As a first-time homebuyer, you likely have questions about your mortgage payments and how it's calculated. How much can you expect to pay? How are taxes paid? What's the purpose of mortgage insurance? This post unpacks your mortgage payment so you know what you're paying for each month.
How the payments are broken down depends on the type of loan. Generally, you can expect your mortgage payment to include 4 items. These items are lumped into a single monthly payment and can be remembered with the acronym P-I-T-I.
The principle is the total amount that you borrow to buy the home. For example, if your loan is for $240k, your principal is also $240k. The amount you pay toward the principal doesn’t usually change, unless you refinance, and depends on the amount of your initial down payment and the total life of the loan.
Interest is the fee you pay for borrowing the funds to buy the home. Also known as the mortgage rate, it varies depending on market conditions at the time you locked in your home loan. Your rate is also determined by your credit history, among other factors.
There are two mortgage rate options for homebuyers – a fixed-rate mortgage and an adjustable-rate mortgage. With a fixed rate, your interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan, even if market rates go up over the years.
With an adjustable rate, your interest rate is fixed for a set amount of time (usually five years), then changes to whatever the current market rate. With an adjustable rate, your mortgage payment may increase or decrease at each adjustment interim.
Taxes are based on the value of your property. Your property is assessed every year to determine how much you will pay in property taxes. You can choose to include the property tax in your mortgage payment, dividing your annual bill into 12 payments. It'll be held in escrow until taxes are due, after which they are paid on your behalf.
Insurance protects the loan in the event of a disaster or an accident. Similar to property taxes, your insurance payments can be collected, held in escrow, and paid to the insurance company directly every year. Usually, your insurance payment won't change over the years, unless you add additional coverage.
Knowledge is power, and we believe that every homebuyer should know where their monthly mortgage payment goes. Whether you're ready to buy or you're looking to refinance into a lower rate, a helpful home loan specialist is available to you through the phone, on the web, or in person.
Contact us to learn more.