While lending institutions have been legally obligated (for loans closed after July '99) to cancel Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) at the time the loan balance goes under 78% of the purchase price, they do not have to take similar action if the loan's equity is above 22%. (Some "higher risk" loans are not included.) The good news is that you can request cancelation of your PMI yourself (for your mortgage that closed after July '99), regardless of the original purchase price, after your equity gets to twenty percent.
Keep track of money going toward the principal. Make yourself aware of the prices of other houses in your neighborhood. You've been paying mostly interest if you closed your mortgage loan fewer than 5 years ago, so your principal most likely hasn't gone down much.
Once your equity has reached the desired twenty percent, you are close to canceling your PMI payments, for the life of your loan. Contact your lending institution to request cancellation of PMI. Lending institutions ask for proof of eligibility at this point. Most lenders ask for a state certified appraisal documented on the form: URAR-1004 (Uniform Residential Appraisal Report) to determine your equity and eligibility for canceling PMI.
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