The Mortgage Dictionary

When it comes to something as important as buying a home, you shouldn’t feel confused. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of mortgage-related terms that every potential home buyer should know, empowering you to be at your best.

A fixed-rate mortgage with the standard loan term of 30 years.

A fixed-rate mortgage with half the standard 30-year loan term.

An adjustable-rate mortgage that is fixed for the first three years before becoming adjustable on an annual basis

An adjustable-rate mortgage that is fixed for the first five years before becoming adjustable on an annual basis.

A mortgage with an interest that can be changed over time depending on external factors. Most ARMS start with a period of fixed interest that lasts anywhere from 6 months to 3 years.

A breakdown of payments showing how a loan is intended to be repaid.

The rate of interest to be paid back to the mortgage lender. It can either be fixed or adjustable.

When a person assumes responsibility for paying off a mortgage.

The estimation of the value of the property. Conducted by an appraiser, this process is based both on physical inspection and the sales of comparable properties in recent months.

A short-term mortgage that includes smaller monthly installments followed by a large lump sum payment at the loan term’s end.

A bi-weekly mortgage payment model that reduces interest and speeds up a payment timeline. Instead of one monthly payment or twelve payments in a calendar year, a borrower pays half of that every two weeks, adding up to thirteen total payments in a year.

A short term loan that is taken out on one property but used to purchase a different property.

When you get an interest rate that is lower than the standard by paying a lender premium.

Payment caps that put limitations on how often an interest rate can be changed on an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

A refinance in which the borrower pays additional money during the transaction that goes towards their loan and ultimately lowers their owed amount.

A refinance that allows you to tap into some of the equity (your stake) in your home if you need some extra cash. You may consider a cash-out refi if you need any home renovations, pay for a large expense, or consolidate debt.

The last step in the mortgage process where documents are signed and the process is wrapped up.

The costs a buyer pays during the mortgage process, including attorney fees, recording fees, and any other costs related to mortgage closing.

A mortgage model used when a home is built rather than bought. Money is advanced directly to the builder based on the schedule of construction and is converted to a standard mortgage upon completion of the home.

A Mortgage that is not insured or guaranteed by the federal government.

A record of a borrower’s repayment of debts.

A record of a person’s payments and loans from a number of sources, including banks, credit card companies, collection agencies, and governments.

A number assigned to a person based on their credit history that indicates their capacity to repay a loan to lenders.

The ratio between monthly payments, including a new mortgage, and the monthly income of a potential borrower. This figure is calculated into a percentage and the higher the percentage, the riskier the loan for the lender.

A large initial payment that a buyer puts down on their new home. Most mortgages require a down payment ranging from three percent to twenty percent of the total home value.

The difference between the amount owed on a mortgage and the current value of a home. If you owe $100,000 on your mortgage loan and your home is worth $300,000, you have $200,000 of equity in your home.

At the closing of the mortgage, the borrowers are generally required to set aside a percentage of the yearly taxes to be held by the lender. On a monthly basis, the lender will also collect additional money to be used to pay the taxes on the home. This escrow account is maintained by the lender who is responsible for sending the tax bills on a regular basis.

A mortgage where the interest rate and term of a loan have been negotiated and set for the life of the loan.

When a bank or lender re-possess a home or property when the borrower has not been repaying the loan.

An estimate of the closing costs given by the lender. While not an exact amount, it gives buyers a general idea of what to expect.

Property insurance for a new home. A homeowner must secure this prior to the mortgage closing date.

The representative of a broker or bank who originates mortgage loans.

The beginning of the loan process that is kicked off by a borrower submitting a loan application with a lender.

A financial calculation done by dividing the amount of a mortgage by the value of the home in question.

A loan used to buy or refinance a home. The loan is then paid back with interest to the lender.

A calculated percentage of a full mortgage loan that is charged as interest.

A fee paid to a lender at the beginning of the mortgage process. This may include an application fee, appraisal fee, fees for all the follow-up work and other costs associated with the loan.

The standard interest rate determined by an underwriter.

Fees paid directly to the lender at closing in exchange for a reduced interest rate. This is also called “buying down the rate,” which can lower your monthly mortgage payments.

The amount of money still owed on a mortgage. The principal amount goes down when borrowers make regular monthly or bi-weekly payments.

A type of insurance that protects lenders in case of a borrower not paying back their loan. If the borrower is paying less than 20% in a down payment, the lender will likely require them to take out PMI.

A kind of refinance that changes either the rate, term, or both rate and term of a mortgage loan. Unlike a cash-out refinance, there is no advancing of money.

When taxes paid on personal property and real estate are deducted from federal income taxes.

When a person trades their old mortgage for a new one with different agreements. This can mean a lower rate, new terms, or the ability to cash out on the equity of your home.

A reduction in your taxes that comes from the government.

Federal mandate meant to shield consumers from potential fraud. The regulations include proper disclosure of rates, advertising guidelines, and other protections within the lending process.

The person who handles the insurance risk side of things for a loan process.