How Can I Avoid PMI on My First Mortgage?

Here are a few ways to avoid PMI on your first mortgage:

  • Make a down payment that is equal to at least 20% of the purchase price. The higher the down payment you make, the less likely you will be required to pay PMI.

  • Choose a government-insured loan. Loans backed or guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs do not require mortgage insurance. USDA Loans and FHA loans do require two kinds of mortgage insurance premiums, upfront and annual, though USDA loans are more affordable than FHA loans.

  • Build equity quickly. If you already have PMI, keep track of your loan balance and home prices in your area. Ask the lender to eliminate the PMI requirement once the loan balance reaches 80% of your home's original appraised value.