The following glossary contains excerpts from a Fannie Mae publication.
A provision in a mortgage that gives the lender the right to demand payment of the entire principal balance if a monthly payment is missed.
additional principal payment
A payment by a borrower of more than the scheduled principal amount due in order to reduce the remaining balance on the loan.
adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)
A mortgage that permits the lender to adjust the mortgage's interest rate periodically on the basis of changes in a specified index. Interest rates may move up or down, as market conditions change.
The date on which the interest rate changes for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).
The gradual repayment of a mortgage loan by installments.
A timetable for payment of a mortgage loan. An amortization schedule shows the amount of each payment applied to interest and principal and shows the remaining balance after each payment is made.
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 written analysis of the estimated value of a property prepared by a qualified appraiser. Contrast with home inspection.
An opinion of a property's fair market value, based on an appraiser's knowledge, experience and analysis of the property.
An increase in the value of a property due to changes in market conditions or other causes. The opposite of depreciation.
The valuation placed on property by a public tax assessor for purposes of taxation.
The process of placing a value on property for the strict purpose of taxation. May also refer to a levy against property for a special purpose, such as a sewer assessment.
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).
A mortgage that can be taken over ("assumed") by the buyer when a home is sold.
The fee paid to a lender (usually by the purchaser of real property) resulting from the assumption of an existing mortgage.
One who holds a power of attorney from another to execute documents on behalf of the grantor of the power.
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 principal and interest on the loan are amortized over a longer period than the actual term of the mortgage.
The final lump sum payment that is made at the maturity date of a balloon mortgage.
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 a trustee.
bill of sale
A written document that transfers title to personal property.
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 mortgage, and they are usually drafted from the borrower’s bank account. The result for the borrower is a substantial savings in interest.
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.
Local regulations that control design, construction and materials used in construction. Building codes are based on safety and health standards.
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.
A provision of an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that limits how much the interest rate or mortgage payments may increase or decrease. See lifetime payment cap, lifetime rate cap, periodic payment cap and periodic rate cap.
The cost of an improvement made to extend the useful life of a property or to add to its value.
Any structure or component erected as a permanent improvement to real property that adds to its value and useful life.
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.
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 most recent.
A title that is free of liens or legal questions as to ownership of the property.
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." At this meeting, ownership of the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer.
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. Lenders or REALTORS® can provide estimates of closing costs to prospective homebuyers and sellers.
See HUD-1 statement.
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.
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.
common area assessments
Levies against individual unit owners in a condominium or planned unit development (PUD) project for additional capital to defray homeowners' association costs and expenses and to repair, replace, maintain, improve or operate the common areas of the project.
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.
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.
Interest paid on the original principal balance and on the accrued and unpaid interest.
The determination that a building is not fit for use or is dangerous and must be destroyed; the taking of private property for a public purpose through an exercise of the right of eminent domain.
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.
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.
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. Contrast with government mortgage.
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.
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. See adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).
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.
credit life insurance
A type of insurance often bought by mortgagors because it will pay off the mortgage debt if the mortgagor dies while the policy is in force.
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.
The legal document conveying title to a property.
A deed given by a mortgagor to the mortgagee to satisfy a debt and avoid foreclosure. Also called a "voluntary conveyance."
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 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.
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 mortgage.
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.
The right of a government to take private property for public use upon payment of its fair market value. Eminent domain is the basis for condemnation proceedings.
An improvement that intrudes illegally on another’s property.
Anything that affects or limits the fee simple title to a property, such as mortgages, leases, easements or restrictions.
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 use of escrow funds to pay real estate taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance and other property expenses as they become due.
examination of title
The report on the title of a property from the public records or an abstract of the title.
A written contract that gives a licensed real estate agent the exclusive right to sell a property for a specified time.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
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 New York Stock Exchange company and the largest non-bank financial services company in the world. It operates pursuant to a federal charter and is the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages.
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 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.
Personal property that becomes real property when attached in a permanent manner to real estate.
Insurance that compensates for physical property damage resulting from flooding. It is required for properties located in federally designated flood areas.
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 mortgage debt.
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.
Some administrators of 401(k)/403(b) plans allow for loans against the monies you have accumulated in these plans -- monies must be repaid to avoid serious penalty charges.
A mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or the Rural Housing Service (RHS). Contrast with conventional mortgage.
Government National Mortgage Association
A government-owned corporation within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Created by Congress on Sept. 1, 1968, GNMA assumed responsibility for the special assistance loan program formerly administered by Fannie Mae. Popularly known as Ginnie Mae.
Insurance coverage that compensates for physical damage to a property from fire, wind, vandalism, or other hazards.
Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM)
A special type of mortgage that enables older home owners to convert the equity they have in their homes into cash, using a variety of payment options to address their specific financial needs. Unlike traditional home equity loans, a borrower does not qualify on the basis of income but on the value of his or her home. In addition, the loan does not have to be repaid until the borrower no longer occupies the property. This loan is sometimes called a reverse mortgage.
home equity line of credit
A mortgage loan, which is usually in a subordinate position, that allows the borrower to obtain multiple advances of the loan proceeds at his or her own discretion, up to an amount that represents a specified percentage of the borrower's equity in a property.
A thorough inspection that evaluates the structural and mechanical condition of a property. A satisfactory home inspection is often included as a contingency by the purchaser. Contrast with appraisal.
A nonprofit association that manages the common areas of a planned unit development (PUD) or condominium project. In a condominium project, it has no ownership interest in the common elements. In a PUD project, it holds title to the common elements.
homeowner's warranty (HOW)
A type of insurance that covers repairs to specified parts of a house for a specific period of time. It is provided by the builder or sometimes the property seller.
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. Each item on the statement is represented by a separate number within a standardized numbering system. The totals at the bottom of the HUD-1 statement define the seller's net proceeds and the buyer's net payment at closing. The blank form for the statement is published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HUD-1 statement is also known as the "closing statement" or "settlement sheet."
A number used to compute the interest rate for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). The index is generally a published number or percentage, such as the average interest rate or yield on Treasury bills. A margin is added to the index to determine the interest rate that will be charged on the ARM. This interest rate is subject to any caps that are associated with the mortgage.
A contract that provides compensation for specific losses in exchange for a periodic payment. An individual contract is known as an insurance policy, and the periodic payment is known as an insurance premium.
A document that states that insurance is temporarily in effect. Because the coverage will expire by a specified date, a permanent policy must be obtained before the expiration date.
A mortgage that is protected by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or by private mortgage insurance (MI). If the borrower defaults on the loan, the insurer must pay the lender the lesser of the loss incurred or the insured amount.
The fee charged for borrowing money.
The rate of interest in effect for the monthly payment due.
interest rate ceiling
For an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), the maximum interest rate, as specified in the mortgage note.
A property that is not occupied by the owner.
A form of co-ownership that gives each tenant equal interest and equal rights in the property, including the right of survivorship.
A decision made by a court of law. In judgments that require the repayment of a debt, the court may place a lien against the debtor's real property as collateral for the judgment's creditor.
A lien on the property of a debtor resulting from the decree of a court.
A loan that exceeds Fannie Mae’s mortgage amount limits, also called a nonconforming loan.
The penalty a borrower must pay when a payment is made a stated number of days (usually 15) after the due date.
A written agreement between the property owner and a tenant that stipulates the conditions under which the tenant may possess the real estate for a specified period of time and rent.
lease-purchase mortgage loan
An alternative financing option that allows buyers to lease a home from a seller with an option to buy. Each month's rent payment can consists of principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI) payments on the first mortgage plus an extra amount that is earmarked for deposit to a savings account in which money for a downpayment will accumulate.
A property description, recognized by law, that is sufficient to locate and identify the property without oral testimony.
A person's financial obligations. Liabilities include long-term and short-term debt, as well as any other amounts that are owed to others.
Insurance coverage that offers protection against claims alleging that a property owner's negligence or inappropriate action resulted in bodily injury or property damage to another party.
A legal claim against a property that must be paid off when the property is sold.
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, interest rate ceiling and interest rate floor.
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 to a specified borrower. See home equity line of credit.
A sum of borrowed money (principal) that is generally repaid with interest.
A formal offer by a lender stating the terms under which it agrees to lend money to a home buyer. This is also known as a "commitment letter.”
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 a LTV percentage of 80 percent.
A written agreement in which the lender guarantees a specified interest rate if a mortgage goes to closing within a set period of time. The lock-in also usually specifies the number of points to be paid at closing.
For an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), the amount that is added to the index to establish the interest rate on each adjustment date, subject to any limitations on the interest rate change.
The date on which the principal balance of a loan, bond or other financial instrument becomes due and payable.
merged credit report
A credit report that contains information from three credit repositories. When the report is created, the information is compared for duplicate entries. Any duplicates are combined to provide a summary of your credit.
A legal document that pledges a property to the lender as security for payment of a debt.
A company that originates mortgages exclusively for resale in the secondary mortgage market.
An individual or company that brings borrowers and lenders together for the purpose of loan origination. Mortgage brokers typically require a fee or a commission for their services.
The lender in a mortgage agreement.
A contract that insures the lender against loss caused by a mortgagor's default on a government mortgage or conventional mortgage. Mortgage insurance can be issued by a private company or by a government agency such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Depending on the type of mortgage insurance, the insurance may cover a percentage of or virtually all of the mortgage loan. See private mortgage insurance.
mortgage insurance premium (MIP)
The amount paid by a mortgagor for mortgage insurance, either to a government agency such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or to a private mortgage insurance (MI) company.
mortgage life insurance
A type of term life insurance often bought by mortgagors. The amount of coverage decreases as the principal balance declines. In the event that the borrower dies while the policy is in force, the debt is automatically satisfied by insurance proceeds.
The borrower in a mortgage agreement.
Fannie Mae provides financing for multifamily (buildings with five or more units) rental properties through a nationwide network of mortgage lenders.
A gradual increase in mortgage debt that occurs when the monthly payment is not large enough to cover the entire principal and interest due. The amount of the shortfall is added to the remaining balance to create "negative" amortization.
The value of all of a person's assets, including cash, minus all liabilities.
A legal document that obligates a borrower to repay a mortgage loan at a stated interest rate during a specified period of time.
original principal balance
The total amount of principal owed on a mortgage before any payments are made.
A fee paid to a lender for processing a loan application. The origination fee is stated in the form of points. One point is 1 percent of the mortgage amount.
A property purchase transaction in which the property seller provides all or part of the financing.
payment change date
The date when a new monthly payment amount takes effect on an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) or a graduated-payment adjustable-rate mortgage (GPARM). Generally, the payment change date occurs in the month immediately after the adjustment date.
periodic payment cap
For an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), a limit on the amount that payments can increase or decrease during any one adjustment period.
periodic rate cap
For an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), a limit on the amount that the interest rate can increase or decrease during any one adjustment period, regardless of how high or low the index might be.
Any property that is not real property.
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 principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI) reserves must equal the amount that the borrower would have to pay for PITI for a predefined number of months.
power of attorney
A legal document that authorizes another person to act on one’s behalf. A power of attorney can grant complete authority or can be limited to certain acts and/or certain periods of time.
A procedure in which the investor allows a mortgagor to avoid foreclosure by selling the property for less than the amount that is owed to the investor.
Any amount paid to reduce the principal balance of a loan before the due date.
A fee that may be charged to a borrower who pays off a loan before it is due.
The process of determining how much money a prospective home buyer will be eligible to borrow before he or she applies for a loan.
The interest rate that banks charge to their preferred customers. Changes in the prime rate influence changes in other rates, including mortgage interest rates.
The amount borrowed or remaining unpaid. The part of the monthly payment that reduces the remaining balance of a mortgage.
The outstanding balance of principal on a mortgage. The principal balance does not include 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 amounts that are paid into an escrow account each month for property taxes and mortgage and hazard insurance.
private mortgage insurance (MI)
Mortgage insurance that is provided by a private mortgage insurance company to protect lenders against loss if a borrower defaults. Most lenders generally require MI for a loan with a loan-to-value (LTV) percentage in excess of 80 percent.
A written promise to repay a specified amount over a specified period of time.
PUD (Planned Unit Development)
A project or subdivision that includes common property that is owned and maintained by a homeowners' association for the benefit and use of the individual PUD unit owners.
purchase and sale agreement
A written contract signed by the buyer and seller stating the terms and conditions under which a property will be sold.
Calculations that are used in determining whether 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.
A deed that transfers without warranty whatever interest or title a grantor may have at the time the conveyance is made.
A radioactive gas found in some homes that in sufficient concentrations can cause health problems.
A commitment issued by a lender to a borrower or other mortgage originator guaranteeing a specified interest rate for a specified period of time. See lock-in.
real estate agent
A person licensed to negotiate and transact the sale of real estate on behalf of the property owner.
Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)
A consumer protection law that requires lenders to give borrowers advance notice of closing costs.
Land and appurtenances, including anything of a permanent nature such as structures, trees, minerals and the interest, benefits and inherent rights thereof.
A real estate broker or an associate who holds active membership in a local real estate board that is affiliated with the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS®.
The cancellation or annulment of a transaction or contract by the operation of a law or by mutual consent. Borrowers usually have the option to cancel a refinance transaction within three business days after it has closed.
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.
The process of paying off one loan with the proceeds from a new loan using the same property as security.
A mortgage created to cover the costs of repairing, improving and sometimes acquiring an existing property.
right of first refusal
A provision in an agreement that requires the owner of a property to give another party the first opportunity to purchase or lease the property before he or she offers it for sale or lease to others.
right of ingress or egress
The right to enter or leave designated premises.
right of survivorship
In joint tenancy, the right of survivors to acquire the interest of a deceased joint tenant.
A mortgage that has a lien position subordinate to the first mortgage.
secondary mortgage market
The buying and selling of existing mortgages.
The property that will be pledged as collateral for a loan.
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.
One- to four-unit properties including detached homes, townhomes, condominiums and cooperatives.
A housing development that is created by dividing a tract of land into individual lots for sale or lease.
Any mortgage or other lien that has a priority that is lower than that of the first mortgage.
A drawing or map showing the precise legal boundaries of a property, the location of improvements, easements, rights of way, encroachments and other physical features.
tenancy in common
A type of joint tenancy in a property without right of survivorship. Contrast with tenancy by the entirety and with joint tenancy.
A process by which a lender uses another party to completely or partially originate, process, underwrite, close, fund or package the mortgages it plans to deliver to the secondary mortgage market. See mortgage broker.
A legal document evidencing a person's right to or ownership of a property.
A company that specializes in examining and insuring titles to real estate.
Insurance that protects the lender (lender's policy) or the buyer (owner's policy) against loss arising from disputes over ownership of a property.
A check of the title records to ensure that the seller is the legal owner of the property and that there are no liens or other claims outstanding.
An index that is used to determine interest rate changes for certain adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) plans. It is based on the results of auctions that the U.S. Treasury holds for its Treasury bills and securities or is 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. See adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).
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.
two- to four-family property
A property that consists of a structure that provides living space (dwelling units) for two to four families, although ownership of the structure is evidenced by a single deed.
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.
A mortgage that is guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Also known as a government mortgage.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
An agency of the federal government that guarantees residential mortgages made to eligible veterans of the military services. The guarantee protects the lender against loss and thus encourages lenders to make mortgages to veterans.