Mortgage Definitions

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Mortgage Definitions

 

Mortgage and Note (or Promissory Note)

The mortgage and note are legal contracts and agreements between you and a lender that allows you to borrow money to purchase or refinance a home and gives the lender the right to take your property if you fail to repay the money you’ve borrowed. The documents specify the length of time you have to repay the loan, the interest rate being charged, the monthly payment and other important information.

 

Mortgage closing costs

Mortgage closing costs are all of the costs you will pay at closing. This includes origination charges, appraisal fees, credit report costs, title insurance fees, and any other fees required by your lender or paid as part of a real estate mortgage transaction. Lenders are required to provide a summary of these costs to you in the Loan Estimate.

 

Mortgage insurance

Mortgage insurance protects the lender if you fall behind on your payments. Mortgage insurance is typically required if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the property value. Mortgage insurance also is typically required on FHA and USDA loans. However, if you have a conventional loan and your down payment is less than 20 percent, you will most likely have private mortgage insurance (PMI).

 

Mortgage refinance

Mortgage refinance is when you take out a new loan to pay off and replace your old loan. Common reasons to refinance are to lower the monthly interest rate, lower the mortgage payment, or to borrow additional money. When you refinance, you usually have to pay closing costs and fees. If you refinance and get a lower monthly payment, make sure you understand how much of the reduction is from a lower interest rate and how much is because your loan term is longer.

 

Mortgage term

The term of your mortgage loan is how long you have to repay the loan. For most types of homes, mortgage terms are typically 15, 20 or 30 years.

 

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) is a type of loan for which the interest rate can change, usually in relation to an index interest rate. Your monthly payment will go up or down depending on the loan’s introductory period, rate caps, and the index interest rate. With an ARM, the interest rate and monthly payment may start out lower than for a fixed-rate mortgage, but both the interest rate and monthly payment can increase substantially.

 

Amortization

Amortization means paying off a loan with regular payments over time, so that the amount you owe decreases with each payment. Most home loans amortize, but some mortgage loans do not fully amortize, meaning that you would still owe money after making all of your payments.

Some home loans allow payments that cover only the amount of interest due, or an amount less than the interest due. If payments are less than the amount of interest due each month, the mortgage balance will grow rather than decrease.  This is called negative amortization. Other loan programs that do not amortize fully during the loan may require a large, lump sum “balloon” payment at the end of the loan term. Be sure you know what type of loan you are getting.

 

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

An annual percentage rate (APR) is a broader measure of the cost of borrowing money than the interest rate. The APR reflects the interest rate, any points, mortgage broker fees, and other charges that you pay to get the loan. For that reason, your APR is usually higher than your interest rate.

 

Debt ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio is all your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income. This number is one way lenders measure your ability to manage the monthly payments to repay the money you plan to borrow.

 

Earnest money

Earnest money is a deposit a buyer pays to show good faith on a signed contract agreement to buy a home. The deposit is held by a seller or third party like a real estate agent or title company. If the home sale is finalized or “closed” the earnest money may be applied to closing costs or the down payment. If the contract is terminated for a permissible reason, the earnest money is returned to the buyer. If the buyer does not perform in good faith, the earnest money may be forfeited and paid out to the seller.

 

Equity

Equity is the amount your property is currently worth minus the amount of any existing mortgage on your property.

 

Escrow

An escrow account is set up by your mortgage lender to pay certain property-related expenses, like property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. A portion of your monthly payment goes into the account.  If your mortgage doesn’t have an escrow account, you pay the property-related expenses directly.

 

Jumbo loans vs Conforming loans

Each year Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), set a maximum amount for loans that they will buy from lenders.

Loans that are at or below that maximum or considered Conforming Loans because they conform to these limits.

Loans that exceed that amount are considered Jumbo Loans.

In 2021, the new Conforming Loan maximum amount will be $548,250.  Loans amount above that amount will be Jumbo Loans.

Jumbo Loans may have different rates than Conforming Loans.

 

Loan-to-value ratio

The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is a measure comparing the amount of your mortgage with the appraised value of the property. The higher your down payment, the lower your LTV ratio. Mortgage lenders may use the LTV in deciding whether to lend to you and to determine if they will require private mortgage insurance.

 

Origination Fee

An origination fee is what the lender charges the borrower for making the mortgage loan.  The origination fee may include processing the application, underwriting and funding the loan, and other administrative services. Origination fees generally can only increase under certain circumstances.

 

PITI

Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance, known as PITI, are the four basic elements of a monthly mortgage payment.

 

Prepaid interest charges

Prepaid interest charges are charges due at closing for any daily interest that accrues on your loan between the date you close on your mortgage loan and the period covered by your first monthly mortgage payment.

 

Prepayment penalty

A prepayment penalty is a fee that some lenders charge if you pay off all or part of your mortgage early. If you have a prepayment penalty, you would have agreed to this when you closed on your home. Not all mortgages have a prepayment penalty.

 

Principal

The principal is the amount of a mortgage loan that you have to pay back. Your monthly payment includes a portion of that principal. When a payment on the principal is made, the borrower owes less, and will pay less interest based upon a lower loan size.

 

Right of rescission

The right of rescission refers to the right of a consumer to cancel certain types of loans. If you are buying a home with a mortgage, you do not have a right to cancel the loan once the closing documents are signed. However, if you are refinancing a mortgage, you have until midnight of the third business day after the transaction to rescind (cancel) the mortgage contract. The three-day clock does not start until you sign the credit contract (usually called the promissory note), you receive a Truth in Lending disclosure form, and you receive two copies of a notice explaining your right to rescind.

 

Servicer

Your mortgage servicer is the company that sends you your mortgage statements. Your servicer also handles the day-to-day tasks of managing your loan.

Your loan servicer typically processes your loan payments, responds to borrower inquiries, keeps track of principal and interest paid, and manages your escrow account (if you have one). The loan servicer may initiate foreclosure under certain circumstances. Your servicer may or may not be the same company that originally gave you your loan.

Liberty Bank for Savings not only originates your mortgage loans, it also services loans.

 

Title service fees

Title service fees are part of the closing costs you pay when getting a mortgage. When you purchase a home, you receive a document most often called a deed, which shows the seller transferred their legal ownership, or “title,” to the home to you. Title service fees are costs associated with issuing a title insurance policy for the lender.