Mortgage Definitions - Glossary

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R

Radon: a radioactive gas found in some homes that, if occurring in strong enough concentrations, can cause health problems.

Real estate agent: an individual who is licensed to negotiate and arrange real estate sales; works for a real estate broker.

REALTOR: a real estate agent or broker who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, and its local and state associations.

Refinancing: paying off one loan by obtaining another; refinancing is generally done to secure better loan terms (like a lower interest rate).

Rehabilitation mortgage: a mortgage that covers the costs of rehabilitating (repairing or Improving) a property; some rehabilitation mortgages - like the FHA's 203(k) - allow a borrower to roll the costs of rehabilitation and home purchase into one mortgage loan.

RESPA: Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act; a law protecting consumers from abuses during the residential real estate purchase and loan process by requiring lenders to disclose all settlement costs, practices, and relationships

S

Settlement: another name for closing .

Special Forbearance: a loss mitigation option where the lender arranges a revised repayment plan for the borrower that may include a temporary reduction or suspension of monthly loan payments.

Subordinate: to place in a rank of lesser importance or to make one claim secondary to another.

Survey: a property diagram that indicates legal boundaries, easements, encroachments, rights of way, improvement locations, etc.

Sweat equity: using labor to build or improve a property as part of the down payment

T


Title 1: an FHA-insured loan that allows a borrower to make non-luxury improvements (like renovations or repairs) to their home; Title I loans less than $7,500 don't require a property lien.

Title insurance: insurance that protects the lender against any claims that arise from arguments about ownership of the property; also available for homebuyers.

Title search: a check of public records to be sure that the seller is the recognized owner of the real estate and that there are no unsettled liens or other claims against the property.

Truth-in-Lending: a federal law obligating a lender to give fuII written disclosure of aII fees, terms, and conditions associated with the loan initial period and then adjusts to another rate that lasts for the term of the loan.

Underwriting: the process of analyzing a loan application to determine the amount of risk involved in making the loan; it includes a review of the potential borrower's credit history and a judgment of the property value.

VA: Department of Veterans Affairs: a federal agency which guarantees loans made to veterans; similar to mortgage insurance, a loan guarantee protects lenders against loss that may result from a borrower default.

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