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how much down to avoid pmi

PMI benefits the buyer in a number of ways, most prominently via reducing the down payment required to buy a home. In many markets around the United States, an "affordable home" costs north of $400,000. Assume for a moment that mortgage insurance – both private and government-sponsored – did not exist.

One way to avoid paying PMI is to make a down payment that is equal to at least 20% of the purchase price of the home. If your new home costs $180,000, for example, you would need to put down at least $36,000 to avoid paying PMI. While that’s the simplest way to avoid PMI, a down payment that size may not be feasible.

Private mortgage insurance, or PMI, is insurance that lenders require borrowers to have when they get a mortgage and don’t have enough equity in the home. For many buyers seeking a mortgage, avoiding the added expense of PMI means coming up with a 20% down payment when buying a home .

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In order to avoid PMI, the best way is just to make a higher down payment. If you put down 20%, you can avoid mortgage insurance altogether. The good thing about this is you can avoid the monthly fee for the insurance policy. On the downside, you may be limited in terms of the budget you have for your house if you want to be able to put 20% down.

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This is a useful way of avoiding mortgage insurance payments, but it only works if you stay in your home or your loan for three years, he says. For example, if the loan amount is $250,000 and you only put 5 percent down – $12,500 – PMI would cost 2.5 percent, or $6,200. "That’s a sticker shock to some people.

The traditional way to avoid paying PMI on a mortgage is to take out a piggyback loan. In that event, if you can only put up 5 percent down for your mortgage, you take out a second "piggyback" mortgage for 15 percent of the loan balance, and combine them for your 20 percent down payment.

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