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- A legal term referring to the acceptance of
an offer. A buyer offers to buy and the seller
accepts the offer.
Payable - A running record of business transactions
showing the amount of money owed. They are considered
liabilities by lenders.
Mortgage (ARM) - A home loan
that permits the lender to adjust its interest
rate periodically during the life of the loan
on the basis of changes in a specified financial
index. ARMs typically start with a particularly
low interest rate that gradually rises over time.
If the overall level of interest rates drops,
as measured by a variety of different indexes,
the interest rate of your ARM follows suit. Similarly,
if interest rates rise, so does your mortgage's
interest rate and monthly payment. The amount
that the interest can fluctuate is limited by
caps. Adjusted Gross Income - Total income
including your salary and bonuses, and any rental
or seasonal income.
- A person appointed by the probate court to administer
the estate of a deceased person.
of Sale - A written document in which a purchaser
agrees to buy property under certain given conditions
and the seller agrees to sell under certain conditions.
Also known as a 'Sales Contract.'
- The process of gradually paying down the principal
of the loan. As each payment toward principal
is made, the mortgage amount is reduced or amortized
by that amount. This is in contrast to an interest-only
payment where the principal balance is never reduced.
Percentage Rate (APR) - The rate of interest
to be paid on a loan over its projected life;
sometimes referred to as the "true"
rate of interest. The APR is the annual cost of
a loan, including interest, loan fees and other
- A sum of money received at fixed intervals,
such as series of equal or nearly equal payments
to be made over a period of time, or it may be
a lump sum payment to be made at some time in
the future. The installment payments due to a
landlord under the terms of a lease are an example
of an annuity. The installment payments due to
a lender on a note are another such example.
- A professional evaluation of the value of a
home or other piece of property made by a professional
who is familiar with local real estate prices
- The amount by which the value of a piece of
property increases over time.
Value - A value placed upon property by a
- Determining the value of property for the purpose
of imposing a tax, or the amount of the tax imposed.
Asset - Anything of monetary value that is owned by a person. Assets include
real estate property, personal property and enforceable
claims against others including bank accounts,
stocks, mutual funds and so on.
- When a buyer takes over the loan payments and
obligations of the seller. If the buyer defaults,
however, both the buyer and seller are responsible
for the debt.
Sheet - A financial statement that shows assets,
liabilities and net worth as of a specific date.
Mortgage - A balloon mortgage offers lower
interest rates for shorter-term financing, usually
five, seven or ten years. At the end of this term,
the borrower requires refinancing or must pay
off the outstanding balance in a lump-sum (balloon)
- A court action under the Federal Bankruptcy
Code by which a debtor's debts may be excused,
usually by transferring assets to a trustee, or
- (1) A person entitled to the proceeds of a trust;
(2) A person who receives profit from an estate,
the title of which is entrusted to a trustee;
(3) The lender on the security of a note and deed
of Sale - A written document that serves as
evidence of the transfer of title to personal
Binder - An agreement to consider the purchase of real estate. The agreement
is backed by a cash deposit as evidence of good
faith on the part of the purchaser.
Broker - A person who, for a commission, brings parties together and assists
in negotiating contracts between them.
Line - A line set by law or deed restriction
a certain distance from the street line, in front
of which an owner cannot build on his lot. Also
called a setback line.
down Mortgage - A temporary buy down is a
mortgage on which an initial lump sum payment
is made by a party to reduce a borrower’s monthly
payment during the first few years of a mortgage.
A permanent buy down reduces the interest rate
over the entire life of a mortgage.
Cap - A limit on how much a mortgage interest rate may increase or decrease
for an adjustable-rate mortgage.
Gain - Income from the sale of an asset rather
than from general business activity. Capital gains
are generally taxed at a lower rate then ordinary
Improvement - Any structure or component erected
as a permanent improvement to real estate property
that adds to its value and useful life.
Flow - Income generated by a rental property.
It is determined by subtracting vacancy allowances
and collection costs, operating expenses and debt-servicing
costs from the property’s scheduled gross income.
of Eligibility - A document issued by the
federal government certifying a veteran’s eligibility
for a Department of Veterans Affairs mortgage.
of Reasonable Value (CRV) - A document issued
by the Department of Veterans Affairs that establishes
the maximum value and loan amount for a Veterans
of Title - A written document stating that
the title to a piece of property is legally owned
by the title holder (the person named on the certificate).
Title - A title that is free of liens or legal
questions regarding ownership of the property.
- Closing is the delivery of a deed, the payment
of the purchase price, the signing of promissory
notes and the paying of closing costs, which completes
a real estate transaction.
Costs - The miscellaneous expenses involved
in closing a real estate transaction that are
over and above the purchase price. Some of the
closing costs include title insurance, appraisal
fee, and credit report.
Letter - A formal offer by a lender, which
states the terms under which it agrees to lend
money to a home buyer. Also known as a 'loan commitment.'
This letter will indicate the contingencies that
must be cleared prior to funding the loan.
Areas - Portions of a building, land and amenities
owned (or managed) by a planned unit development
(PUD) or condominium project’s homeowners’ association.
Common areas are used by a group of the unit owners,
who share in the common expenses of their operation
and maintenance. They include swimming pools,
tennis courts and other recreational facilities,
as well as common corridors of buildings or parking
- An abbreviation for ”comparable properties,”
in the appraisal process. Comparables are properties
similar to the one under consideration for appraisal.
Interest - Interest paid on the original principal
and on interest accrued from time it became due.
Mortgage Loan - The current confirming loan
limit is $300,700 and below.
Loan - A short-term interim loan for financing
the cost of construction. The builder makes payments
to the lender at periodic intervals as the work
Reporting Agency - An organization that creates
reports used by lenders to help determine a potential
borrower’s credit history. The agency gets this
information from many sources.
- A clause in a contract stating that the buyer
or seller must meet a given condition before the
purchase can be completed.
Mortgage - A home loan that follows a fixed
rate. It’s neither guaranteed nor insured by the
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Department
of Veterans Affairs (VA).
History - The financial worthiness of a borrower.
Credit history is the history of whether the borrower
has met financial obligations on time in the past.
Report - A full listing of debts and credit
that tracks a loan applicant’s willingness and
ability to make payments in a timely manner in
the past. This report is provided to the bank
by an outside agency.
Ratio - The ratio of a borrower's monthly
debt payments to his or her monthly gross income.
Lenders use this ratio to determine how much of
a loan a borrower is qualified for. Debt-to-income
is the total amount of debt, including credit
cards and other loans, divided by total gross
Deed - The legal document conveying title to a property.
of Trust - A document that transfers the bare
legal title of a property to a trustee to be held
pending fulfillment of an obligation, usually
the repayment of a loan to a beneficiary.
- Failure to pay mortgage payments over a specified
period of time.
- Being late with loan payments.
- Loss of value in real property brought about
by age, physical deterioration, or by changing
neighborhood or economic conditions.
Points - A percentage of the mortgage paid
to the lender to lower the interest rate on a
loan. One point equals one percent.
Payment - The portion of the purchase price
that a buyer pays up front in cash, at the time
the loan originates.
Provision - A provision in a mortgage that
allows the lender to demand repayment in full
if a borrower sells the property that serves as
security for the mortgage.
Money - A sum of money given as evidence of
one's good faith, used to bind or secure a real
estate sale. Also known as a 'Binder'.
- The right, privilege or interest that one party
has in the land of another, created by grant or
agreement for a specific purpose. An example would
be a right of way.
Gross Income - Normal annual income including
overtime that is regular or guaranteed. The income
may be from more than one source. Salary is generally
the principal source.
- The signature on the back of a check, bill,
note or similar document. It is required on negotiable
Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) - A federal
law that requires lenders and other creditors
to make credit equally available without discrimination
based on race, color, religion, national origin,
age, sex, marital status or receipt of income
from public assistance programs.
Equity - The difference between the market value of a house and the amount
still owed on the mortgage. It’s value of a property
minus outstanding mortgage debt and other liens.
Increased equity positions you as a safer risk
to lenders and enhances your financial position
by lowering or eliminating some expenses, such
as insurance and rates.
Escrow - Money and documents deposited in a trust account to be held by one
party for another. Often used by brokers to hold
deposit money prior to closing. Also used by lenders
to hold money for taxes and insurance on a home.
Agency Listing - A written document giving
one agent the right for a specified time to sell
a property, but reserving the right of the owner
to sell the property himself or herself without
payment of a commission to the agent.
Right to Sell Listing - A written agreement
between an owner and an agent giving the agent
the right to collect a commission if the property
is sold by anyone during the term of his or her
Credit Reporting Act - A consumer protection
law that regulates the disclosures of consumer
credit reports by consumer/credit reporting agencies
and establishes procedures for correcting mistakes
on one’s credit report.
Market Value - The highest price that a willing
buyer would pay and the lowest the willing seller
willing would accept. Neither party is compelled
to buy or sell in this situation.
Mae - A congressionally chartered, shareholder-owned
company that is the nation's largest supplier
of home mortgage funds. Also known as Federal
National Mortgage Association (FNMA).
Loan - Also know as a “government loan,” an
FHA loan is guaranteed by the Federal Housing
Administration. FHA issues specific guidelines
- See Freddie Mac.
- A person in a position of trust and confidence,
for instance a principal and broker. A broker
as a fiduciary owes certain loyalty that cannot
Fee - A fee paid to a mortgage broker for
finding a mortgage loan for a prospective borrower.
Mortgage - The original loan taken out to
purchase a home.
Mortgage - A loan with an interest rate that never changes.
FNMA - See Fannie Mae.
Insurance - Insurance that would provide reimbursement
for physical property damage resulting from flooding.
It is required for properties that are located
in federally designated flood areas.
- The legal process by which a borrower in default
under a mortgage is deprived of his or her right
to ownership in the mortgaged property. This usually
involves a forced sale of the property at public
auction with the proceeds of the sale being applied
to the mortgage debt.
Mac - A major secondary mortgage market investor.
It is a government sponsored, privately owned
corporation that is a major purchaser of mortgages
from lenders. Also known as 'Federal Home Loan
Mortgage Corporation' (FHLMC).
Ratio - Also called a Top Ratio. This is a
calculation of your total monthly housing expenses
divided by your income. Lenders use a front-end
ratio as a guideline to see if you qualify for
Amortized ARM - An adjustable-rate mortgage
(ARM) with a monthly payment that is sufficient
to amortize the remaining balance, at the interest
accrual rate, over the amortization term.
Faith Estimate - A disclosure that must be
given by the lender to all mortgage loan applicants
within three business days of an application.
It is an estimate of all settlement charges likely
to be incurred at closing.
Equity Loan - A loan secured by a second deed
of trust on a house, typically used as a home
Ratio - A ratio used by lending institutions
to determine whether a person is qualified for
a mortgage. Housing-to-income is the ratio of
the monthly housing payment in total (PITI--Principal,
Interest, Taxes and Insurance) divided by the
gross monthly income. This ratio is sometimes
referred to as the 'top ratio' or 'front-end ratio'.
- Acronym for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
HUD-1 - A document that gives a breakdown of costs that the seller and buyer
may pay at closing.
Mortgage - Also known as a 'non-conforming'
mortgage. Non-conforming loans usually incur a
rate and origination fee premium. The current
conforming loan limit is $300,700 and below for
a single-family residence, $384,900 and below
for a 2-unit property, $465,200 and below for
a 3-unit property, and $578,150 and below for
a 4-unit property. Loan amounts greater than this
are considered non-conforming or jumbo mortgages.
Lender - The bank or mortgage company offering the loan.
Lien - A legal hold or claim of a creditor on the property of another.
Cap - A limit on how high the interest rate
on an adjustable-rate mortgage can rise over the
lifetime of the loan.
Ratio (LTV) - The amount of the loan divided
by the purchase price of the house. It is the
percentage that shows how much equity a borrower
will have in a home. The LTV determines which
products are available to the borrower.
- Allows the borrower to be assured a given rate
of interest for a mortgage. This usually involves
paying a fee to the lender. Mortgage rates not
"locked in" are subject to changing
- Some loan products require only that applicants
state the source of their income without providing
supporting documentation such as tax returns.
Margin - A set number of percentage points a lender adds to the index rate
to determine the interest rate for an ARM.
Insurance - Also known as Private Mortgage
Insurance (PMI). Insurance that protects mortgage
lenders against loss in the event of default by
- A lien or claim against real property given
by the buyer to the lender as security for money
Broker - A person who, for a fee, brings together
a borrower and lender and handles the necessary
applications for the borrower to obtain a loan
against real estate property by giving a mortgage
or deed of trust as security. Also called loan
- A person or organization that lends money for
- A person who borrows money for a home.
Worth - Value remaining after subtracting
the liabilities from the assets of a company or
Loan - Also known as a 'Jumbo Mortgage.' Non-conforming
loans usually incur a rate and origination fee.
The current conforming loan limit is $300,700
and below for a single family residence, $384,900
and below for a 2-unit property, $465,200 and
below for a 3-unit property, and $578,150 and
below for a 4-unit property. Loan amounts greater
than this are considered non-conforming or jumbo
Note - A signed written instrument acknowledging a debt and promising payment.
Date - The date on which the loan is initiated
Fee - A fee imposed by a lender to cover the
administrative costs of setting up a mortgage.
This will include the preparation of documents
and certain processing expenses in connection
with making a real estate loan. This is usually
charged as a percentage of the amount loaned,
such as one point or one percent.
PITI - Principal, interest, taxes and insurance--the components of a monthly
PMI - See "Private Mortgage Insurance".
Payoff - The complete repayment of loan principal, interest and any other
sums due; payoffs occur either over the full term
of the loan through monthly amortization or through
Points - An upfront fee that is collected in addition to the interest on a
loan. One point is equal to one percent of the
mortgage. The use of points allows the lender
to reduce the rate by lowering the origination
costs. Points may also be referred to as an 'origination
fee' or 'discount points' depending on the purpose.
Penalty - A fee imposed on a borrower who
pays off a mortgage before it is due.
- A process that mortgage lenders use to determine
how much money they would lend you based on a
thorough review of your financial situation. Lenders
issue a pre-approval letter, which strengthens
your position when bidding on a home, as it shows
sellers that you will be able to raise the funds
needed to purchase the home.
- An informal process in which a lender offers
an opinion on how much money you may be able to
borrow. This opinion is based entirely on the
financial information you provide and is neither
binding nor necessarily accurate because lenders
have not yet verified your financial information.
Title Report - A report made by a title company
stating whether there are any other claims to
ownership of a property. It is a necessary step
before a mortgage loan can be approved.
- Those expenses of property which are paid in
advance of their due date and will usually be
prorated upon sale, such as taxes, insurance,
Rate - The best interest rate available to
a lender's most qualified customers.
- The original balance of money lent on an outstanding
loan and fees, excluding interest. Also the remaining
balance of a loan, excluding interest.
Mortgage Insurance (PMI) - Insurance coverage
obtained from mortgage insurance companies to
protect lenders against the risk of making higher
loan-to-value loans. Typically required on all
first mortgages with an LTV that exceeds 80 percent.
The borrower usually pays the PMI premiums.
Note - The document signed by a borrower promising
repayment of a loan. It shows the amount of monthly
payments, interest rate, first payment date, last
payment date, and the late charge and prepayment
Contract - A written promise to pay a specific
amount for a property at a specified time. The
purchase contract is a written statement of the
offer, which both the borrower and the seller
will sign if the offer is accepted.
Cap - A limit on how much the interest rate
can change, either at each adjustment period or
over the life of the loan.
Lock - The amount of time that a lender will
guarantee a loan's interest rate. Once you've
locked in the interest rate on a loan, the lender
will guarantee that rate for a certain period
of time, usually for 30, 45 or 60 days.
- A way of obtaining a better interest rate, lower
monthly payments or to borrow cash on the equity
in a property that has built up on a loan. A second
loan is taken out to pay off the first, higher-rate
Mortgage - An additional mortgage on a property,
the second mortgage often carries a shorter term
and a higher interest rate than the original mortgage.
Mortgage Market - A market in which existing
mortgages are resold.
Take-Back - An agreement in which the owner
of a property provides financing, often in combination
with an assumed mortgage.
Financing - When the current owner of a house
holds the mortgage loan for the buyer.
(or Loan Servicing) - Supervising and administering
a loan after it has been made. This involves such
things as collecting the payments, keeping accounting
records, computing interest and principal, etc.
Term - The period of time which covers the life of the loan. For example,
a 30-year fixed loan has a term of 30 years.
TILA - See Truth-in-Lending Act.
Title - Evidence of a person’s right to ownership of a property.
Company - A company that searches for titles
and insures title claims.
Insurance - A policy that protects the owner
of a title from loss resulting from disputes over
Ratio - Also called a Front-End Ratio. This
is a calculation of your total monthly housing
expenses divided by your income. Lenders use a
front-end ratio as a guideline to see if you qualify
for a loan.
Debt Ratio - Monthly debt and housing payments
divided by gross monthly income. Also known as
'Obligations-to-Income Ratio' or 'Back-End Ratio'.
Act - A U.S. federal law requiring lenders
to reveal all of the terms of a mortgage.
- The analysis of risk involved in making a mortgage
loan to determine whether the risk is acceptable
to the lender. Underwriting involves evaluating
the property as outlined in the appraisal report
and also evaluating the borrower's ability and
willingness to repay the loan.