Glossary Of Mortgage Terms

A - J

Accrued Interest

The amount of mortgage interest that has been earned but not yet paid.

Adjustment Interval

The time between interest rate adjustments of an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM).

Annual Income

This is the combined annual income for you and your co-borrower.

Asking Price

The price requested by a seller when a home or property is listed for sale. This amount is often open to negotiation.

Assumable Mortgage

A mortgage that may be “taken over” by a qualified third party. Most assumable mortgages are government-backed products like VA, FHA and USDA home loans.

Assumption Approval Clause

A clause informing borrowers that they cannot assume a home loan without agency approval.

Assumption Indemnity Clause

A clause informing buyers that they must agree to assume all of the obligations of the original borrower under the terms of the instruments creating and securing the loan.


A proceeding in a federal court in which a borrower who owes more than his or her assets, can relieve the debts by transferring his or her assets to a trustee. Different chapters or types of bankruptcy exist. If a person files bankruptcy, a record of the filing appears on the borrower's credit report for up to 10 years.

Bidding War

A process in which two or more parties attempt to get their offer accepted by a seller, usually by making repeated offers at higher amounts.


A borrower is a buyer who does not pay cash, but instead finances some or all of a purchase.

Break-Even Point

The break-even point is the point at which the monthly savings created by a mortgage refinance offsets the cost of refinancing. It can also refer to the point at which the savings generated by paying discount points covers the cost of those points.

Caps (Interest)

Consumer safeguards which limit the amount the interest rate on an adjustable rate mortgage may change per year and/or the life of the loan.

Caps (Payment)

Consumer safeguards which limit the amount monthly payments on an adjustable rate mortgage may change.

Cash-Out Refinancing

A refinance in which the new loan amount exceeds the total needed to pay off the existing mortgage. The difference goes to the borrower and can be used for any purpose.

Caps (Interest)

Consumer safeguards which limit the amount the interest rate on an adjustable rate mortgage may change per year and/or the life of the loan.

Caps (Payment)

Consumer safeguards which limit the amount monthly payments on an adjustable rate mortgage may change.

Cash-Out Refinancing

A refinance in which the new loan amount exceeds the total needed to pay off the existing mortgage. The difference goes to the borrower and can be used for any purpose.


The procedure at the end of a property sale or refinance in which funds legally change hands and public records are filed. Closing is also called settlement.

Closing Costs

Closing costs include a loan origination fee, points, appraisal fee, title search and insurance, survey, taxes, deed recording fee, credit report charge and other costs assessed at settlement. The closing costs usually are about 2 percent to 6 percent of the mortgage amount.


The fee charged by an agent or broker for representing a buyer or seller’s interest. A commission is generally a percentage of the sales price.

Competitive Market Analysis

A report prepared by a real estate agent that determines a house's market value. The agent compares the house's attributes to similar properties in the area that have recently sold or are still on the market. The CMA is often used to establish the listing price.

Comprehensive Insurance

Insurance which covers damage to a vehicle caused by events other than a collision, such as flood, fire, hail, theft, or vandalism.


Individually-owned unit within a multi-unit development or complex, including an individual interest in the common areas and facilities used by the owners.

Condominium Association

An association of unit owners in a condominium building. The association elects a board of directors, which handles the maintenance and repair of common areas, disputes among unit owners, and enforcement of rules and regulations, and condominium fees.

Condominium Fees

Also called maintenance fees, the monthly fees paid by all condominium owners. The condominium fees go toward the maintenance and repair of common areas in the building, as well as salaries for groundskeepers, repairmen and security guards. The condominium fees are set and managed by the condominium association, and are typically determined based on the size of your unit.

Conforming Loan

A conforming loan is any loan that meets the criteria and limits set forth by the two largest buyers of loans, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Consolidating Debt

Replacing several debts or loans by transferring the balances to a single loan or line of credit, usually at a better rate. (Debt consolidation loans are often home equity loans or lines.)

Construction Loan

A short term interim loan for financing the cost of construction. The lender advances funds to the builder as the work progresses.

Consumer Loan

A consumer loan is when a person borrows money from a lender, either unsecured or secured. There are several types of consumer loans and some of the most popular ones include mortgages, refinances, home equity lines of credit, credit cards, auto loans, student loans, and personal loans.

Conventional Loan

A conventional loan is a mortgage that is not guaranteed or insured by any government agency, including the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It is typically fixed in its terms and rate.

Conventional Mortgage

Any mortgage which is not insured or guaranteed by a government agency such as HUD/FHA, VA, or the Farmers Home Administration.

Conversion Option

A conversion option allows you to convert an ARM to a fixed rate mortgage. You will likely pay a higher rate or more points to have this option.

Cooperative Housing

An apartment building or a group of dwellings owned by a corporation, the stockholders of which are the residents of the dwellings. It is operated for their benefit by their elected board of directors. In a cooperative, the corporation or association owns title to the real estate. A resident purchases stock in the corporation which entitles him to occupy a unit in the building or property owned by the cooperative. While the resident does not own his unit, he has an absolute right to occupy his unit for as long as he owns the stock.


Another person who signs your loan and assumes equal responsibility for it.

Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs)

A set of rules and regulations governing a condominium building. The CC&Rs can include restrictions on things such as noise levels, pet ownership, and renovations. These rules are enforced by the condominium association.


The right granted by a creditor to pay in the future in order to buy or borrow in the present; also, a sum of money owed to a person or business.

Credit History

The record of how you've borrowed and repaid debts.

Credit Limit

A credit limit is the maximum amount of charges that may be charged to an account.

Credit Ratio

A credit ratio is expressed as a percentage and results when a borrower's monthly payment obligation on long-term debts is divided by his or her net income (FHA/VA loans) or gross monthly income (Conventional loans).

Curb Appeal

The initial attractiveness of a property, when viewed from the road. Sellers and real estate agents will often try to increase the curb appeal of a home by cleaning up the porch, trimming plants along a walkway, or giving the outside of a home a fresh coat of paint.

Current Balance

When referring to a loan, such as an auto loan or a mortgage, your current balance is the amount you currently still owe on the loan according to the date of your statement.

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation is a process by which several debts are replaced by one debt. The idea is to simplify repayment and hopefully make it more affordable as well.


Failing to repay a debt as agreed. Defaulting on an obligation can have serious consequences, including but not limited to lawsuits, eviction, collections, derogatory credit history, late fees, auto repossession, wage garnishment, home foreclosure and / or being forced into bankruptcy. When borrowers default on mortgages, lenders must file a Notice of Default (NOD) or Lis Pendens (a notice that there may be litigation related to the property) before they can proceed with foreclosure. Once the notice has been filed, borrowers have a limited amount of time to “cure” the default by bringing their mortgage current or coming to some agreement with the lender. The NOD is a publicly recorded document.

Deferred Interest

Interest that has accrued but not been paid. Mortgage interest is paid in arrears, which means the borrower does not pay it in advance. Mortgage payments cover interest that is already owed to the lender. “Deferred interest” accumulates when a loan payment is not large enough to cover all the interest due.


Decline in value of a house or car due to wear and tear, adverse changes in the neighborhood, or any other reason.

Earnest Money

Money given by a buyer to a seller as part of the purchase price to bind a transaction or assure payment.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act

A federal law that requires lenders and other creditors to make credit equally available without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status or receipt of income from public assistance programs.

Fair Market Value

The amount an article (such as property or an automobile) would sell for on the open market, barring any constraints such as a need to sell or buy quickly. The fair market value for real estate is often determined by examining the range of selling prices for similar homes in the current economic climate.

Federal Collection Policy Notice

Notice to VA home loan borrowers of actions the government can take in the event that they default on their VA-backed home loans. These include but are not limited to confiscating tax refunds and retirement benefits.

Federal Funds Rate

The federal funds rate is extremely important to the U.S. economy because it is the interest rate that commercial banks, also called depository institutions, charge to other lending institutions who are taking out short-term loans, usually overnight.

FHA Down Payment

An FHA loan requires a 3.5 percent down payment on the purchase price of the loan.

FHA Loan Limit

The FHA loan limit is the maximum loan amount you can get for an FHA loan, which varies depending on the area you live in.

FHA Mortgage Insurance

FHA mortgage insurance protects lenders from losses in the event that borrowers default on their FHA mortgages. Without FHA insurance coverage, few lenders would be willing to fund home loans with minimal down payments to borrowers with low-to-moderate incomes or past credit problems.

FHA Upfront MIP

MIP stands for mortgage insurance premium and is required to close an FHA loan. It is paid as an upfront cost and as an annual premium.

Finance Charge

The total cost of credit for a mortgage. This is shown on the Truth-in-Lending disclosure, or TIL. This is a dollar amount and includes all charges associated with a home purchase that would not be incurred if the home buyer paid cash.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

A category of mortgage characterized by an interest rate that does not change over the life of the loan.


A legal remedy for non-payment of a mortgage debt. The lender takes and sells the property to cover amounts owed. Any remaining proceeds are returned to the borrower.

Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac is the smaller of two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) created by Congress. (The larger one is Fannie Mae.) It purchases and sells residential mortgages that conform to the guidelines it has established. For this reason, loans bought and sold by Freddie Mac are called “conforming” mortgages. Freddie Mac is also known as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.

Good Faith Estimate (GFE)

A disclosure that lenders must by law issue to mortgage applicants within three business days of their loan application date. The three-page GFE lists settlement charges and the terms of the mortgage.

HARP Program

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) was created by the federal government in April of 2009 to allow eligible homeowners with little home equity, no home equity or even negative home equity to refinance to lower mortgage rates. The program is set to expire on December 31, 2015.

Home Equity

Home equity is the difference between the market value of a home and any outstanding mortgage balance(s). A homeowner with a $200,000 property and a $150,000 mortgage balance has $50,000 in home equity.

Home Equity Line of Credit

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a type of secondary financing that consists of a revolving line of credit secured by a lien junior to a mortgage.

Home Equity Loan

A home equity loan is also called a second mortgage. It allows the homeowner to borrow against home equity (which is the difference between the property value and the mortgage balance(s) against it). The home equity loan delivers a lump sum at closing and is repaid in monthly installments. Most home equity loans have fixed rates, but some are adjustable.

Home Price

A home price is either the purchase price or the property's appraised value, whichever is the lower of the two.

Home Purchase Agreement

The contract outlining the agreed-upon price and terms for the purchase of a home. Also called an agreement of sale, a purchase contract, or a sale contract.

Home Value

This is your estimate of the current value of your property.


U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) within HUD insures home mortgage loans made by lenders and sets minimum standards for FHA loans.

In-house Financing

In-house financing refers to the practice of banks keeping a mortgage loan they write rather than selling it to a third party such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Interest Cost

The dollar amount of interest paid over the life of a loan.

Interest Due

Interest due is the amount of money required to cover the interest cost for that payment period. Also referred to as “accrued interest.”

Interest Rate

The percentage of a loan amount that it costs to borrow money.

Interest Rate Adjustment Period

The amount of time between interest rate adjustments of adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs).

Interest Rate Ceiling

This is also referred to as a lifetime cap. It’s the highest interest rate that an adjustable rate mortgage can go over its entire term.

Interest Rate Decrease Cap

An interest rate decrease cap is the most your interest rate can drop on an adjustable rate mortgage.

Interest Rate Floor

An interest rate floor is the minimum interest rate possible for an adjustable rate mortgage.

Interest Rate Increase Cap

An interest rate increase cap limits the amount an ARM rate can rise during one adjustment period.

Interest Rate Index

The index is a published benchmark rate used by lenders to set adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) interest rates.

Jumbo Mortgage

A jumbo mortgage is a mortgage with a loan amount larger than the limits set by the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Currently the 2017 limit is set at $424,100 for most areas (subject to change). Special areas such as Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have a higher limit of $636,150 (subject to change). Because jumbo loans cannot be funded by these two agencies, they usually carry a higher interest rate; usually .25% to .50% higher than that of a conforming loan.

K - Z


An individual or company that makes funds available for borrowing. Lenders can specialize in a category of lending, like mortgage, automotive, personal, education, credit cards and others. Banks may choose to offer all categories of borrowing for their customers.

Lender Fees

Lender fees are fees charged by Lenders for processing and funding a loan. They can include application fees, attorney fees, recording fees, and more.

Loan Agreement

A loan agreement is a contract where the lender stipulates terms and conditions required for the borrowers to receive a loan.

Loan Amount

The loan amount is the total amount that the borrower promises to pay back.

Loan Definition

A loan product created by a lender and offered to borrowers. It has a specific set of features and costs, which must be disclosed to consumers before they can be bound by its terms.

Loan Origination Fee

A mortgage lender charge for originating (processing, documenting, administering, underwriting, auditing and funding) a home loan. It can be a flat fee or a percentage of the loan amount.

Loan Servicing

Loan servicing is the administration portion of any type of loan from the moment the funds are dispersed until the loan is paid in full.

Loan Terms

The contractual obligations of a borrower and lender, as detailed in the loan agreement.


One of the components used to calculate the interest rate for an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). The other is called the index.

Maximum Loan Amount

The highest amount a borrower is qualified to borrow. The limit might be dictated by the loan program – for example, FHA home loans have loan limits that can’t be exceeded – or by the borrower’s income, because lenders are required by law to verify that the borrower has the ability to repay a mortgage.

Monthly Debt

Include all of you and your co-borrower's monthly debts, including: minimum monthly required credit card payments, car payments, student loans, alimony/child support payments, any house payments (rent or mortgage) other than the new mortgage you are seeking, rental property maintenance, and other personal loans with periodic payments.

Monthly Payment

The amount a borrower is required to pay each month until a debt is paid off.

Monthly Payment with PI

This is a monthly mortgage payment that only includes the loan principal and interest.

Mortgage Consultant

Are members of our team that council you throughout your mortgage application. They act in your best interest, the consumer, from the time the application is taken until close. Fidelity Mortgage, Inc. employee the best residential mortgage experts to make your home home buying experience as easy as possible.

Mortgage Note

A mortgage note is a document you sign at the closing of your mortgage that obligates you to repay the mortgage at a specific rate and over a specific period of time. When you sign the mortgage note at closing, you become personally responsible for repaying the mortgage.

Multiple Listing Service

A computer database that compiles information on houses listed for sale in a particular area by participating real estate agents.

No-Doc Mortgage

An extinct mortgage product that does not require mortgage lenders to document the borrower’s income or assets. No-doc mortgages are illegal today because they violate the requirement that lenders must verify the borrower’s ability to repay before approving a mortgage.

Non-Conforming Loan

A loan that doesn’t conform to guidelines established by the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Sometimes also referred to as a jumbo loan.

Personal Loan

A personal loan has higher interest rates than secured loans like a home-equity loan, but you are not required to put up any collateral to ensure repayment.

Piggyback Loan

Also called a “purchase money second mortgage,” a piggyback loan is used by homebuyers with less than 20 percent down to avoid paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI).


This stands for principal, interest, taxes and insurance. For most borrowers, PITI is the entire mortgage payment.

Pre-Approved Mortgage

A pre-approved mortgage tells you exactly how much money the lender will let you borrow.

Prepaid Items

Prepaid items are charges that the lender requires you to pay at settlement, such as accrued interest.


Prepaids are paid by a homebuyer at closing and put into an escrow account to cover the initial costs of expenses, such as private mortgage insurance, hazard insurance, taxes and special assessments.

Prepayment Premium

A prepayment premium is money a lender charges a borrower for repaying a debt early. Not all states allow the premiums.

Purchase Option

An option to purchase a car or home that is being leased. The option might apply during the entire lease period or at the end of the lease period.


The preliminary assessment of a prospective borrower’s finances to determine if he or she meets the requirements for loan approval.

Quitclaim Deed

A public filing that relinquishes whatever interest the maker of the deed may have in the particular piece of real estate.


The percentage used to calculate the interest charge for a loan. The rate and loan amount determine the interest expense and the loan payment. Also referred to as the interest rate, stated rate or loan rate.

Rate and Term Refinancing

A mortgage refinance that replaces the existing mortgage with a new one but does not disburse cash to the borrower. Rate and term refinancing is undertaken simply to improve on the terms of the old loan – reducing the interest rate is a popular goal.

Rate/Point Options

The pricing structure for a mortgage. A point is equal to one percent of the mortgage amount. In general, the lower the mortgage rate, the higher the cost (the more points paid). It’s up to the borrower to choose the option that will save him or her the most money.

Real Estate Broker

A licensed intermediary who works with property sellers and buyers to arrange a real estate transaction.


A member of the National Association of Realtors, the largest industry trade association in the US. Realtors are residential and commercial agents and real estate brokers.


An incentive paid by a car manufacturer as a way to increase sales of products.

Remaining Interest

The remaining interest on a loan is the interest that you still have left to pay, assuming you continue making your minimum monthly payment

Required Cash

This the amount a mortgage borrower must bring in to close a home loan.

Reverse Mortgage

A reverse mortgage is a type of loan available to homeowners age 62 and older. Instead of purchasing a home and taking out a traditional mortgage, a reverse mortgage allows homeowners to convert the equity in their home into cash.

SBA Backed Lender

An SBA backed lender is a bank or other lender that extends loans to small businesses with the principle guaranteed up to 80 percent by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

SBA Backed Loan

An SBA backed loan is a loan extended to a small business by a bank or other lender with up to 80 percent of the principle guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Second Home

A second home is a one-unit property owned by an individual, occupied by the borrower for some portion of the year, and not subject to any timesharing ownership arrangement.

Second Trust Loan

A second trust loan is an alternative to private mortgage insurance.

Secured Debt

A secured debt is money borrowed that is guaranteed (or secured) by the borrower’s funds or assets and held by the lender in an interest-bearing account.

Secured Line of Credit

A secured line of credit is a credit account extended to a business by a financial institution wherein the creditor has established a lien against the assets of the business so that it has the right to seize and liquidate those assets should the business default on payments.


Settlement is the meeting between a home buyer, seller and lender where the property and funds legally change hands.

Settlement Costs

Settlement costs include a loan origination fee, points, appraisal fee, title search and insurance, survey, taxes, deed recording fee, credit report charge and other costs assessed at settlement.

Simple Interest

Simple interest is paid on the principal amount borrowed and is not compounded.

Student Loan Forbearance

A period of time where students do not have to pay their student loans.

Student Loan Grace Period

A defined fixed period allowed by the government between graduating and finding a job where students do not have to pay their student loans.

Subprime Borrower

A subprime borrower is an individual with a less-than-perfect credit rating.

Subprime Loan

A subprime loan is a loan offered to people who do not qualify for a conventional loan, either because of low income, a high loan-to-value ratio, or poor credit history.

Subprime Mortgage

A subprime mortgage is a mortgage granted to a subprime borrower (an individual with less-than-perfect credit


Term refers to the period of time between the beginning loan date on the legal documents and the date the entire balance of the loan is due.


A title is a document that gives evidence of an individual's ownership of property.

Title Insurance

Title insurance is a policy, usually issued by a Title Insurance company, which guarantees that an owner has title to a property and insures against errors in the title search.

Total Down Payment

The total down payment is the amount of money that you're able to put down on your purchase.

Underwater Mortgage

An underwater mortgage is where the market value of a home today is lower than the current balance owed on its mortgage. In other words, selling the property won't generate enough money to pay off that mortgage and will leave a shortfall. Some people describe this as having "negative equity."

Unsecured Debt

Unsecured debt is debt without collateral to back the loan in case of default.

VA Amendatory Clause

This is added to your purchase agreement, must be signed by you and your seller....

VA Funding Fee

VA loans require no down payment from the borrower. To help offset the costs to the taxpayers, the borrower must pay a VA funding fee.

VA Loan

A VA loan is made by an approved lender and guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

VA Loan Limit

The VA loan limit is the maximum amount in which a qualified Veteran can borrow without making a down payment.

Variable Rate Mortgage

A variable rate mortgage is one in which the interest rate is adjusted periodically based on an index.

Vehicle Appraisal

A vehicle appraisal determines how much money your car is currently worth.

Veteran’s Administration Loan

A Veteran’s Administration loan is made by an approved lender and guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs


A walk-through is the final inspection done by a buyer, usually just before closing, to ensure that the property is as expected and any agreed-upon repairs have been made.

What is a Debt Consolidation Loan?

A single loan that replaces several other loans, making it easier to manage the debt. The new loan should have more favorable terms than the accounts it replaces – a lower interest rate, more manageable payment, or both. The debt consolidation loan can be a balance transfer credit card, a personal loan or a home equity loan.

What is Debt-to-Income Ratio?

Debt-to-income ratio, also known as DTI, is the relationship between a consumer’s monthly debt payments and income. This may be referred to as DTI, back-end ratio or bottom ratio. It is calculated by adding the monthly payments of accounts like credit cards, auto loans, student loans and housing (rent or mortgage) and dividing that by the gross (before tax) monthly income. It does not include living expenses like utilities or food.

What is Debt?

Money that is owed to an individual or institution. Credit card balances, mortgages, auto loans and personal loans are all examples of debt.