MORTGAGE GLOSSARY


ADJUSTABLE RATE MORTGAGE (ARM)
Adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMs, usually start with a lower fixed rate, and then adjust according to a specified index after an initial period. ARM terms can be 3/1, 5/1, 7/1, 10/1 and a handful of other options. The first number indicates how many years the interest rate is fixed, and the second number indicates how often the rate adjusts after that initial period is over. For example, in a 7/1 ARM, your interest rate stays the same the first seven years, and then adjusts every year. These mortgages adjust periodically based on an index that changes with market conditions. The rate of interest is the sum of the index plus a margin (the margin remains fixed for the life of the loan). Most ARMs have periodic interest rate and payment caps, as well as a life cap. ARM’s may also be referred as re-negotiable rate mortgage, the variable rate mortgage (VRM’s) or the Canadian rollover mortgage.

AMORTIZATION
Gradual payment of a debt through regular installments that cover both interest and principal.

ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (APR)
Developed to provide you with a clearer description of how much your loan cots, the APR is the true cost of your credit stated at an annual, or yearly rate. The APR also takes into account any costs associated with your loan other than the interest rate. These may include origination fees, loan discount points, and private mortgage insurance premiums. Because all lenders apply the same rules in calculating the annual percentage rate, it provides consumers with a good basis for comparing the cost of loans.

APPRAISED VALUE
An expert option of the value of a property at a given time, based on facts regarding the location, improvements, etc., of the property and surroundings.

BUY DOWN
An interest rate buy down is the temporary reduction of the note rate and resulting monthly payments a borrower pays to the lender. The shortfall between the rate on the note and initial payment made by the borrower is usually paid by a third party such as a seller or builder.

CLOSING
Also called settlement. Conclusion of a real estate sale where the title of the property is transferred to the new owners and funds are transferred to the appropriate parties (seller, old lender, real estate broker, etc.).

CLOSING STATEMENT
Also known as a settlement statement. Statement prepared for the buyer and seller itemizing all of the costs of a real estate transaction.

CONVENTIONAL LOAN
Also known as a conventional mortgage. A non-government loan provided by banks, savings and loans, mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers.

DEBT-TO-INCOME RATIO (DTI)
The ratio, expressed as a percentage, which results when a borrower’s monthly payment obligation on long-term debts is divided by his or her net effective income (FHA/VA loans) or gross monthly income (conventional loans).

DOWN PAYMENT
Cash to be paid by the buyer at closing to consummate a real estate transaction. Down payment is the difference between the sales price and the mortgage amount. Buyer cash required at closing includes the down payment, closing costs and prepaid expenses.

EARNEST MONEY
The earnest money is the deposit money given to the seller or his agent by the potential buyer upon the signing of the agreement of sale to show that he is serious about buying the house. If the sale goes through, the earnest money is applied against the down payment. If the sale does not go through, the earnest money deposit will be forfeited to the seller unless the purchase contract expressly provides conditions for its return to the buyer.

ESCROW
The deposit of instruments and/or funds into the care of a neutral third party with instructions to carry out the provisions of an agreement or contract once all instruments and/or funds have been deposited. Many closings are handled by escrow agents. In this situation, the seller deposits the deed and the buyer deposits the funds necessary with the escrow agent. Once all requirements of the purchase contract are in the control of the escrow agent, the money and deed are distributed accordingly.

FHA LOAN
A loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration open to all qualified home purchasers. While there are limits to the size of FHA loans, they are generous enough to handle moderately-priced homes almost anywhere in the country.

FIXED RATE
An interest rate that does not change from the time you obtain a loan until it is paid in full.

INTEREST RATE
The percentage of an amount of money which is paid for its use for a specified time.

LENDER
A general term encompassing all mortgages, and beneficiaries under deeds of trust.

LIEN
An encumbrance against property for the payment of debt; a lien may be a mechanic’s lien, mortgage, unpaid taxes or judgment.

LOAN OFFICER
A person that helps borrowers through the loan selection, processing, and closing of a mortgage loan. Loan officers can be paid a commission or salary for their services and can work for mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, or depository institutions.

LOAN ORIGINATION FEES
The cost to obtain a loan that is paid to the originating lender or broker.

LOAN-TO-VALUE RATIO (LTV)
The relationship between the amount of the mortgage loan and the appraised value of the property expressed as a percentage.

MORTGAGE BROKER
A professional that helps consumers through the loan selection, processing and closing of a mortgage loan. Most mortgage brokers have access to a wide range of mortgage products through many mortgage lenders. Mortgage brokers are paid a fee by the borrower when a suitable mortgage is found and closed.

ORIGINATION FEE
A fee or charge for work involved in the evaluation, preparation and submission of a proposed mortgage loan.

POINTS
Origination fees charged by the originating lender or broker and/or discount fees charge by lenders to increase the overall yield. A point is equal to one percent of the principal amount of your mortgage.

PREPAID ITEMS OF EXPENSE
Perorations of prepaid items of expense which are credited to the seller in the closing statement.

PRE-QUALIFICATION
A lender’s written opinion of a borrower’s ability to qualify a specified loan amount.

PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE (PMI)
In the event that you do not have a 20 percent down payment, lenders will allow a smaller down payment – as low as 5 percent in some cases. With the smaller down payment loans, however, borrowers are usually required to carry private mortgage insurance.

TITLE
Document that gives evidence of an individual’s ownership of property 7 or 10 years.

UNDERWRITING
The process a lender goes through to decide whether or not to make a loan based on credit history, assets, ability to repay, and other factors and the matching of this risk to an appropriate rate and term or loan amount.

VA LOANS
Long-term, low-or no-down payment loan guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Restricted to individuals qualified by military service or other entitlements.

W2 FORM
Income tax form that is provided by employers to employees that states the income and taxes paid in a calendar year.

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