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Real Estate Terminology

Acre - A unit of measure used in real estate. One acre equals 43,560 square feet of land.

ARM - Adjustable Rate Mortgage - A loan that allows the interest rate to be changed periodically.

Agency - A legal relationship in which an owner-principal engages a broker-agent in the sale of property or buyer-principal engages a broker-agent in the purchase of a property. See The Law of Real Estate Agency Pamphlet

APR - Annual Percentage Rate - The total finance charge (interest, loan fees, points) expressed as a percentage of the loan amount.

Amortization - The gradual repayment of a mortgage by periodic installments.

Application Fee - The amount that a lender charges for processing a borrower's application for a loan.

Appraisal - An estimate of the value of a property.

Appreciation - an increase in property value.

Assessed Value - The valuation placed on a property by a public tax assessor as the basis of property taxes.

Assumption of Mortgage - Agreement by the buyer to assume responsibility for a mortgage owned by the seller; the seller remains liable to the lender unless the lender agrees to release him or her.

Balloon Loan - A mortgage that has a substantial amount of the principal due at the maturity of the note.

Broker - A person licensed by a state real estate commission to act independently in conducting a real estate brokerage business. Although the requirements for a broker's license vary from state to state, an individual usually must have one or more years of experience in the industry and pass an examination.

Building Codes - Local safety codes regulating the construction of buildings. They include design, materials, and many other related aspects of construction.

Buydown - A payment to the lender from the seller, buyer or third party, causing the lender to reduce the interest rate during the early years of the loan.

Cap - A maximum amount of interest that can be charged.

Capital Gains - The taxable "profit" made from the sale of real estate. This can be either recognized (and taxes paid), or deferred.

Capital Loss - The loss derived from the sale of a capital asset..

Certificate of Title - A document stating that a seller has an insurable title to a property. It must be signed by a title examiner to be valid.

Closing - The final step in transferring ownership of a property from seller to buyer.

Closing Costs - Fees and expenses, not including the price of the home, payable by the seller and the buyer at the time of closing (e.g. brokerage commissions, title insurance premiums, inspection and appraisal fees).

Comparables - Recently sold properties that are similar in size and location to the property being purchased.

Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) - A survey of attributes and the sales history of comparable homes as well as current homes on the market used to help determine the current market value of a property.

Commission - A fee paid to an agent or broker for services performed. This is usually based on a percentage of the total transaction.

Community Property - Property acquired and jointly owned by husband and wife in which each has equal interest.

Contingency - A condition that must be satisfied before a contract is binding.

Contract - A binding legal agreement between two or more parties the conditions for the exchange of value.

Conventional Loan - A fixed-rate, fixed-term loan that is made without government insurance.

Convertible ARM - Loans that give you the opportunity to convert to a fixed-rate mortgage, usually between the 13th to 60th month of the loan.

Convey - To transfer property or title from one person to another.

Cooperatives (co-ops) - A buyer purchases shares in a co-op corporation, made up of the residents in the co-op property. The buyer owns the shares rather than owning the real property. In exchange, the buyer has the right to occupy a co-op unit.

Co-Signer - A person who signs a note and thereby becomes liable for repayment of that note with the borrower.

Debt-To-Income Ratio - A lender's calculation of a borrower's income represented by a borrower's housing payments plus all other revolving debt payments.

Deed - A legal document conveying title to a property.

Deed Restrictions - Any provisions in a deed restricting ownership or use of the property. Limitations on rights-of-way, or easements granted to other parties are examples of deed restrictions.

Deposit - A percentage of the purchase price paid when the Purchase and Sale Agreement is signed. It is typically held in escrow until the transaction is completed.

Depreciation - Refers to when a property's value decreases.

Down Payment - A percentage of the purchase price that the buyer must pay in cash and may not borrow from the lender.

Earnest Money - A payment given to the seller by a potential buyer indicating the buyer's intent to complete the purchase of the property.

Equity - The owner's value or interest in a property.

Encumbrance - A legal right or interest in lang that affects a clear or marketable title and diminishes the land's value. This can be in the form of zoning ordinances, easement rights, claims, mortgages, liens, un-pait taxes, a pending legal action, or restrictive covenants.

Escrow - The placement of money or documents with a third party for safekeeping pending the fulfillment or performance of a specific act or condition.

FHA Mortgage - A mortgage loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration, permitting lenders to offer better terms.

Fixed Rate Mortgage - A loan that has only one stated interest rate.

Fixture - A recognizeable entity that is permanently attached to the property and belongs to the property when it is sold. (Such as a sink or light fixture)

Good Faith Estimate - The owner's value or interest in a property.

Hazard Insurance - An insurance policy that compensates for property damage from specific hazards such as fire and wind.

Home Inspection - A professional review of a home to assess its overall condition and identify existing or potential structural and/or mechanical problems.

Hybrid Loans - An approximation of closing costs that a lender is required to give to a prospective mortgage borrower within three days of applying for a loan.

HUD - Housing and Urban Development - A U.S. government agency established to implement certain federal housing and community development programs.

Interest - The cost of borrowing money. This is usually expressed as a percentage rate.

Lien - A legal claim against a property that must be paid when property is sold.

Listing Contract - An agreement whereby a property owner hires a real estate company for a specified period of time to sell a property. Upon the sale, the real estate company receives a commission usually in the form of a percentage of the sales price.

Loan Origination Fee - The charge you must pay to the lender for processing your mortgage.

Loan-To-Value Ratio (LTV) - The relationship between a mortgage on a property and its value. For example, if there is an $80,000 mortgage on a property worth $100,000, then the loan-to-value ratio is 80 percent..

Market Price - The actual price a property is sold for.

Market Value - The highest price a ready, willing and able buyer will pay and the lowest price a seller will accept.

Mortgage - A lien on real estate given by the buyer as security for money borrowed from a lender.

Mortgage Commitment - A written notice from the bank or other lending institution stating that it will advance mortgage funds in the specified amount to enable a buyer to purchase a property.

Mortgage Insurance - A policy that provides protection for the lender in case of default and guarantees repayment of the loan in the event of death or disability of the borrower. This is generally imposed with a loan-to-value ratio of more than 80% of the market price

MLS - Multiple Listing Service.

Origination Fee - An fee or fees for processing a proposed mortgage loan.

P & I - A periodic (usually monthly) payment that includes the interest charges for the period plus an amount applied to amortization of the principal balance.

PITI - Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance Payment - The periodic payment that includes the principal and interest payment plus a contribution to the escrow account set up by the lender to pay insurance premiums and property taxes on the mortgage property.

Plat - A map or diagram of a lot, sub-division or community drawn by a surveyor showing boundary lines, buildings, improvements to the land (buildings, etc), and easements.

Points - A dollar amount, expressed as a percentage of the mortgage amount, which is paid to a lender as a consideration for making a loan. A point is 1% of the amount of the mortgage loan; also called discount points.

Power Of Attorney - A written document giving authorization to one person to act on behalf of another person.

Pre-Approval - Preliminary approval for a mortgage loan before an application is complete. It may or may not be a formal commitment by a lender to make a loan. It will usually outline conditions to be met before final loan approval.

Prepayment - Payment of part or all of a mortgage loan before it is due.

Prepayment Penalty - A fee paid by a borrower who pays off the loan before it is due. (This does NOT apply to all loans.)

Pre-Qualification - An informal estimate of the maximum mortgage loan amount that a borrower could obtain. This is based on a calculation of available income and existing debt.

Principal - The amount borrowed upon which interest is paid. (distinguished from interest, taxes and mortgage insurance)

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) - See Mortgage Insurance.

Promissory Note - A written agreement primising to repay a loan.

Prorate - To divide or assess proportionally.

REALTOR® and REALTOR ASSOCIATE® - Registered collective membership marks that identify real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS and subscribe to its Code of Ethics.

Settlement - All final transactions required to make a contract final.

Survey - A plat or map made by a licensed surveyor showing the results of measuring the land with its improvements, boundaries and its relationship to surrounding lands.

Title - A document that is evidence of ownership.

Title Insurance - Protection for lenders and homeowners against financial loss resulting from legal defects in the title.

Title Search - A check of title records to identify liens, encumbrances and ownership rights to the property.

VA Mortgage - A mortgage loan guaranteed by the Veterans Administration, an agency of the federal government that provides services for eligible veterans.

Variance - A limited exception from local zoning requirements.

Warranty - A written or implied guarantee that property is in the condition described and will perform as promised. This includes met mechanical systems, plumbing, and appliances. Century 21 has a Home Warranty Program available through AON that can be purchased by either the buyer or the seller.

Zoning Ordinances - The acts of an authorized local government establishing building codes, and setting forth regulations for land usage.

Bill Sauneuf | Preview Properties Skagit, LLC | 1615 Buck Way, Suite A | Mount Vernon, WA 98274 | (360) 708-2929