Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) – A mortgage that has an interest rate that adjusts periodically based on a pre-selected index.
Amortization – A loan payment by equal installments of principal and interest, which calculates to pay off the amount of debt at the end of a fixed period.
Amortization Schedule – For a residential mortgage loan, a table that provides a breakdown of the schedule of payments from the loan’s first required payment to its final payment. It lists the amount of principal and the amount of interest paid each month of the loan’s term.
Appraisal – A written estimate of the fair market value of a piece of property.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – A broader measure of the cost of a mortgage that includes the interest rate and other fees and charges paid to obtain the mortgage.
Borrower – A person approved to receive a loan who holds responsibility for the repayment and any fees associated with the loan.
Closing – A meeting between the buyer, seller, mortgage banker and closing attorney where the property and funds are legally exchanged.
Commitment – An agreement, often expressed in writing, between the borrower and lender to loan money at a future time that is subject to the completion of paper work, compliance and any stated conditions.
Contract Sale or Deed – A contract between the buyer and seller of real estate to convey title after meeting certain conditions.
Conventional Mortgage – A private sector loan that is not FHA insured nor VA guaranteed.
Credit Report – A document detailing an individual’s credit history including all past and present debts and timeliness of repayment.
Debt-to-Income Ratio – The ratio, which is reflected in a percentage, of a borrower’s monthly payment obligation, divided by their monthly income.
Down Payment – The portion of a home’s purchase price that is prepaid in cash and separate from the mortgage loan amount.
Earnest Money – Money given by the buyer to the seller in order to bind a transaction or ensure payment, amount is then deducted from the purchase price of the home.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) – A federal law that, among other things, requires lenders to provide credit to all creditworthy applicants without regard to race, religion, national origin, color, age (provided the applicant has the capacity to contract), sex, marital status, obtains all or part of income from public assistance programs, or to the fact that the applicant has in good faith exercised any right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act.
Equity – The difference between the fair market value of the home and the amount of the borrower’s loan.
Escrow – An account held by the lender in which the borrower deposits property taxes and homeowner’s and flood insurance.
FHA – The Federal Housing Administration provides mortgage insurance to lenders to cover the majority of mortgage loan losses in the event that a borrower defaults. FHA insurance encourages lenders to offer loans to borrowers who may not qualify for conventional loans.
FHA Loan – A loan insured by the FHA and open to all qualified borrowers with limits generous enough to handle moderately priced homes throughout the country.
FHA Mortgage Insurance – A loan policy paid at closing to insure the loan with the FHA.
Fixed Rate Mortgage (FRM) – A mortgage that keeps the same interest rate and monthly payment throughout its term.
Hazard Insurance – A form of insurance by which the insured is protected from damages from losses such as a fire or windstorm.
Interest Rate Ceiling and Floor – The highest and lowest an interest rate on an ARM loan can go.
Lender’s Title Insurance – Protects the lender against any problems with the title to the borrower’s property that may have occurred before the date of the policy.
Lien – A legal claim against property – must be resolved before the home sells.
Loan-to-Value – A percentage calculated by dividing the amount borrowed by the price of the home.
Lock-In – Guarantees a specific interest rate as long as the loan is closed within a certain time period.
Market Value – The highest price that a buyer would pay and the lowest price that a seller would allow on a property.
Mortgage Insurance – A policy that protects lenders should a borrower default on a loan. Usually required with a down payment of less than 20%.
Origination Fee –A fee charged by lenders to prepare loan documents and complete other loan maintenance.
Owner’s Title Insurance – A policy that is usually issued in the amount of the real estate purchase.
Points – Prepaid interest charged by the lender at closing. Each point is equal to 1% of the loan.
Prepayment Penalty – Charges for paying off a loan prior to its due date.
Principal – The borrowed amount, not including interest and fees.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – Insurance paid by the borrower to ensure repayment in the event that the borrower defaults – may be required when borrower has a down payment of less than 20%.
Realtor – A real estate agent or broker affiliated with the National Association of Realtors.
Recording Fees – Money paid to the lender for recording the home sale with local authorities and making it part of the public record.
RESPA – A federal law that, among other things, requires lenders to provide borrowers with pertinent and timely disclosures regarding the nature and costs of the real estate settlement process.
Required Cash – The total amount of cash the buyer will need to close the transaction.
Sales Contract –Contract between buyer and seller to convey title after certain conditions are met.
Second Mortgage – A mortgage made subsequent and subordinate to a first mortgage.
Survey – A measurement of land that is prepared by a registered land surveyor showing the location of the land, its dimensions and the location and dimensions of any buildings.
Title Insurance – A policy, which is usually issued by a title insurance company, that insures a home buyer against any potential title search errors.
Title Search – A check of public records to ensure that the seller is the legal owner of the property and there are no unsettled claims or liens.
Truth-in-Lending – A federal law that requires lenders to provide borrowers with disclosures about important terms of credit. These important terms include the annual percentage rate, the monthly payment, and the total amount of finance charge to be paid.
VA Loan – A 100% financing, no down payment loan to veterans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Verification of Employment (VOE) – A document produced and signed by the borrower’s employer verifying the borrower’s position and salary.
Verification of Deposit – A document that verifies the status and balance of an account.