What is Mortgage Insurance?
If you're down payment on a home purchase is less than 20 percent of the purchase price, you must obtain Mortgage Insurance, which protects the lender against default by the borrower.
Mortgage Insurance costs vary, depending on the amount of the loan, amount of down payment, and mortgage program (Conventional versus FHA). Mortgage companies choose the insurance provider, but the homeowner pays the monthly amount as part of the mortgage.
However, the homeowner has different options - of the many options out there, here are three to consider: Monthly Premium, Single Financed Premium With Rebates and Single Financed Premium Without Rebates. Discussing your options upfront with your lenders is a must.
When Do I Stop Paying Mortgage Insurance?
The Homeowners Protection Act of 1998 (HPA) covers single-family primary residences whose sales were closed on or after July 29, 1999. HPA provides for borrower-requested cancellation and lender-required cancellation.
The borrower must provide a written request to the lender, who cancels the Mortgage Insurance policy. Typically, this can only be cancelled early if the borrowers have had a good payment history and the borrowers satisfy any lender requirements.
The lender must automatically cancel the Mortgage Insurance Policy on the date the mortgage loan balance is first scheduled to reach 78 percent of the original value, based on the original amortization schedule and as long as the borrowers are current on the payments required by the terms of the mortgage.
How Do I Improve My Credit Score?
Prospective buyers really benefit from taking Home Buyer Education classes offered by local agencies or online. Online classes are available through
You can also download the Federal Trade Commission's Brochure Building a Better Credit Report for free tips and advice.
South Florida Residents - File Your Homestead Exemption
All legal Florida residents are eligible for a Homestead Exemption on their homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile home lots if they qualify. The Florida Constitution provides this tax-saving exemption on the first and third $25,000 of the assessed value of an owner/occupied residence.
While a complicated formula is used to explain this -- as the additional $25,000 only applies to the non-schools portion of your tax bill -- the bottom line is that the basic homestead exemption saved a Broward homeowner in 2009 anywhere from $686 to $1,015 (depending upon your city's millage rate) in annual tax savings for all homes with a value of $75,000 or higher.
You are entitled to a Homestead Exemption if, as of January 1st, you have made the property your permanent home or the permanent home of a person who is legally or naturally dependent on you.
By law, January 1 of each year is the date on which permanent residence is determined.
Visit http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/property/appraisers.html to access your county's website.