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acceleration clause
A clause in your mortgage which allows the lender to demand payment of the outstanding
loan balance for various reasons. The most common reasons for accelerating a loan are if
the borrower defaults on the loan or transfers title to another individual without
informing the lender.
adjustable-rate
mortgage (ARM)
A mortgage in which the interest changes periodically, according to corresponding
fluctuations in an index. All ARMs are tied to indexes.
adjustment date
The date the interest rate changes on an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).
amortization
The loan payment consists of a portion which will be applied to pay the accruing interest
on a loan, with the remainder being applied to the principal. Over time, the interest
portion decreases as the loan balance decreases, and the amount applied to principal
increases so that the loan is paid off (amortized) in the specified time.
amortization
schedule
A table which shows how much of each payment will be applied toward principal and how much
toward interest over the life of the loan. It also shows the gradual decrease of the loan
balance until it reaches zero.
annual
percentage rate (APR)
This is not the note rate on your loan. It is a value created according to a government
formula intended to reflect the true annual cost of borrowing, expressed as a percentage.
It works sort of like this, but not exactly, so only use this as a guideline: deduct the
closing costs from your loan amount, then using your actual loan payment, calculate what
the interest rate would be on this amount instead of your actual loan amount. You will
come up with a number close to the APR. Because you are using the same payment on a
smaller amount, the APR is always higher than the actual not rate on your loan.
application
The form used to apply for a mortgage loan, containing information about a borrower’s
income, savings, assets, debts, and more.
appraisal
A written justification of the price paid for a property, primarily based on an analysis
of comparable sales of similar homes nearby.
appraised value
An opinion of a property’s fair market value, based on an appraiser’s knowledge,
experience, and analysis of the property. Since an appraisal is based primarily on
comparable sales, and the most recent sale is the one on the property in question, the
appraisal usually comes out at the purchase price.
appraiser
An individual qualified by education, training, and experience to estimate the value of
real property and personal property. Although some appraisers work directly for mortgage
lenders, most are independent.
appreciation
The increase in the value of a property due to changes in market conditions, inflation, or
other causes.
assessed value
The valuation placed on property by a public tax assessor for purposes of taxation.
assessment
The placing of a value on property for the purpose of taxation.
assessor
A public official who establishes the value of a property for taxation purposes.
asset
Items of value owned by an individual. Assets that can be quickly converted into cash are
considered “liquid assets.” These include bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual
funds, and so on. Other assets include real estate, personal property, and debts owed to
an individual by others.
assignment
When ownership of your mortgage is transferred from one company or individual to another,
it is called an assignment.
assumable
mortgage
A mortgage that can be assumed by the buyer when a home is sold. Usually, the borrower
must “qualify” in order to assume the loan.
assumption
The term applied when a buyer assumes the seller’s mortgage.