While lending institutions have been required (for loans closed past July '99) to cancel Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) at the time the mortgage balance gets below 78% of the price of purchase, they do not have to take similar action if the equity is above 22%. (There are exceptions -like some "high risk' loans.) The good news is that you can request cancelation of your PMI yourself (for your mortgage loan closing after July '99), without considering the original purchase price, at the point your equity reaches twenty percent.
Study your statements often. Find out the purchase prices of other houses in your immediate area. Unfortunately, if yours is a recent mortgage loan - five years or under, you likely haven't begun to pay very much of the principal: you have been paying mostly interest.
You can begin the process of canceling PMI at the time you calculate that your equity has reached 20%. First you will let your lending institution know that you are requesting to cancel PMI. Your lender will request documentation that your equity is high enough. A state certified appraisal documented on the appropriate form (URAR-1004 - Uniform Residential Appraisal Report) is all the proof you need � and your lender will probably request one before they agree to cancel PMI.
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