ABC’s of real estate and mortgage terms.

Let’s learn the ABC’s of home buying and selling.

Amortization: Paying off a loan over the period of time and at the interest rate specified in a loan document. The amortization of a loan includes the payment of interest and a part of the amount borrowed in each mortgage payment.

Appraisal: Evaluation of a property’s market value, based on its location, similar and recently sold properties, and other factors.

APR – Annual Percentage Rate. The yearly interest percentage of a loan as expressed by the actual rate of interest paid. Reflects the mortgage interest rate plus other charges.

Buyer’s Agent: Real estate agent working directly with the buyer throughout the buying process.

Closing Costs: Charges and fees paid to service providers who contribute to the transaction, including agents, attorneys, the title company and more. More info about closing costs.

Closing Statement: A closing statement, or settlement sheet, is a form used in real estate transactions with an itemized list of all the costs to the buyer and seller. Records the details of a financial transaction.

Commitment Letter: A letter from your lender stating the amount of the mortgage, the number of years to repay the mortgage (the term), the interest rate, the loan origination fee, the annual percentage rate and the monthly charges.

Contingency: A plan for something that may occur but is not likely. For example, your offer may be contingent on the home passing a home inspection. It the home does not pass inspection, you’re protected

Credit: The ability of a person to borrow money, or buy good by paying over time. Credit is extended based on a lender’s good opinion of the person’s financial situation and reliability.

Debt-to-Income: Ratio The percentage of gross monthly income that goes toward paying for your monthly housing expense, alimony, child support, car payments and other installment debts, and payments on revolving or open-ended accounts such as credit cards.

Deed: A written document by which title to real estate is conveyed from a seller to a buyer.

Deed of Trust: A legal document in which the borrower transfers the title to a 3rd party (trustee) to hold as security for the lender. When the loan is paid in full the trustee transfers title back to the borrower. If the borrower defaults on the loan the trustee will sell the property and pay the lender the mortgage debt.

Due Diligence: Process of evaluating whether there are any issues with the property before the purchase is final.

Earnest Money: Deposit paid to the seller to demonstrate a buyer’s intention of going through with the purchase of the home.

Equity: The value in your home above the total amount of the liens against your home. If you owe $200,000 on your house but it is worth $250,000, you have $50,000 of equity.

Forbearance: Your lender may offer a temporary reduction or suspension of your mortgage payments while you get back on your feet. Forbearance is often combined with a reinstatement or a repayment plan to pay off the missed or reduced mortgage payments.

Foreclosure: A legal action that ends all ownership rights in a home when the homebuyer fails to make the mortgage payments or is otherwise in default under the terms of the mortgage.

FSBO: for sale by owner. The owner sells the property without the use of a real estate agent or a broker. There are many risks of not using a real estate agent.

Homeowners Association: Organization in a community that maintains rules and regulations for residents, typically requiring dues known as HOA fees. HOA is an organized group of homeowners within a particular subdivision, condominium or planned unit development. Check out the Condo Buyer’s Guide to find out about condominium living.

Inspection: Thorough evaluation of the home typically done by a professional home inspector, who produces a detailed report of the property’s status before the purchase is finalized. Questions to Ask During a Home Inspection.

Joint Tenancy: Shared ownership of a property in which each owner has an undivided interest in the property.

Listings: Inventory of properties on the market.

Mortgage: Loan in which property is used as collateral. What’s needed when applying for a mortgage can be found here.

Negotiation: Strategic discussion in which the buyer’s agent and seller’s agent attempt to reach a compromise or resolution acceptable for all parties.

Open House: Designated period of time when a listing agent makes a home available for viewing to the public.

Private Mortgage Insurance: PMI or private mortgage insurance typically required by lenders if a borrower puts less than 20 percent down on a home loan. FHA loans have a PMI. You can refinance to a conventional loan once there is enough equity in your home.

Qualified Buyer: Buyer who has the financial ability to purchase a home in a specific price range.

Research: Process of evaluating a specific home, a neighborhood, or the area’s overall market conditions to determine the wisest decision.

Search: Act of looking for properties based on specific needs and preferences, such as location, size, price point and included amenities.

Title: Proof that an individual owns or has rights to use the property. 

Under Contract: Status of a listing that has an accepted offer but the sale is not yet final.

Virtual Home Tour: Collection of panoramic images or video simulation showcasing the interior of a property online.

Walk-Through: Final step before closing in which the buyer and their agent inspect the property for any unexpected surprises before the sale is final.

Sign Your X on the Line: Signatures required on the many documents at closing and throughout the home buying process.

Zoning: Laws and other requirements dictating how property in certain areas can and cannot be used, such as agricultural, residential, commercial, open space and industrial use.

Let me know if you would like to discuss any of these definitions further. I am here to help answer any questions you have throughout this process!

There are many useful real estate tips on my website to get you started.