Buyer & Seller Guide

PMI: Private Mortgage Insurance

  • Published 2023-03-10
  • Est. reading time 5 Minutes
  • Author admin

“PMI is a type of insurance required by the lender that helps protect lenders against losses due to foreclosure.”


What is “PMI”?
Buying a home is easier than ever, thanks to the availability of private mortgage insurance, or PMI. Private mortgage insurance has made it possible for qualifying buyers to obtain mortgages with a down payment as low as 3%. Such mortgages are increasingly in demand in today’s home market because potential homeowners, especially first time home buyers, are unable to accumulate the 20 or 30% down payment that would be required without private mortgage insurance.


Definition of PMI
PMI is a type of insurance required by the lender that helps protect lenders against losses due to foreclosure. This protection is provided by private mortgage insurance companies and enables lenders to accept lower down payments than would normally be allowed.


When Does a Lender Require PMI?
Typically, if you make a down payment of less than 20% of the home sales price, your lender will require you to carry PMI. This will protect the lender from a potential loss if you default on your low down payment loan.


How Long Am I Required to Carry PMI?
PMI can usually be canceled by the home buyer when they have at least 20% equity in the home, either due to payment of the principal or the appreciation of the property. When you believe your home has achieved 20% equity, you can contact your loan server for guidelines. Usually lenders will require an appraisal on the property to verify the equity.


Buyer & Seller Guide

Glossary of Terms

The following is a short glossary of commonly used terms during your escrow transaction. For a more complete glossary

Close Costs and Who Pays What

Closing costs are what the buyer and seller will pay as part of the escrow transaction. Some fees are negotiable between the seller and buyer

Real Property Tax Dates

The following schedule lists some of the more significant dates for California property taxes affecting property owners.


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