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Glossary

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Adjustable Rate Mortgage: A mortgage loan with an interest rate that adjusts or fluctuates based on predetermined factors such as an assigned index or designated market factor (i.e. the weekly average of US Treasury Bills over a one-year period).

 

Amortization: The length of time it will take to pay off the loan amount.  A 30-year amortization is common for real estate mortgages secured by primary residences.  The shorter the amortization, the higher your payment amount will be but the faster you will pay off the loan. 

 

Annual Percentage Rate: Interest cost of a loan calculated on a yearly basis.  The APR includes the principal balance of your loan plus closing costs, mortgage insurance, or other fees. 

 

Appraisal: A written estimate of a property’s current market value prepared by an appraiser. 

 

Credit Report: A report that contains detailed information on an individual’s credit history.  It normally contains information pertaining to loans and credit accounts, bankruptcies and late payments, and your credit inquiries. 

 

Credit Score: A numerical measure of credit risk based on a statistical analysis of an individual’s credit files

 

Escrow Account:  An impound account in which a portion of your monthly mortgage payment is deposited to cover annual charges for homeowner’s insurance, mortgage insurance (if applicable), and property taxes.

 

Fixed Rate Mortgage: A mortgage loan with an interest rate that stays the same (fixed) over the duration of the mortgage.  

 

Foreclosure: The legal proceedings initiated by a lender to repossess the collateral for a loan that is in default. 

 

Home Equity: The difference between the home’s fair market value and the outstanding balance of all liens and mortgages on the property. 

 

Home Equity Loan: A type of loan in which the borrower uses the equity in their home as collateral.  It is sometimes referred to as a second mortgage. 

 

Insurance: The mortgage requires that you maintain homeowner’s insurance on your home.  Generally this is escrowed with your monthly payment. 

 

Interest: The amount the lender charges to lend you money

 

Loan Servicing: The task of collecting monthly payments, handling insurance and tax impounds, delinquencies, early payoffs and mortgage releases. 

 

Mortgage: A loan secured by real estate.  Mortgage payments are typically paid on a monthly basis.  The payment is calculated based on four parts: the principal, interest, real estate taxes and homeowners / hazard insurance. 

 

Principal: The original amount borrowed from the lender to purchase the home. 

 

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI):  Insurance that protects your lender if you default on your loan.  With conventional loans, mortgage insurance is usually required if you do not make a down payment of at least 20% of your home’s appraised value or purchase price, whichever is less.  Your lender may require payment of your first year’s mortgage insurance premium or a lump sum premium that covers the life of the loan in advance at settlement. 

 

Refinance: The act of replacing an existing loan(s) with a new loan on the same property. 

 

Taxes: Property owners pay real estate taxes.  In Minnesota they are due in May and October of each year.  The taxes are determined by a County Assessor.  The payment of real estate taxes is generally escrowed with your monthly mortgage payment.  This means that a portion of your payment (1/12 of the annual tax) will be held in an escrow account and the mortgage servicer will pay the taxes each year. 

 

Underwriting: The process of analyzing and structuring a proposed loan.