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Mortgage Glossary

Have you read or heard a word that you didn’t recognize? Here’s a glossary of mortgage-related terms that you will want to familiarize yourself with.


The repayment of a loan over time by installments, dealing with how much of your payment goes toward interest and how much is paid toward principal

Annual percentage rate (APR)

The actual interest rate you pay on your mortgage, including fees, points and other costs associated with the loan


A comprehensive report that determines the value of a property


The last step in the loan process where documents are signed

Closing Costs

These are fees associated with finalizing the purchasing of a property that are not included in the original purchased price. Purchased prices typically include origination fees, discount points, appraisal fee, title insurance, legal fees, real estate fees, prepayment of taxes and insurance, and real estate transfer taxes

Construction Loan

A short-term loan to finance the construction of a new residence, business or investment property, typically converted to a conventional loan after construction

Conventional Loan

A mortgage that is not guaranteed or insured by a government entity such as the Federal Housing Agency (FHA) or Veterans Affairs (VA)

Credit Report

A detailed report that includes vital information about you and your credit history, compiled through credit reporting agencies

Debit-to-Income Ratio

The ratio of your liabilities (monthly bills and living expenses) divided by your gross monthly income


An official public document that establishes property ownership

Down Payment

A portion of money paid at the beginning of a loan to demonstrate commitment to the purchase

Earnest Money

Money paid to the seller by the buyer as a pledge to complete a real estate transaction


A fund administered by a third party and used to pay taxes and insurance for a mortgage transaction


The value of a property, minus any money owed against it

Fixed-rate Mortgage

A mortgage with a fixed interest rate that will not adjust at any point during the life of the loan


The process by which a bank or lender sells a property after a borrower fails to meet the repayment terms of the loan

Home Equity Line of Credit

A loan that allows you to borrow money from the equity in your home, based on a certain maximum draw amount


The money paid by the borrower for the use of the money lent.

Home Inspection

A limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of home that is completed by a third party prior to selling


A legal claim or hold on a piece of property

Market Value

The price a seller can expect to receive for the sale of a property

Origination Fee

A fee charged for the processing of the application and documentation of the loan.


Points, also known as “discount points,” are 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, in turn, lower your monthly mortgage payments. A point is equal to 1% of your mortgage amount (or $1,000 for every $100,000).


The process through which a lender evaluates the credit of a potential borrower and determines the maximum amount they would be willing to lend


The unpaid balance on your mortgage loan

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Extra insurance that a lender requires when a buyer obtains a loan for more than 80% of the home’s value. This insurance can be removed once your loan balance reaches 80% of the homes value at the request of the borrower


The act of replacing the existing loan on your property with a new one


A title is the legal way of saying you own a right to something. For real estate purposes, the title refers to ownership of the property, meaning that you have the rights to use that property. 

Title Insurance

Insurance taken out to protect both the borrower and the lender in case of a title dispute

Title Search

Research conducted on a property prior to the sale to show any existing liens against subject property that need to be paid off during closing


The process a lender uses to determine a borrower’s eligibility for a loan

Warranty Deed

A deed is the legal document that transfers title from one person to another.


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