Acceptance - the written approval of the buyer's offer by the seller.
Amortization - a payment plan that enables you to reduce your debt gradually through monthly payments. May be interest only or principal plus interest. The monthly payment amount is a schedule based on the length of the loan.
Appraisal - a document from a licensed professional that gives an estimate of fair market value based on comparable homes and specific features of the property. Lenders will use this to ensure the loan amount is not more than the value of the property.
As-is Condition - the property is for sale in its existing condition without repairs.
Assumable Mortgage - this mortgage loan can be transferred to the new buyer. Lenders will generally run a credit check and charge a fee for assumption. A due-on-sale clause to a loan will not allow transfer.
Back End Ratio - ratio that compares the total of all monthly debt payments to gross monthly income
Balloon Loan - mortgage that offers low rates for a set period of time (5, 7, 10 years) and borrower either pays the balance or refinances at the term end
Broker - licensed individual or firm that charges a fee to serve as the mediator beween buyer and seller.
Buy Down - the seller pays an amount to the lender so the lender provides a lower rate and lower payments; seller may increase the sales price to cover the cost of the buy down.
Closing - the final step in property purchase where the title is transferred from the seller to the buyer and the seller receives payment for the property. Meeting usually consists of both parties, their agents, and a settlement agent.
Closing Costs - fees (ex: real estate professional fees, mortgage loan origination fee, title insurance, legal fees, appraisal fee, survey, and prepayment of taxes and insurance) for final property transfer not included in the price of the property. Buyers average paying 2-4% and sellers generally pay 3-9%.
COMPS - Comparative Market Analysis; evaluating one property value by comparing it to others sold in the area within one year
Condominium - a unit of housing in a multi-unit complex where the owner shares financial responsbilities of common areas.
Contingency - clause in a contract that state certain conditions that must be met before the contract will be executed; either buyer or seller may present clauses, but BOTH parties much accept the contingency.
Conventional Loan - private sector loan, one that is not guaranteed or insured by the US government.
Counter Offer - rejection to part or all of an offer that attempts to negotiate changes in terms to reach an agreement.
Debt-to-Income Ratio - comparison of gross income to housing and non-housing expenses; FHA uses this number to determine approval amount on a mortgage loan.
Deed - (title) legal document that transfers ownership of property from one person to another.
Down Payment - portion of the home's purchase price that is paid in cash and is not part of the mortgage loan; based on loan type and any difference of sale price and loan amount. If less than 20% is paid down, mortgage insurance is required.
Earnest Money - money put down by a potential buyer to show that they are serious about purchasing the home. It can become part of the down payment if the offer is accepted, returned if offer is rejected, or forfeited if the buyer decides to not purchase the property.
Escrow - funds held to be used by the lender to pay for home insurance and property taxes; some funds are held by a 3rd party until contract is closed and then is paid out to proper party.
FSBO (For Sale By Owner) - a home that is offered for sale by the owner without the benefit of a real estate professional.
FHA (Federal Housing Administration) - assists buyers with mortgage insurance to lenders to cover most losses that occur when a borrower defaults; helps buyers who do not qualify for a conventional loan.
Fair Market Value - hypothetical price that a willing buyer and seller will agree upon when acting freely, carefully, and with complete knowledge of the situation.
Fixture - personal property that is permanently attached to the real estate or real property that becomes part of the real estate.
Flood Insurance - protects homeowners against losses from a flood; if located in a floodplain, lenders will require flood insurance before approving a loan.
Forclosure - legal process where mortgaged properrty is sold to pay the defaulted loan of a borrower.
Front End Ratio - compares borrower's total monthly costs to buy a house to monthly income before deductions.
Good Faith Estimate - estimate of closing fee; pre-paid, escrow items, and lender charges. Must be submitted within 3 days of accepted contract date.
Home Warranty - offers protection for mechanical systems and attached appliances against unexpected repairs not covered by homeowner's insurance. Warranty is time sensitive and does not include structural repairs.
Homeowner's Insurance - policy that protects a property and its contents from fire, storms, claims of negligence, and actions that result in personal injury or property damage.
HUD - US Department of Housing and Urban Development; attempts to create a decent home and suitable living environment for all Americans.
HUD1 Statement - settlement sheet or closing statement; itemizes all closing costs.
Lender - person or company that makes loans for real estate purchases.
Lien - legal claim against a property that must be satisfied when the property is sold.
Loan Officer - representative of a lending or mortgage company that will solicit buyers, qualify them, and process the loan.
Market Value - amount a willing buyer would pay a willing seller for a home. Appraised value is an estimate of the current fair market value.
Mitigation - refers to various suggested changes made in a home; ex: lower the average level of radon.
Mortgage - lien on the property that secures the promise to repay a loan.
Mortgage Broker - individuals in the business of arranging funding or negotiating contracts for a client, but does not loan money.
Mortgage Insurance - policy that protects lenders against some or most of the losses that can occur when a borrower defaults on a mortgage loan.
MLS (Multiple Listing Service) - service Realtors use to submit listings, agree to attempt to sell those listings, and abide by the local policies of updating listings and sharing commissions. MLS gives the most updated and accurate information.
Offer - indication, generally in writing, by a potential buyer of a willingness to purchase a home at a specific price.
Owner Financing - home purchase where the seller provides all or part of the financing, acting as a lender.
Personal Property - property that is not real property or attached to real property. Generally described as property that can be removed without the use of a tool.
Power of Attorney - legal document authorizing someone else to act on your behalf; complete authority can be granted or stipulations of specific time or acts can be detailed.
Property - land in legally described boundaries, including permanent structures and fixtures. Fixture property are items permanently attached to the structure which transfers with the property.
Property Tax - charged by local government used to fund municipal services like schools, police, and street maintenance.
RESPA - (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) law designed for the protection of lenders withholding information about relationships, practices, or settlement costs during the loan process or residential real estate purchases.
Radon - radioactive gas that can be found in some houses. If severe concentrations are found, it can cause health problems.
Real Estate Agent - licensed individual who negotiates and arranges real estate sales; works for real estate broker.
Refinancing - the pay off of one loan by obtaining another loan with better terms
Settlement - interchangeable with the term closing.
Settlement Statement - (HUD 1 Settlement Statement) required by RESPA; itemized statement of services and charges relating to the closing of a property transfer. To ensure a smooth closing process, the buyer has the right to look over the statement one day before.
Title - (deed) legal document that establishes ownership rights; recorded to make part of the public record.
Walk Through - final inspection by the buyer to confirm that any contingencies have been completed, fixture and non-fixture property is in place, and confirm mechanical systems are in place.
Zoning - local laws used to control the purpose or use of land in particular areas.