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Common Mortgage Terms

Acceleration Clause
Provision in a mortgage that allows the lender to demand payment of the entire principal balance if a monthly payment is missed or some other default occurs.

p>Additional Principal Payment
A way to reduce the remaining balance on the loan by paying more than the scheduled principal amount due.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage ARM)
A mortgage with an interest rate that changes during the life of the loan according to the terms in the note often linked to a particular index rate.

Adjusted Basis
The cost of a property plus the value of any capital expenditures for improvements to the property minus any depreciation taken.

Adjustment Date
The date that the interest rate changes on an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

Adjustment Period
The period of time between adjustment dates for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

Amortization
The gradual repayment of a mortgage loan, both principal and interest, by installments.

Amortization Term
The length of time required to amortize the mortgage loan expressed as a number of months. For example, 360 months is the amortization term for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The cost of credit, expressed as a yearly rate including interest, mortgage insurance, loan origination fees and some title fees. This  is not to be confused  with the actual note rate.

Appraised Value
An opinion of a property's fair market value, based on an appraiser's knowledge, experience, analysis of the property, but mostly on the comparables (sold price of similar home in the neighborhood) found in recent home sales.

Asset
Anything owned of monetary value including real property, personal property, etc.

Assignment
The transfer of a mortgage from one person to another.  

Balance Sheet
A financial statement that shows assets, liabilities, and net worth as of a specific date.

Balloon Mortgage
A mortgage with level monthly payments that amortizes over a stated term but also requires that a lump sum payment be paid at the end of an earlier specified term.

Balloon Payment
The final lump sum paid at the maturity date of a balloon mortgage. 

Bridge Loan
A second trust that is collateralized by the borrower's present home allowing the proceeds to be used to close on a new house before the present home is sold and paid when the present home is sold. 

Cap
Limits how much the interest rate or the monthly payment can increase, either at each adjustment or during the life of the mortgage.

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. 

Closing
A meeting held to finalize the sale of a property. The buyer signs the mortgage documents and pays closing costs. Also called "settlement."

Closing Costs
These are expenses - over and above the price of the property- that are incurred by buyers and sellers when transferring ownership of a property. Closing costs normally include an origination fee, property taxes, charges for title insurance and escrow costs, appraisal fees, etc. Closing costs will vary according to the area country and the lenders used.

Compound Interest
Interest paid on the original principal balance and on the accrued and unpaid interest.

Conversion Clause
A provision in an ARM allowing the loan to be converted to a fixed-rate at some point during the term. Usually conversion is allowed at the end of the first adjustment period. The conversion feature may cost extra.

Credit Report
A report detailing an individual's credit history that is prepared by a credit bureau and used by a lender to determine a loan applicant's creditworthiness.

Credit Risk Score
A credit score measures a consumer's credit risk relative to the rest of the U.S. population, based on the individual's credit usage history. The credit score most widely used by lenders is the FICO® score, developed by Fair, Isaac and Company. This 3-digit number, ranging from 300 to 850, is calculated by a mathematical equation that evaluates many types of information that are on your credit report. Higher FICO® scores represents lower credit risks, which typically equate to better loan terms.

Deed of Trust
The document used in some states instead of a mortgage. Title is conveyed to a trustee.

Default
Failure to make mortgage payments on a timely basis or to comply with other requirements of a mortgage.

Delinquency
Failure to make mortgage payments on time.

Down Payment
Part of the purchase price of a property that is paid in cash and not financed with a mortgage. .

Equity
The amount of financial interest in a property. Equity is the difference between the fair market value of the property and the amount still owed on the mortgage.

Escrow
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 of funds or documents given to bind the sale of real estate and deposited into an escrow account to be disbursed upon the closing of a sale of real estate.

Escrow Disbursements
The use of escrow funds to pay real estate taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, and other property expenses as they become due.

Escrow Payment
The part of a mortgagor’s monthly payment that is held by the servicer to pay for taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance and other items as they become due.

Fannie Mae
A congressionally chartered, shareholder-owned company that is the nation's largest supplier of home mortgage funds.

FHA Mortgage
A mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Also known as a government mortgage.

FICO Score
FICO® scores are the most widely used credit score in U.S. mortgage loan underwriting. This 3-digit number, ranging from 300 to 850, is calculated by a mathematical equation that evaluates many types of information that are on your credit report. Higher FICO® scores represent lower credit risks, which typically equate to better loan terms.

First Mortgage
The primary lien against a property.

Fixed Installment
The monthly payment due on a mortgage loan including payment of both principal and interest.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage
A mortgage interest that are fixed throughout the entire term of the loan.

GNMA
A government-owned corporation that assumed responsibility for the special assistance loan program formerly administered by Fannie Mae. Popularly known as Ginnie Mae. 

Housing Expense Ratio
The percentage of gross monthly income budgeted to pay housing expenses.

HUD-1 statement
A document that provides an itemized listing of the funds that are payable at closing. Items that appear on the statement include real estate commissions, loan fees, points, and initial escrow amounts.

Hybrid ARM (3/1 ARM, 5/1 ARM, 7/1 ARM)
A combination fixed rate and adjustable rate loan - also called 3/1,5/1,7/1 - can offer the best of both worlds: lower interest rates (like ARMs) and a fixed payment for a longer period of time than most adjustable rate loans. For example, a "5/1 loan" has a fixed monthly payment and interest for the first five years and then turns into a traditional adjustable rate loan, based on then-current rates for the remaining 25 years.

Index
The index is the measure of interest rate changes a lender uses to decide the amount an interest rate on an ARM will change over time. The index is generally a published number or percentage, such as  Treasury bills, LIBOR, wall Street Prime, etc.

Installment
The regular periodic payment that a borrower agrees to make to a lender.

Insured Mortgage
A mortgage that is protected by the Federal Housing Administration (MIP) or by private mortgage insurance (MI).

Interest
The fee charged for borrowing money.

Interest Rate Floor
For an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), the minimum interest rate, as specified in the mortgage note.

Late Charge
The penalty a borrower must pay when a payment is made a stated number of days (usually 15) after the due date. 

Liabilities
A person's financial obligations. Liabilities include long-term and short-term debt.

Lifetime Payment Cap
For an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), a limit on the amount that payments can increase or decrease over the life of the mortgage.

Lifetime Rate Cap
For an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), a limit on the amount that the interest rate can increase or decrease over the life of the loan. See cap.

Line of Credit
An agreement by a commercial bank or other financial institution to extend credit up to a certain amount for a certain time.

Liquid Asset
A cash asset or an asset that is easily converted into cash.

Loan
A sum of borrowed money (principal) that is generally repaid with interest.

Loan-to-Value (LTV) Percentage
The relationship between the principal balance of the mortgage and the appraised value (or sales price if it is lower) of the property. For example, a $100,000 home with an $80,000 mortgage has an LTV of 80 percent.

Lock-In Period
The guarantee of an interest rate for a specified period of time by a lender, including loan term and points, if any, to be paid at closing. Short term locks (under 21 days), are usually available after lender loan approval only. However, many lenders may permit a borrower to lock a loan for 30 days or more prior to submission of the loan application.

Margin
The number of percentage points the lender adds to the index rate which is their gross profit.

Maturity Date
The date on which the principal balance of a loan becomes due and payable.

Mortgage
A legal instrument that pledges a property to the lender as security for payment of the loan.

Mortgage Broker
A licensed company that brings borrowers and lenders together for the purpose of loan origination.

Mortgage Insurance
An insurance contract that insures the lender against loss caused by a  default on a  mortgage. Mortgage insurance can be issued by a private company or by a government agency for a loan with a loan-to-value (LTV) percentage in excess of 80 percent. . Sometimes known as either "MIP" or "MI"

Mortgagor
The borrower in a mortgage agreement.

Net Worth
The value of all of a person's assets, including cash minus their liabilities.

Non Liquid Asset
An asset that cannot easily be converted into cash.

Note
A legal document that obligates a borrower to repay a mortgage loan at a stated interest rate during a specified period of time.

Origination Fee
A fee paid to an originator for getting a loan for a borrower. The origination fee is stated in the form of points. One point is 1 percent of the mortgage amount. 

Reserves
A cash amount that a borrower must have on hand after making a down payment and paying all closing costs for the purchase of a home. The reserves must equal the amount that the borrower would have to pay for PITI for a predefined number of months .

Points
A point is equal to one percent of the principal amount of your mortgage. For example, if you get a mortgage for $165,000 one point means $1,650.

Prime Rate
The interest rate that banks charge to their preferred customers.

Principal
The amount borrowed or remaining unpaid balance.

Principal Balance
The outstanding balance of principal on a mortgage not including interest or any other charges.

Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance (PITI)
The four components of a monthly mortgage payment. Principal refers to the part of the monthly payment that reduces the remaining balance of the mortgage. Interest is the fee charged for borrowing money. Taxes and insurance refer to the monthly cost of property taxes and homeowners insurance, whether these amounts that are paid into an escrow account each month or not.

Qualifying Ratios
Calculations used to determine if a borrower can qualify for a mortgage. They consist of two separate calculations: a housing expense as a percent of income ratio and total debt obligations as a percent of income ratio.

Rate Lock
A commitment issued by a lender to a borrower or other mortgage originator guaranteeing a specified interest rate and lender costs for a specified period of time.

Recording
The noting in the registrar’s office of the details of a properly executed legal document, such as a deed, a mortgage note, a satisfaction of mortgage, or an extension of mortgage, thereby making it a part of the public record.

Refinance
Paying off one loan with the proceeds from a new loan using the same property as security.

Revolving Credit
A credit arrangement, such as a credit card, that allows a customer to borrow against a pre-approved line of credit when purchasing goods and services.

Security
The property that will be pledged as collateral for a loan.

Seller Carry-back
An agreement in which the seller of a property provides some or all of the financing.

Servicer
An organization that collects principal and interest payments from borrowers and manages borrowers’ escrow accounts. The servicer often services mortgages that have been purchased by an investor in the secondary mortgage market.  .

Total Expense Ratio
Total obligations as a percentage of gross monthly income including monthly housing expenses plus other monthly debts.

Treasury Index
An index used to determine interest rate changes for certain adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) plans. Based on the results of auctions that the U.S. Treasury holds for its Treasury bills and securities or derived from the U.S. Treasury's daily yield curve, which is based on the closing market bid yields on actively traded Treasury securities in the over-the-counter market.

Truth-in-Lending
A federal law that requires lenders to fully disclose, in writing, the terms and conditions of a mortgage, including the annual percentage rate (APR) and other charges.

Underwriting
The process of evaluating a loan application to determine the risk involved for the lender. Underwriting involves an analysis of the borrower's creditworthiness and the quality of the property itself.

VA Mortgage
A mortgage that is guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Also known as a government mortgage.