Real Estate Glossary Terms E – Z

Glossary (A-D) | Glossary (E-Z)

earnest money deposit
A deposit made by the potential home buyer to show that he or she is serious about buying the house.

equity
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.

equity loan
A loan based on the borrower’s equity in his/her home.

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 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.

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.

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

finance charge
The cost of credit as a dollar amount (i.e. total amount of interest and specific other loan charges to be paid over the term of the loan and other loan charges to be paid by the borrower at closing). Loan charges include origination fees, discount points, mortgage insurance, and other applicable charges. If the seller pays any of these charges, they cannot be included in the finance charge.

first mortgage
A mortgage that is the primary lien against a property.

fixed installment
The monthly payment due on a mortgage loan. The fixed installment includes payment of both principal and interest.

fixed rate mortgage (FRM)
A mortgage in which the interest rate does not change during the entire term of the loan.

floating
The term used when a purchaser elects not to lock-in an interest rate at the time of application.

forbearance
The lender’s postponement of foreclosure to give the borrower more time to catch up on payments.

foreclosure
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.

fully amortized ARM

An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) with a monthly payment that is sufficient to amortize the remaining balance, at the interest accrual rate, over the amortization term.

good faith estimate (GFE)
A disclosure required under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) that must be given to all mortgage loan applicants at application time. The disclosure is an estimate of all settlement charges likely to be incurred at closing.

government mortgage
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.

graduated payment mortgage
A mortgage that starts with low monthly payments that increase at a predetermined rate.

growing-equity mortgage (GEM)
A fixed-rate mortgage that provides scheduled payment increases over an established period of time, with the increased amount of the monthly payment applied directly toward reducing the remaining balance of the mortgage.

hazard insurance
Insurance coverage that compensates for physical damage to a property from fire, wind, vandalism, or other hazards.

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.

index
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.

inflation
An increase in the amount of money or credit available in relation to the amount of goods or services available, which causes an increase in the general price level of goods and services. Over time, inflation reduces the purchasing power of a dollar, making it worth less.

initial interest rate
The original interest rate of the mortgage at the time of closing. This rate changes for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). Sometimes known as “start rate” or “teaser.”

interest
The fee charged for borrowing money.

interest accrual rate
The percentage rate at which interest accrues on the mortgage. In most cases, it is also the rate used to calculate the monthly payments, although it is not used for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) with payment change limitations.

interest rate
The rate of interest in effect for the monthly payment due.

interest rate buy-down plan

An arrangement wherein the property seller (or any other party) deposits money to an account so that it can be released each month to reduce the mortgagor’s monthly payments during the early years of a mortgage. During the specified period, the mortgagor’s effective interest rate is “bought down” below the actual interest rate.

interest rate cap
A provision of an arm limiting how much interest rates may increase or decrease per adjustment period or over the life of the loan.

interest rate ceiling
For an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), the maximum interest rate, as specified in the mortgage note.

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

jumbo loan
A loan that exceeds Fannie Mae’s legislated mortgage amount limits. Also called a nonconforming loan.

lease
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 low- and moderate-income home buyers to lease a home from a nonprofit organization with an option to buy. Each month’s rent payment 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 down payment will accumulate.

liabilities
A person’s financial obligations. Liabilities include long-term and short-term debt, as well as any other amounts that are owed to others.

liability insurance
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.

lien
A legal claim against a property that must be paid off when the property is sold.

liquid asset
A cash asset or an asset that is easily converted into cash.

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.

lock-in
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.

margin
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.

maturity
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.

monthly fixed installment

That portion of the total monthly payment that is applied toward principal and interest. When a mortgage negatively amortizes, the monthly fixed installment does not include any amount for principal reduction.

monthly payment mortgage
A mortgage that requires payments to reduce the debt once a month.

mortgage
A legal document that pledges a property to the lender as security for payment of a debt.

mortgage banker
A company that originates mortgages exclusively for resale in the secondary mortgage market.

mortgage broker

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.

mortgage insurance
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.

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.

negative amortization

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.

net cash flow
The income that remains for an investment property after the monthly operating income is reduced by the monthly housing expense, which includes principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (PITI) for the mortgage, homeowners’ association dues, leasehold payments, and subordinate financing payments.

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.

notice of default
A formal written notice to a borrower that a default has occurred and that legal action may be taken.

original principal balance

The total amount of principal owed on a mortgage before any payments are made.

origination fee
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.

owner financing

A property purchase transaction in which the property seller provides all or part of the financing.

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.

PITI
principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.

points
A one-time charge by the lender for originating a loan. A point is 1 percent of the amount of the mortgage.

prepaid interest

Mortgage interest that is paid in advance of when it is due to obtain tax advantages.

prepayment
Any amount paid to reduce the principal balance of a loan before the due date. Payment in full on a mortgage that may result from a sale of the property, the owner’s decision to pay off the loan in full, or a foreclosure. In each case, prepayment means payment occurs before the loan has been fully amortized. Often, a fee may be charged to a borrower who pays off a loan before it is due.

prequalification
The process of determining how much money a prospective home buyer will be eligible to borrow before he or she applies for a loan.

prime rate
The interest rate that banks charge to their preferred customers. Changes in the prime rate influence changes in other rates, including mortgage interest rates.

principal
The amount borrowed or remaining unpaid. The part of the monthly payment that reduces the remaining balance of a mortgage.

principal balance
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 (PMI)
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.

promissory note
A written promise to repay a specified amount over a specified period of time.

pro rate
The allocation of proportionate shares of income, ownership, or of an obligation, which a buyer and seller share at the time of closing.

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.

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

realtor
A person licensed to negotiate and transact the sale of real estate on behalf of the property owner.

real property
Land and appurtenances, including anything of a permanent nature such as structures, trees, minerals, and the interest, benefits, and inherent rights thereof.

remaining balance
The amount of principal that has not yet been repaid. See principal balance.

repayment plan
An arrangement made to repay delinquent installments or advances. Lenders’ formal repayment plans are called “relief provisions.”

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.

second mortgage
A mortgage that has a lien position subordinate to the first mortgage.

secured loan
A loan that is backed by collateral.

settlement
Another term for “closing”.

sweat equity
Contribution to the construction or rehabilitation of a property in the form of labor or services rather than cash.

title
A legal document evidencing a person’s right to or ownership of a property.

title company
A company that specializes in examining and insuring titles to real estate.

title insurance
Insurance that protects the lender (lender’s policy) or the buyer (owner’s policy) against loss arising from disputes over ownership of a property.

transfer tax
State or local tax payable when title passes from one owner to another.

Treasury index
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.

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.

two-step mortgage
An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that has one interest rate for the first five or seven years of its mortgage term and a different interest rate for the remainder of the amortization term.

trustee
A fiduciary who holds or controls property for the benefit of another.

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.

unsecured loan
A loan that is not backed by collateral.

Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA)
Standard form where mortgage applicants provide the lender with information essential to loan approval.

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

verification of deposit (VOD)
A form that requests and secures verifications of amounts on deposit at financial institutions. When a depository institution is also the applicant’s creditor, the VOD verifies the obligation.

verification of employment (VOE)

A form that requests and secures documentation of a mortgage applicant’s work history and/or occupation, to assist in the lender’s credit investigation.

verification of mortgage (VOM)
A form that requests and secures verification of payments made on an applicant’s current or past mortgage.

vested
Having the right to use a portion of a fund such as an individual retirement fund. For example, individuals who are 100 percent vested can withdraw all of the funds that are set aside for them in a retirement fund. However, taxes may be due on any funds that are actually withdrawn.

Veterans Administration (VA)

A government agency that aids veterans of the U.S. armed forces in various ways; its housing assistance takes the form of a guarantee to the financial institution on loans with low down payments to qualified veterans.

wraparound mortgage
A mortgage that includes the remaining balance on an existing first mortgage plus an additional amount requested by the mortgagor. Full payments on both mortgages are made to the wraparound mortgagee, who then forwards the payments on the first mortgage to the first mortgagee.

Glossary (A-D) | Glossary (E-Z)