While lending institutions have been legally required (for loans closed after July '99) to cancel Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) at the time the balance gets under 78% of the purchase price, they do not have to cancel PMI automatically if the equity is over 22%. (There are some loans that are not covered by this law -like certain "high risk' loans.) But if your equity rises to 20% (regardless of the original price of purchase), you are able to cancel PMI (for a mortgage that past July 1999).
Study your monthly statements often. Also keep track of what other homes are selling for in your neighborhood. You are paying mostly interest if your loan closed fewer than 5 years ago, so your principal most likely hasn't lowered much.
You can begin the process of canceling PMI when you're sure your equity reaches 20%. Contact the lender to ask for cancellation of your Private Mortgage Insurance. Lenders request documentation verifying your eligibility at this point. You can get proof of your home's equity by getting a state certified appraisal on form URAR-1004 (Uniform Residential Appraisal Report), which is required by most lenders before canceling PMI.
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