adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)
A mortgage that changes interest rate periodically based upon the changes
in a specified index.
The date on which the interest rate changes for an adjustable-rate
The period that elapses between the adjustment
dates for an adjustable-rate
The repayment of a mortgage loan by installments with regular payments to
cover the principal and interest.
The amount of time required to amortize the mortgage loan. The amortization
term is expressed as a number of months. For example, for a 30-year fixed-rate
mortgage, the amortization term is 360 months.
annual percentage rate (APR)
The cost of a mortgage stated as a yearly rate; includes such items as interest,
mortgage insurance, and loan origination fee (points).
A form, commonly referred to as a 1003 form, used to apply for a mortgage
and to provide information regarding a prospective mortgagor and the proposed
A written analysis of the estimated value of a property prepared by a qualified
appraiser (return to top)
A person qualified by education, training, and experience to estimate the
value of real property and personal property.
An increase in the value of a property due to changes in market conditions
or other causes. The opposite of depreciation.
Anything of monetary value that is owned by a person. Assets include real
property, personal property, and enforceable claims against others (including
bank accounts, stocks, mutual funds, and so on).
The transfer of a mortgage from one person to another.
A mortgage that can be taken over ("assumed") by the buyer when
a home is sold.
The transfer of the seller's existing mortgage to the buyer.
A provision in an assumable mortgage that allows a buyer to assume
responsibility for the mortgage from the seller. The loan does not need
to be paid in full by the original borrower upon sale or transfer of the
The fee paid to a lender (usually by the purchaser of real property) resulting
from the assumption of an existing mortgage.
balance sheet (return to top)
A financial statement that shows assets, liabilities, and net worth as of
a specific date.
A mortgage that has level monthly payments that will amortize it over a
stated term but that provides for a lump sum payment to be due at the end
of an earlier specified term.
The final lump sum payment that is made at the maturity date of a balloon
A person, firm, or corporation that, through a court proceeding, is relieved
from the payment of all debts after the surrender of all assets to a
A proceeding in a federal court in which a debtor who owes more than his
or her assets can relieve the debts by transferring his or her assets to
Income before taxes are deducted.
The person designated to receive the income from a trust, estate, or a deed
A preliminary agreement, secured by the payment of an earnest money deposit,
under which a buyer offers to purchase real estate.
biweekly payment mortgage
A mortgage that requires payments to reduce the debt every two weeks (instead
of the standard monthly payment schedule). The 26 (or possibly 27) biweekly
payments are each equal to one-half of the monthly payment that would be
required if the loan were a standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, and they
are usually drafted from the borrower's bank account. The result for the
borrower is a substantial savings in interest.
The mortgage that is secured by a cooperative project, as opposed to the
share loans on individual units within the project.
An interest-bearing certificate of debt with a maturity date. An obligation
of a government or business corporation. A real estate bond is a written
obligation usually secured by a mortgage or a deed of trust.
A violation of any legal obligation.
A form of second trust that is collateralized by the borrower's present
home (which is usually for sale) in a manner that allows the proceeds to
be used for closing on a new house before the present home is sold. Also
known as "swing loan."
A person who, for a commission or a fee, brings parties together and assists
in negotiating contracts between them.
A temporary buydown is a mortgage on which an initial lump sum payment is
made by any party to reduce a borrower's monthly payments during the first
few years of a mortgage. A permanent buydown reduces the interest rate over
the entire life of a mortgage.
call option (return to top)
A provision in the mortgage that gives the mortgagee the right to call the
mortgage due and payable at the end of a specified period for whatever reason.
A provision of an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that limits how much the
interest rate or mortgage payments may increase or decrease.
Any structure or component erected as a permanent improvement to real property
that adds to its value and useful life.
A refinance transaction in which the amount of money received from the new
loan exceeds the total of the money needed to repay the existing first mortgage,
closing costs, points, and the amount required to satisfy any outstanding
subordinate mortgage liens. In other words, a refinance transaction in which
the borrower receives additional cash that can be used for any purpose.
Certificate of Eligibility
A document issued by the federal government certifying a veteran's eligibility
for a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mortgage.
Certificate of Reasonable Value (CRV)
A document issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that establishes
the maximum value and loan amount for a VA mortgage.
certificate of title
A statement provided by an abstract company, title company, or attorney
stating that the title to real estate is legally held by the current owner.
chain of title
The history of all of the documents that transfer title to a parcel of real
property, starting with the earliest existing document and ending with the
The frequency (in months) of payment and/or interest rate changes in an
adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).
A title that is free of liens or legal questions as to ownership of the
A meeting at which a sale of a property is finalized by the buyer signing
the mortgage documents and paying closing costs.
Also called "settlement."
closing cost item (return to top)
A fee or amount that a home buyer must pay at closing for a single service,
tax, or product. Closing costs are made up of individual closing cost items
such as origination fees and attorney's fees. Many closing cost items are
included as numbered items on the HUD-1 statement.
Expenses (over and above the price of the property) incurred by buyers and
sellers in transferring ownership of a property. Closing costs normally
include an origination fee, an attorney's fee, taxes, an amount placed in
escrow, and charges for obtaining title insurance and a survey. Closing
costs percentage will vary according to the area of the country.
Also referred to as the HUD1. The final statement of costs incurred to close
on a loan or to purchase a home.
cloud on title
Any conditions revealed by a title search that adversely affect the title
to real estate. Usually clouds on title cannot be removed except by a quitclaim
deed, release, or court action.
An asset (such as a car or a home) that guarantees the repayment of a loan.
The borrower risks losing the asset if the loan is not repaid according
to the terms of the loan contract.
The efforts used to bring a delinquent mortgage current and to file the
necessary notices to proceed with foreclosure when necessary.
A person who signs a promissory note along with the borrower. A co-maker's
signature guarantees that the loan will be repaid, because the borrower
and the co-maker are equally responsible for the repayment. See endorser.
The fee charged by a broker or agent for negotiating a real estate or loan
transaction. A commission is generally a percentage of the price of the
property or loan.
A formal offer by a lender stating the terms under which it agrees to lend
money to a home buyer. Also known as a "loan commitment."
Those portions of a building, land, and amenities owned (or managed) by
a planned unit development (PUD) or condominium project's homeowners' association
(or a cooperative project's cooperative corporation) that are used by all
of the unit owners, who share in the common expenses of their operation
and maintenance. Common areas include swimming pools, tennis courts, and
other recreational facilities, as well as common corridors of buildings,
parking areas, means of ingress and egress, etc.
Community Home Improvement Mortgage Loan
An alternative financing option that allows low- and moderate-income home
buyers to obtain 95 percent financing for the purchase and improvement of
a home in need of modest repairs. The repair work can account for as much
as 30 percent of the appraised value.
community property (return to top)
In some western and southwestern states, a form of ownership under which
property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be owned jointly unless
acquired as separate property of either spouse.
An abbreviation for "comparable properties"; used for comparative
purposes in the appraisal process. Comparables are properties like the property
under consideration; they have reasonably the same size, location , and
amenities and have recently been sold. Comparables help the appraiser determine
the approximate fair market value of the subject property.
A real estate project in which each unit owner has title to a unit in a
building, an undivided interest in the common areas of the project, and
sometimes the exclusive use of certain limited common areas.
Changing the ownership of an existing building (usually a rental project)
to the condominium form of ownership.
A short-term, interim loan for financing the cost of construction. The lender
makes payments to the builder at periodic intervals as the work progresses.
consumer reporting agency (or bureau)
An organization that prepares reports that are used by lenders to determine
a potential borrower's credit history. The agency obtains data for these
reports from a credit repository as well as from other sources.
A condition that must be met before a contract is legally binding. For example,
home purchasers often include a contingency that specifies that the contract
is not binding until the purchaser obtains a satisfactory home inspection
report from a qualified home inspector.
An oral or written agreement to do or not to do a certain thing.
A mortgage that is not insured or guaranteed by the federal government.
A provision in some adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) that allows the borrower
to change the ARM to a fixed-rate mortgage at specified timeframes after
An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that can be converted to a fixed-rate
mortgage under specified conditions.
A type of multiple ownership in which the residents of a multiunit housing
complex own shares in the cooperative corporation that owns the property,
giving each resident the right to occupy a specific apartment or unit.
Arrangements under which an employer moves an employee to another area as
part of the employer's normal course of business or under which it transfers
a substantial part or all of its operations and employees to another area
because it is relocating its headquarters or expanding its office capacity.
cost of funds index (COFI)
An index that is used to determine interest rate changes for certain adjustable-rate
mortgage (ARM) plans. It represents the weighted-average cost of savings,
borrowings, and advances of the 11th District members of the Federal Home
Loan Bank of San Francisco.
A clause in a mortgage that obligates or restricts the borrower and that,
if violated, can result in foreclosure.
An agreement in which a borrower receives something of value in exchange
for a promise to repay the lender at a later date.
credit history (return to top)
A record of an individual's open and fully repaid debts. A credit history
helps a lender to determine whether a potential borrower has a history of
repaying debts in a timely manner.
A report of an individual's credit history prepared by a credit bureau and
used by a lender in determining a loan applicant's creditworthiness. See
merged credit report.
An organization that gathers, records, updates, and stores financial and
public records information about the payment records of individuals who
are being considered for credit.
debt (return to top)
An amount owed to another.
The legal document conveying title to a property.
A deed given by a mortgagor to the mortgagee to satisfy a debt and avoid
deed of trust
The document used in some states instead of a mortgage; title is conveyed
to a trustee.
Failure to make mortgage payments on a timely basis or to comply with other
requirements of a mortgage.
Failure to make mortgage payments when mortgage payments are due.
A sum of money given to bind the sale of real estate, or a sum of money
given to ensure payment or an advance of funds in the processing of a loan.
A decline in the value of property; the opposite of appreciation.
The part of the purchase price of a property that the buyer pays in cash
and does not finance with a mortgage.
due-on-sale provision (return to top)
A provision in a mortgage that allows the lender to demand repayment in
full if the borrower sells the property that serves as security for the
earnest money deposit
A deposit made by the potential home buyer to show that he or she is serious
about buying the house.
A right of way giving persons other than the owner access to or over a property.
An appraiser's estimate of the physical condition of a building. The actual
age of a building may be shorter or longer than its effective age.
effective 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, but other income may qualify if it is significant and stable.
Anything that affects or limits the fee simple title to a property, such
as mortgages, leases, easements, or restrictions.
A person who signs ownership interest over to another party. Contrast with
Equal 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
A homeowner's financial interest in a property. Equity is the difference
between the fair market value of the property and the amount still owed
on its mortgage.
An item of value, money, or documents deposited with a third party to be
delivered upon the fulfillment of a condition. For example, the deposit
by a borrower with the lender of funds to pay taxes and insurance premiums
when they become due, or the deposit of funds or documents with an attorney
or escrow agent to be disbursed upon the closing of a sale of real estate.
The account in which a mortgage servicer holds the borrower's escrow payments
prior to paying property expenses.
The periodic examination of escrow accounts to determine if current monthly
deposits will provide sufficient funds to pay taxes, insurance, and other
bills when due.
escrow collections (return to top)
Funds collected by the servicer and set aside in an escrow account to pay
the borrower's property taxes, mortgage insurance, and hazard insurance.
The use of escrow funds to pay real estate taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage
insurance, and other property expenses as they become due.
The portion of a mortgagor's monthly payment that is held by the servicer
to pay for taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, lease payments,
and other items as they become due. Known as "impounds" or "reserves"
in some states.
The ownership interest of an individual in real property. The sum total
of all the real property and personal property owned by an individual at
time of death.
The lawful expulsion of an occupant from real property.
examination of title
The report on the title of a property from the public records or an abstract
of the title.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (return to top)
A consumer protection law that regulates the disclosure of consumer credit
reports by consumer/credit reporting agencies and establishes procedures
for correcting mistakes on one's credit record.
fair market value
The highest price that a buyer, willing but not compelled to buy, would
pay, and the lowest a seller, willing but not compelled to sell, would accept.
A congressionally chartered, shareholder-owned company that is the nation's
largest supplier of home mortgage funds.
Fannie Mae's Community Home Buyer's Program
An income-based community lending model, under which mortgage insurers and
Fannie Mae offer flexible underwriting guidelines to increase a low- or
moderate-income family's buying power and to decrease the total amount of
cash needed to purchase a home. Borrowers who participate in this model
are required to attend pre-purchase home-buyer education sessions.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
An agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Its main activity is the insuring of residential mortgage loans made by
private lenders. The FHA sets standards for construction and underwriting
but does not lend money or plan or construct housing.
The greatest possible interest a person can have in real estate.
A mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
Also known as a government mortgage.
A fee or commission paid to a mortgage broker for finding a mortgage loan
for a prospective borrower.
A mortgage that is the primary lien against a property.
fixed-rate mortgage (FRM)
A mortgage in which the interest rate does not change during the entire
term of the loan.
Insurance that compensates for physical property damage resulting from flooding.
It is required for properties located in federally designated flood areas.
foreclosure (return to top)
The legal process by which a borrower in default under a mortgage is deprived
of his or her interest 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 mrotgage debt.
fully 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
good faith estimate
of charges which a borrower is likely to incur in connection with a settlement.
hazard insurance (return to top)
Insurance protecting against loss to real estate caused
by fire, some natural causes, vandalism, etc., depending upon the terms
of the policy.
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.
The U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development.
index (return to top)
A published interest rate to which the interest rate on
an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) is tied. Some commonly used indeces include
the 1 Year Treasury Bill, 6 Month LIBOR, and the 11th District Cost of Funds
lien (return to top)
An encumbrance against property for money due, either voluntary
A provision of an ARM that limits
the highest rate that can occur over the life of the loan.
loan to value ratio (LTV)
The ratio of the amount
of your loan to the appraised value of the home. The LTV will affect programs
available to the borrower and generally, the lower the LTV the more favorable
the terms of the programs offered by lenders.
A written agreement guaranteeing
the home buyer a specified interest rate provided the loan is closed within
a set period of time. The lock-in also usually specifies the number of points
to be paid at closing.
margin (return to top)
The number of percentage points a lender adds to the index
value to calculate the ARM interest rate at each adjustment period. A representative
margin would be 2.75%.
A legal document that pledges a property
to the lender as security for payment of a debt
mortgage disability insurance
A disability insurance
policy which will pay the monthly mortgage payment in the event of a covered
disability of an insured borrower for a specified period of time.
mortgage insurance (MI)
Insurance written by an
independent mortgage insurance company protecting the mortgage lender against
loss incurred by a mortgage default. Usually required for loans with an
LTV of 80.01% or higher.
The person or company who receives the
mortgage as a pledge for repayment of the loan. The mortgage lender.
The mortgage borrower
who gives the mortgage as a pledge to repay.
non-conforming loan (return to top)
Also called a jumbo loan. Conventional home mortgages not
eligible for sale and delivery to either Fannie Mae (FNMA) or Freddie Mac
(FHLMC) because of various reasons, including loan amount, loan characteristics
or underwriting guidelines. Non-conforming loans usually incur a rate and
origination fee premium.The current non-conforming loan limit is ,601
A written agreement containing
a promise of the signer to pay to a named person, or order, or bearer, a
definite sum of money at a specified date or on demand.
A fee imposed by a lender to cover
certain processing expenses in connection with making a real estate loan.
Usually a percentage of the amount loaned, such as one percent.
owner financing (return
A property purchase transaction
in which the property seller provides all or part of the financing.
Planned Unit Developments (PUD)
A subdivision of
five or more individually owned lots with one or more other parcels owned
in common or with reciprocal rights in one or more other parcels.
Principal, interest, taxes and insurance--the
components of a monthly mortgage payment.
Charges levied by the mortgage lender and
usually payable at closing. One point represents 1% of the face value of
the mortgage loan.
Those expenses of property which are paid
in advance of their due date and will usually be prorated upon sale, such
as taxes, insurance, rent, etc.
A charge imposed by a mortgage
lender on a borrower who wants to pay off part or all of a mortgage loan
in advance of schedule.
Amount of debt, not including interest.
The face value of a note or mortgage.
private mortgage insurance (PMI)
provided by nongovernment insurers that protects lenders against loss if
a borrower defaults. Fannie Mae generally requires private mortgage insurance
for loans with loan-to-value (LTV) percentages greater than 80%.
The ratio of
your fixed monthly expenses to your gross monthly income, used to determine
how much you can afford to borrow. The fixed monthly expenses would include
PITI along with other obligations such as student loans, car loans, or credit
A limit on how much the interest rate
can change, either at each adjustment period or over the life of the loan.
rate lock-in (return to top)
A written agreement in which the lender guarantees the borrower
a specified interest rate, provided the loan closes within a set period
Compensation received from a wholesale lender which can be used to cover closing costs or as a refund to the borrower. Loans with rebates often carry higher interest rates than loans with "points" (see above).
The process of paying off one loan
with the proceeds from a new loan using the same property as security.
residential mortgage credit report (RMCR)
A report requested by your lender that utilizes information
from at least two of the three national credit bureaus and information provided
on your loan application.
seller carry back (return to top)
An agreement in which the owner of a property provides financing,
often in combination with an assumed mortgage.
A print showing the measurements
of the boundaries of a parcel of land, together with the location of all
improvements on the land and sometimes its area and topography.
tenants-in-common (return to top)
An undivided interest in property taken by two or more persons.
The interest need not be equal. Upon death of one or more persons, there
is no right of survivorship.
The evidence one has of right to possession
Insurance against loss resulting
from defects of title to a specifically described parcel of real property.
An investigation into the history
of ownership of a property to check for liens, unpaid claims, restrictions
or problems, to prove that the seller can transfer free and clear ownership.
total debt ratio
Monthly debt and housing payments
divided by gross monthly income. Also known as Obligations-to-Income Ratio
or Back-End Ratio.
Truth-in-Lending Act (return
A federal law requiring a disclosure
of credit terms using a standard format. This is intended to facilitate
comparisons between the lending terms of different financial institutions.
Veterans Administration (VA)
A government agency
guaranteeing mortgage loans with no down payment to qualified veterans.