23 02, 2022

Understanding Private Mortgage Insurance

2022-02-23T13:47:59+00:00February 23rd, 2022|Home Finances|

From the logistics of moving to securing a mortgage and so much more, homebuying can be a stressful, complicated process. The last thing a new homebuyer wants is the surprise of an unexpected expense. One such concern faced by millions of homebuyers each year is Private Mortgage Insurance, or PMI. If you are unfamiliar with this term, let’s take a moment to discuss PMI and how it could come into play during your mortgage process.

For homebuyers who have less than 20% of the cost of their mortgage to put toward their down payment, PMI will be required. The purpose of PMI is to ensure that your mortgage lender is covered if you default on your home loan.  As the borrower, you pay the premiums on PMI and the lender is the beneficiary. PMI payments vary on a case-by-case basis, but typically fall between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed.

PMI works like a monthly fee that gets rolled into your mortgage payment. Though this adds to a homebuyer’s monthly expenses, it also allows you to buy your home now and start building equity rather than waiting years to save enough for a down payment.

PMI can sometimes be required to refinance a home loan. If there is not at least 20% equity in the home, a lender will require you to obtain PMI when you refinance.

The good news about PMI is that it doesn’t last forever. There are several ways to lose the insurance before the end of your mortgage. Under the HPA, your lender will be required to drop your PMI when your mortgage balance reaches 78 percent of the original purchase price, assuming you haven’t missed any payments and are still in good standing. Lenders are also required to […]

10 02, 2022

5 More Tips for an Eco-Friendly Home

2022-02-10T13:40:04+00:00February 10th, 2022|Tips & Advice|

Last time, we looked at five simple steps you can take to improve your home’s energy efficiency. The opportunities to go green today are almost limitless! Here are five more tips for an Earth-friendly home that won’t hurt your pocketbook.

Swap Regular Light Bulbs for LED Bulbs

The switch from traditional incandescent light bulbs to the curly-que compact fluorescent bulbs was rocky at best. CFLs are hard to recycle and often emit a somewhat harsher light than you may want for your living spaces. New LED bulbs eliminate some of these problems. Available in a wide range of colors and brightness levels, LEDs last longer and are among the most energy-efficient lighting options on the market.

Improve Your Insulation

Whether it’s hot or cold outside, quality insulation is a cornerstone of your home’s energy efficiency. Many locales even offer tax incentives or vouchers to help with your insulation needs. While tearing out drywall to improve insulation is probably out of the question, check your home’s attic and insulate it as needed. It could make a big difference for your energy bill.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Why pay to heat or cool your house when no one is home? Programmable thermostats give you total control over your home’s heating and cooling system. Setting the thermostat to raise or lower the temperature when you’re away can lead to huge energy savings.

Install Solar Panels

Solar panels may seem like an extreme measure, but the advantages they offer are hard to deny. Many companies offer the option for homeowners to rent or buy panels to accommodate any budget. Even better, this eco-friendly energy alternative can put money back into your pocket. If your panels return more energy to the grid than you consume during a billing cycle, your power provider might cut […]