Real Estate Glossary
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.
An offeree’s consent to enter into a contract and be bound by the terms of the offer.
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 its interest rate periodically on the basis of changes in a specified index.
The original cost of a property plus the value of any capital expenditures for improvements to the property minus any depreciation taken.
The date on which the interest rate changes for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).
The period that elapses between the adjustment dates for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).
A person appointed by a probate court to administer the estate of a person who died intestate.
A detailed analysis of your ability to afford the purchase of a home. An affordability analysis takes into consideration your income, liabilities, and available funds, along with the type of mortgage you plan to use, the area where you want to purchase a home, and the closing costs that you might expect to pay.
A feature of real property that enhances its attractiveness and increases the occupant’s or user’s satisfaction although the feature is not essential to the property’s use. Natural amenities include a pleasant or desirable location near water, scenic views of the surrounding area, etc. Human-made amenities include swimming pools, tennis courts, community buildings, and other recreational facilities.
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.
To repay a mortgage with regular payments that cover both principal and interest.
annual mortgagor statement
A report sent to the mortgagor each year. The report shows how much was paid in taxes and interest during the year, as well as the remaining mortgage loan balance at the end of the year.
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).
An amount paid yearly or at other regular intervals, often on a guaranteed dollar basis.
A form used to apply for a mortgage loan and to record pertinent information concerning a prospective mortgagor and the proposed security.
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.
A person qualified by education, training, and experience to estimate the value of real property and personal 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.
The public record of taxable property.
A public official who establishes the value of a property for taxation purposes.
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).
The transfer of a mortgage from one person to another.
A mortgage that can be taken over ('assumed') by the buyer when a home is sold.
The transfer of the seller’s existing mortgage to the buyer. See assumable mortgage.
A provision in an assumable mortgage that allows a buyer to assume responsibility for the mortgage from the seller. The loan does not need to be paid in full by the original borrower upon sale or transfer of the property.
The fee paid to a lender (usually by the purchaser of real property) resulting from the assumption of an existing mortgage.
A financial statement that shows assets, liabilities, and net worth as of a specific date.
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 final lump sum payment that is made at the maturity date of a balloon mortgage.
A person, firm, or corporation that, through a court proceeding, is relieved from the payment of all debts after the surrender of all assets to a court-appointed trustee.
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.
Income before taxes are deducted.
The person designated to receive the income from a trust, estate, or a deed of trust.
To transfer personal property through a will.
An improvement that increases property value as distinguished from repairs or replacements that simply maintain value.
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 they are usually drafted from the borrower’s bank account. The result for the borrower is a substantial savings in interest.
blanket insurance policy
A single policy that covers more than one piece of property (or more than one person).
The mortgage that is secured by a cooperative project, as opposed to the share loans on individual units within the project.
In good faith, without fraud.
An interest-bearing certificate of debt with a maturity date. An obligation of a government or business corporation. A real estate bond is a written obligation usually secured by a mortgage or a deed of trust.
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. See mortgage broker.
A detailed plan of income and expenses expected over a certain period of time. A budget can provide guidelines for managing future investments and expenses.
A category of income or expense data that you can use in a budget. You can also define your own budget categories and add them to some or all of the budgets you create. 'Rent' is an example of an expense category. 'Salary' is a typical income category.
Local regulations that control design, construction, and materials used in construction. Building codes are based on safety and health standards.
A provision in the mortgage that gives the mortgagee the right to call the mortgage due and payable at the end of a specified period for whatever reason.
(1) Money used to create income, either as an investment in a business or an income property. (2) The money or property comprising the wealth owned or used by a person or business enterprise. (3) The accumulated wealth of a person or business. (4) The net worth of a business represented by the amount by which its assets exceed liabilities.
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.
A refinance transaction in which the amount of money received from the new loan exceeds the total of the money needed to repay the existing first mortgage, closing costs, points, and the amount required to satisfy any outstanding subordinate mortgage liens. In other words, a refinance transaction in which the borrower receives additional cash that can be used for any purpose.
certificate of title
A statement provided by an abstract company, title company, or attorney stating that the title to real estate is legally held by the current owner.
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.
The frequency (in months) of payment and/or interest rate changes in an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).
Another name for personal property.
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.'
closing cost item
A fee or amount that a home buyer must pay at closing for a single service, tax, or product. Closing costs are made up of individual closing cost items such as origination fees and attorney's fees. Many closing cost items are included as numbered items on the HUD-1 statement.
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. Closing costs percentage will vary according to the area of the country; lenders or realtors® often provide estimates of closing costs to prospective homebuyers.
An accounting of disbursment of funds related to a Real Estate transaction.
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.
A person who signs a promissory note along with the borrower. A co-maker's signature guarantees that the loan will be repaid, because the borrower and the co-maker are equally responsible for the repayment. See endorser.
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.
A formal offer by a lender stating the terms under which it agrees to lend money to a home buyer. Also known as a 'loan commitment' or pre-approved mortgage 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 unwritten body of law based on general custom in England.
A form of ownership under which property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be owned jointly unless acquired as separate property of either spouse.
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.
Changing the ownership of an existing building (usually a rental project) to the condominium form of ownership.
A condominium project that has rental or registration desks, short-term occupancy, food and telephone services, and daily cleaning services and that is operated as a commercial hotel even though the units are individually owned.
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.
consumer reporting agency (or bureau)
An organization that prepares reports that are used by lenders to determine a potential borrower's credit history. The agency obtains data for these reports from a credit repository as well as from other sources.
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.
A provision in some adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) that allows the borrower to change the ARM to a fixed-rate mortgage at specified timeframes after loan origination.
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.
A business trust entity that holds title to a cooperative project and grants occupancy rights to particular apartments or units to shareholders through proprietary leases or similar arrangements.
Mortgages related to a cooperative project. This usually refers to the multifamily mortgage covering the entire project but occasionally describes the share loans on the individual units.
A residential or mixed-use building wherein a corporation or trust holds title to the property and sells shares of stock representing the value of a single apartment unit to individuals who, in turn, receive a proprietary lease as evidence of title.
Arrangements under which an employer moves an employee to another area as part of the employer's normal course of business or under which it transfers a substantial part or all of its operations and employees to another area because it is relocating its headquarters or expanding its office capacity.
A clause in a mortgage that obligates or restricts the borrower and that, if violated, can result in foreclosure.
An agreement in which a borrower receives something of value in exchange for a promise to repay the lender at a later date.
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 person to whom money is owed.
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. See merged credit report.
An organization that gathers, records, updates, and stores financial and public records information about the payment records of individuals who are being considered for credit.
An amount owed to another. See installmentloan and revolving liability.
The legal document conveying title to a property.
deed of trust
The document used in some jurisdictions instead of a mortgage; title is conveyed to a trustee.
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 sum of money given to bind the sale of real estate, or a sum of money given to ensure payment or an advance of funds in the processing of a loan. See earnest money deposit.
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.
This terminology is usually used for second mortgages. See due-on-sale provision.
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.
effective gross income
Normal annual income including overtime that is regular or guaranteed. The income may be from more than one source. Salary is generally the principal source, but other income may qualify if it is significant and stable.
The right of a government to take private property for public use upon payment of its fair market value.
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 person who signs ownership interest over to another party. Contrast with co-maker.
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.
Funds collected by the servicer and set aside in an escrow account to pay the borrower’s property taxes, mortgage insurance, and hazard insurance.
The ownership interest of an individual in real property. The sum total of all the real property and personal property owned by an individual at time of death.
The lawful expulsion of an occupant from real property.
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, but reserving the owner’s right to sell the property alone without the payment of a commission.
A person named in a will to administer an estate. The court will appoint an administrator if no executor is named. 'Executrix' is the feminine form.
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.
The greatest possible interest a person can have in real estate.
fee simple estate
An unconditional, unlimited estate of inheritance that represents the greatest estate and most extensive interest in land that can be enjoyed. It is of perpetual duration. When the real estate is in a condominium project, the unit owner is the exclusive owner only of the air space within his or her portion of the building (the unit) and is an owner in common with respect to the land and other common portions of the property.
CMHC coinsured mortgage
A mortgage for which the Federal Government and the originating lender share the risk of loss in the event of the mortgagor's default.
A fee or commission paid to a mortgage broker for finding a mortgage loan for a prospective borrower.
A mortgage that is the primary lien against a property.
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.
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 mrotgage debt.
The loss of money, property, rights, or privileges due to a breach of legal obligation.
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.
The person to whom an interest in real property is conveyed.
The person conveying an interest in real property.
The amount of money that is paid for the use of land when title to a property is held as a leasehold estate rather than as a fee simple estate.
A single-family residential structure designed or adapted for occupancy by unrelated developmentally disabled persons. The structure provides long-term housing and support services that are residential in nature.
A mortgage that is guaranteed by a third party.
Also known as a CMHC mortgage.
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.
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.
An insurance policy that combines personal liability insurance and hazard insurance coverage for a dwelling and its contents.
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 property seller as a condition of the sale.
home improvement mortgage loan
A mortgage that enables eligible borrowers to obtain financing to remodel, repair, and upgrade their existing homes or homes that they are purchasing. The financing takes the form of a conventional second mortgage or a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Section 203(k) first mortgage.
Real estate developed orimproved to produce income.
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.
variable 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.'
The regular periodic payment that a borrower agrees to make to a lender.
Borrowed money that is repaid in equal payments, known as installments. A furniture loan is often paid for as an installment loan.
A property title that a title insurance company agrees to insure against defects and disputes.
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.
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.
The rate of interest in effect for the monthly payment due.
interest rate buydown 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.
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 type of foreclosure proceeding used in some states that is handled as a civil lawsuit and conducted entirely under the auspices of a court.
The penalty a borrower must pay when a payment is made a stated number of days.
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.
A way of holding title to a property wherein the mortgagor does not actually own the property but rather has a recorded long-term lease on it.
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 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.
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 cash asset or an asset that is easily converted into cash.
A sum of borrowed money (principal) that is generally repaid with interest.
See commitment letter.
The process by which a mortgage lender brings into existence a mortgage secured by real property.
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.
The time period during which the lender has guaranteed an interest rate to a borrower. See lock-in.
Strata CouncilA homeowners' association in a large condominium or planned unitdevelopment (PUD) project that is made up of representatives fromassociations covering specific areas within the project. In effect, itis a 'second-level' association that handles matters affecting theentire development, while the 'first-level' associations handle mattersaffecting their particular portions of the project.
The date on which the principal balance of a loan, bond, or other financial instrument becomes due and payable.
A mortgage amount that is within 5 percent of the highest loan-to-value (LTV) percentage allowed for a specific product. Thus, maximum financing on a fixed-rate mortgage would be 90 percent or higher, because 95 percent is the maximum allowable LTV percentage for that product.
merged credit report
A credit report that contains information from three credit bureaus. When the report is created, the information is compared for duplicate entries. Any duplicates are combined to provide a summary of a your credit.