Private mortgage insurance (PMI) protects the lender from the costs of foreclosure. You may be obligated to purchase PMI if you can’t make a sufficient down payment of at least 20%. By purchasing PMI, you will have access to a mortgage without having to make a large down payment, and the lender is insured in the event that you default on the loan.

The price of PMI is inversely proportional to the size of your down payment. The larger your down payment, the lower the cost of PMI will be.