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Glossary of Mortgage & Real Estate Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

401(k)/403(b)
An employer-sponsored investment plan that allows individuals to set aside tax-deferred income for retirement or emergency purposes. 401(k) plans are provided by employers that are private corporations. 403(b) plans are provided by employers that are not for profit organizations.
401(k)/403(b) loan
Some administrators of 401(k)/403(b) plans allow for loans against the monies you have accumulated in these plans. Loans against 401K plans are an acceptable source of down payment for most types of loans.
Abstract (of Title)
A summary of the public records relating to the title to a particular piece of land. If there are any title defects they must be cleared before a buyer can purchase clear, marketable, and insurable title.
Acceleration Clause
An acceleration clause is a clause in which your mortgage which allows the lender to demand payment of the outstanding loan balance for various reasons. The most common reasons for accelerating a loan are if the borrower defaults on the loan or transfers title to another individual without informing the lender.
Accessed Value
Accessed value is the valuation placed on property by a public tax assessor for purposes of taxation.
Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)
An adjustable rate mortgage is a mortgage in which the interest changes periodically, according to corresponding fluctuations in an index. All ARMs are tied to indexes.
Adjustment Interval
On an adjustable rate mortgage, the time between changes in the interest rate and/or monthly payment, usually one, three or five years.
Affiliate
An entity related to a Seller that is subject to common operating control and that is operated as part of the same system or enterprise. The Seller typically owns less than a majority of the voting stock or the Seller and the entity are subsidiaries of a third party.
Affordable Seconds
Subsidized secondary financing or other financial assistance provided under an established, documented secondary financing or financial assistance program that has formal procedures in place to provide applicant qualification, loan processing, and loan program administration on an ongoing basis.
Agreement of Sale
Known by various names, such as contract of purchase, purchase agreement, or sales agreement according to location or jurisdiction. A contract in which a seller agrees to sell and a buyer agrees to buy, under specific terms spelled out in writing and signed by both parties.
Amortization
The loan payment consists of a portion which will be applied to pay the accruing interest on a loan, with the remainder being applied to the principal. Over time, the interest portion decreases as the loan balance decreases, and the amount applied to principal increases so that the loan is paid off (amortized) in the specified time.
Amortization Schedule
An amortization schedule is a table which shows how much of each payment will be applied toward principal and how much toward interest over the life of the loan. It also shows the gradual decrease of the loan balance until it reaches zero.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
This is not the note rate on your loan. It is a value created according to a government formula intended to reflect the true annual cost of borrowing, expressed as a percentage. It works sort of like this, but not exactly, so only use this as a guideline: deduct the closing costs from your loan amount, then using your actual loan payment, calculate what the interest rate would be on this amount instead of your actual loan amount. You will come up with a number close to the APR. Because you are using the same payment on a smaller amount, the APR is always higher than the actual not rate on your loan.
Application
The form used to apply for a mortgage loan, containing information about a borrower's income, savings, assets, debts, and more.
Appraisal
An appraisal is a written justification of the price paid for a property, primarily based on an analysis of comparable sales of similar homes nearby.
Appraised Value
Appraised value is an opinion of a property's fair market value, based on an appraiser's knowledge, experience, and analysis of the property. Since an appraisal is based primarily on comparable sales, and the most recent sale is the one on the property in question, the appraisal usually comes out at the purchase price.
Appraiser
An appraiser is an individual qualified by education, training, and experience to estimate the value of real property and personal property. Although some appraisers work directly for mortgage lenders, most are independent.
Appreciation
Appreciation is the increase in the value of a property due to changes in market conditions, inflation, or other causes.
Assessment
The placing of a value on property for the purpose of taxation.
Assessment Report
Report that appraisers use to record property values, marketability analyses and any pertinent comments regarding the subject property. Assessment reports are classified as appraisal reports or inspection reports.
Assessor
A public official who establishes the value of a property for taxation purposes.
Asset
Items of value owned by an individual. Assets that can be quickly converted into cash are considered "liquid assets." These include bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and so on. Other assets include real estate, personal property, and debts owed to an individual by others.
Assignment
When ownership of your mortgage is transferred from one company or individual to another, it is called an assignment.
Assumable Mortgage
A mortgage that can be assumed by the buyer when a home is sold. Usually, the borrower must "qualify" in order to assume the loan.
Assumption
The term applied when a buyer assumes the seller's mortgage.
A Mortgage
A mortgage that is guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
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