Mortgage Term Glossary
Adjustable Rate Mortgage A mortgage loan where the interest rate adjusts periodically based on the changes of a specified index such as the one-year Treasury Bill or the LIBOR.
Amortization The calculation of the amount of the installment payment it takes to pay off the obligation at the end of a fixed period of time.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) The total cost of a mortgage stated as a yearly rate. It is typically higher than the note rate because it includes the base interest rate plus specific closing costs.
Appraisal A professional report that estimates the market value of a property.
Assessed Value The value a tax authority places on real property for the purpose of assessing yearly property taxes.
Balloon Mortgage A mortgage that is amortized over a stated period but provides for a lump-sum payment due at an earlier period, e.g. 30-year due in 15, where the payments are based on 30-year repayment but the loan is due paid in full in 15 years.
Cap Limits how much the interest rate on an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) can increase or decrease.
Cash to Close Liquid assets available to be used to pay the closing costs involved with a mortgage transaction.
Collateral Property pledged as security for a loan, such as property pledged as security for a mortgage.
Conventional Mortgage A mortgage not obtained under a government-insured program.
Deed A legal document that is recorded in the county conveying title to a property.
Deed of Trust The legal document that pledges the property for the security of a mortgage loan.
Default Failure to make mortgage payments in a timely manner or to comply with other requirements outlined in the note.
Earnest Money Agreement (Sales Contract) The written agreement between the buyer and seller of a property, which stipulates the amount of the purchase, closing date and any repairs or other conditions that must be met before the transaction (purchase) is completed.
Easement A right of way given to persons other than the owner for access to or over their property.
Equity The portion of a property’s value over and above the amount owed against it.
Escrow A disinterested third party that handles legal documents and funds on behalf of the seller and buyer.
First Mortgage A real estate loan that has priority over any other subsequently recorded mortgages.
Fixed Interest Rates An interest rate which does not change during the term of the loan.
Foreclosure A legal procedure in which the mortgage loan is in default and the property taken from the borrower and sold by the lender to pay off the loan against the property.
Gift Letter A written letter signed by the individual giving funds for the purpose of buying a home which states there is no obligation to repay the sum of money being given.
Gross Monthly Income Total monthly income earned before taxes or other deductions.
Hazard Insurance Also referred to as homeowners or fire insurance; coverage for physical damage to a property from fire, wind, vandalism or other hazards.
Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) Also referred to as a revolving line of credit; usually a second mortgage, which allows the borrower to obtain multiple advances up to a specific credit limit.
Index Generally a published number or percentage, such as the yield on the One-Year Treasury Bill, which is used to compute the interest rate for an adjustable rate mortgage.
Jumbo Loan A loan that exceeds the Fannie Mae legislated mortgage amount, which is currently $333,700. Jumbos are also called non-conforming loans.
Legal Description Describes the location of the property which has been recorded at the county.
Lien A legal claim or attachment against property as security for a loan.
Loan-To-Value Ratio The ratio between the amount of any mortgages against a property divided by the sales price or appraised value.
Monthly Payment Usually the amount of principal, interest, taxes and insurance paid each month on a mortgage loan.
Mortgage The conveyance of an interest in real property given as security for the repayment of a loan.
Origination Fee A fee paid to the lender for processing a loan application. The origination fee is stated in the form of points. One point equals one percent of the mortgage amount.
PITI Reserves A cash amount a borrower must have left over after making a down payment and paying the closing costs for the purchase of a home.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Insurance written by a private company to protect the lender against loss resulting from nonpayment or default.
Purchase Contract (Earnest Money Agreement/Offer) A written agreement between a buyer and seller of real property, setting forth the price and terms of the sale, also known as a sales contract.
Qualifying Ratios Calculations that are used in determining whether a borrower can qualify for a mortgage. The two calculations are housing expense divided by gross income, and the total debt including other monthly debt payments divided by gross income.
Rate Lock A commitment issued by a lender to a borrower guaranteeing a specific interest rate for a specific period of time.
Title Insurance Provides insurance that public records have been examined to insure that there are no liens or other claims against the property.
Truth in Lending Act A federal law that requires lenders to fully disclose 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 creditworthiness and risk involved for the lender.
VA Loan A loan that is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, also known as a government loan.