically in default (after 30 days late), lenders understand that many homeowners face short-term financial hardships and will be able to get back on track quickly. If the homeowners are keeping in contact with the bank, working out a repayment plan or trying to sell, they may postpone the actual foreclosure filing for a number of months, depending on the success of the homeowners. The mortgage company will want to give their clients some extra time to pay the loan back if the lines of communication are open. Of course, if the homeowners do not call the bank and ignore the phone when the lender calls to find out why they are not making the payments, then the foreclosure will begin much earlier.
Generally, a few weeks to a few months after the foreclosure is filed, the sheriff sale will be conducted at the county courthouse. Again, homeowners can get this postponed for a while, if they are working on a solution to save the home. Keeping in contact with the bank, letting them know how the process is going, and asking for more time if it is needed are all actions that foreclosure victims can take to prevent losing the home at a hastily scheduled foreclosure auction. The homeowners will have to put something in writing to the bank to show what they are working on, but postponing a sheriff sale can be quite simple. All it takes is communicating with the bank and working on a solution to the problem.
Now, after the sheriff sale, there are two possibilities, depending on the state foreclosure laws. First, the eviction process may begin right away. If this is the case, it can be another 2 weeks to a month or so between the sale date and the eviction date. The bank will have to ask the court for possession, the court will have to confirm the sale and order the county sheriff to evict the former homeowners and change the locks. But this is not a one-day process, with the sheriff kicking out the homeowners a few hours after the auction. Homeowners will still have a small amount of time to plan their future, find a new place to live after foreclosure, and move items out of the house.
The second possibility is if the state law allows for a redemption period, which is extra time after the sale that homeowners can work to keep their homes. During the redemption, they can try refinancing, selling, or paying the loan in full some other way, and keep the home in their names. After the end of redemption, though, the eviction process will start and it will be a few weeks after that that the sheriff shows up to remove everyone. But, if homeowners are unaware of the extra time they are given by state law, they may move out of the house before they have to. Redemption periods can be used by homeowners to begin a savings plan, pay off other debts to improve their credit, or begin to recover financially in other ways.
Without having the relevant information to understand how long the foreclosure process will take, many homeowners make mistakes that could otherwise be avoided. They may believe they have to move out before it is necessary, crippling their ability to start repairing their financial lives. Or, they may think that they have a lot of time left because of faulty assumptions about when the bank will start the foreclosure process, which can leave them staring at a sheriff sale before they even know it has been scheduled. Knowing how long foreclosure takes, and understanding that it is conducted differently in each state, is some of the most important advice that homeowners can receive, and will allow them the greatest chances to save their homes.