Here is a collection of frequently asked questions that I have put together to help you in buying or selling a home. If you have any other questions, not listed here, feel free to contact me.
An escrow cushion is an amount of money held in the escrow account to prevent the account from being overdrawn when increases in disbursements occur.
On a monthly basis, mortgage lenders may not require borrowers to pay more than one-twelfth of the total amount of the estimated annual taxes, insurance premiums, and other charges, plus an amount necessary to maintain the allowable cushion.
The easiest way to avoid PMI is by putting 20% down payment; however, PMI can also be avoided if you only have 5% or 10% for the down payment. The way to accomplish this is via a first and second mortgage combination commonly referred to as 80/10/10^s or 80/15/5^s.
These two methods combine a first mortgage lien for 80% of the home price with a second mortgage lien for either 10% or 15% of the home price leaving the remaining 5% or 10% as the down payment. Because the first lien is at the magical 80% loan=to-value, there is no PMI required, even though a second mortgage is being |piggybacked| onto the financing thus allowing for the lessor down payment.
While the second lien terms are not as attractive as first lien rates, the second mortgage is still home mortgage interest and thus deductible as such on your federal tax return where PMI is insurance and offers no deduction.
In the past, if a consumer bought down the interest rate and then refinanced (buying down the rate again), it is possible not enough time will have elapsed to recover the |buy down| amount through the reduced monthly payment. This also occurs if the consumer sells the home before recovering the |buy down| amount.
Not only does the amount paid in discount fees (buy down amount) need to be recovered, the |time value| of the money spent or its |present value| also needs to be recovered. Present value is the income you could have earned or the satisfaction you could have received through alternative use of your money. Remember to consider the tax consequences of your ultimate decision.
Individuals should do what best fits their own personal situation and goals.