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Residential Mortgage Terms Glossary

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Acceleration Clause
A provision in a mortgage note that gives a lender the right to demand repayment of the entire balance of the loan under certain conditions, such as the failure to make timely payments or a transfer of the property.

Additional Principal Payment
An amount paid by a borrower of more than the scheduled principal amount due. This type of payment reduces the remaining balance and shortens the term of the loan. Also called a "principal curtailment."

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)
A mortgage that permits the lender to periodically adjust the interest rate on the basis of changes in a specified index.

Adjustment Date
The date on which the interest rate changes for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

Adjustment Period
For an adjustable-rate mortgage, the time period between interest rate change dates, as stated in the mortgage note.

Affordability Analysis
An estimation of a borrower's ability to afford the purchase of a home and/or the payment on a loan. An affordability analysis may consider income, liabilities, the type of mortgage, the loan amount, purchase price, the expected closing costs, and other factors.

Amortization
The gradual reduction of the mortgage debt through regularly scheduled payments over the term of the loan.

Amortization Schedule
A timetable for payment of a mortgage loan. An amortization schedule shows: the amount of each payment; the amount to be applied to principal and interest; and the remaining principal balance after each payment is made.

Amortize
To repay a mortgage with regular payments that cover both principal and interest.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The measure of the cost of credit stated as a yearly rate; includes such items as the stated interest rate, plus certain charges.

Annuity
An amount paid yearly or at other regular intervals, often at a guaranteed minimum amount. Also, a type of insurance policy in which the policy holder makes payments for a fixed period or until a stated age, and then receives annuity payments from the insurance company.

Appraisal
A written estimate or opinion of a property's value prepared by a qualified appraiser.

Appreciation
An increase in the value of an item (e.g., the increase in the market value of real estate).

Assessed Value
Typically the value placed on property for the purpose of taxation.

Assessor
A public official who establishes the value of a property for taxation purposes.

Asset
Anything of monetary value that is owned by a person or company. Assets include real property, personal property, stocks, mutual funds, etc.

Assignment of Mortgage
A document evidencing the transfer of ownership of a mortgage from one person to another.

Assumable Mortgage
A mortgage loan that can be taken over (assumed) by the buyer when a home is sold. An assumption of a mortgage is a transaction in which the buyer of real property takes over the seller's existing mortgage; the seller remains liable unless released by the lender from the obligation. If the mortgage contains a due-on-sale clause, the loan may not be assumed without the lender's consent.

Assumption Fee
A fee a lender charges a buyer who will assume the seller's existing mortgage.

Automated Underwriting
An automated process performed by a technology application that streamlines the processing of loan applications and provides a recommendation to the lender to approve the loan or refer it for manual underwriting.