Mar. 14, 2011
Dear George: My husband and I are still married but live in separate residences. My home is only in my name, and his is only in his name. Can each of us claim a homestead exemption?
Answer: No. A married couple can have only one Texas homestead.
Dear George: When I bought my home three years ago, I paid 15% down and financed the rest. The loan officer told me that once I’d paid 20% of the loan’s principal, I could call the bank and have the PMI terminated.
I’ve now paid 20% of the principal, and I called the loan officer. He sent me a letter that said I need to get a home inspection before the PMI will be terminated; the inspection will cost $450. Do I have another option?
Answer: Provided you have maintained a good repayment history on your loan, the only way a lender can request an appraisal is when you are asserting that your equity has increased to greater than 20% of the home’s current value. Otherwise, when you have paid the principal of the loan down to 80% of the original loan amount, you can request (and the lender is required) to cancel PMI without an appraisal. However, your request should be in writing. Read your loan documents. A loan with PMI should include a document describing the mortgage insurance. It should also provide the rules for canceling it.
E-mail a question to ask George & Chuck or fax it to 713-978-6684. The answers to questions in this column do not contain legal advice. If you wish to obtain legal advice, you should consult your own attorney.