Glossary of Popular Mortgage Terms

Mortgage 101
Looking to learn more about mortgage terms? Here's a handy glossary of terms, so you can get the most out of your next home purchase.
Published on
July 27, 2023
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  1. Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM): A type of mortgage loan with an interest rate that can change over time, typically in response to changes in market conditions.
  2. Amortization: The process of paying off a debt through regular payments over a period of time.
  3. Balloon Payment: A large, lump-sum payment due at the end of a mortgage loan term that is used to pay off the remaining balance.
  4. Bridge Loan: A short-term loan used to bridge the gap between the purchase of a new property and the sale of an existing property.
  5. Closed-End Mortgage: A mortgage loan with a fixed interest rate and set repayment terms that cannot be refinanced.
  6. Conversion Option: The option to convert an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage at a predetermined rate.
  7. Escrow: A neutral third party that holds funds or documents in trust during a real estate transaction.
  8. Fannie Mae: A government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) that provides funding and support to the mortgage industry.
  9. Freddie Mac: A government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) that provides funding and support to the mortgage industry.
  10. Home Equity Loan: A loan that allows a homeowner to borrow against the equity in their home.
  11. Homeowner's Insurance: An insurance policy that protects a homeowner against losses or damage to their property.
  12. Housing and Urban Development (HUD): A federal agency that oversees housing and community development programs.
  13. Interest Only Loan: A mortgage loan where the borrower only pays the interest on the loan for a specified period of time.
  14. Jumbo Loan: A mortgage loan that exceeds the maximum loan limits set by government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  15. Leasehold Estate: A type of property ownership where the tenant has the right to use the property for a specified period of time, but does not own the property outright.
  16. Lien: A legal claim on a property used as security for a debt.
  17. Lock-In Period: The period of time during which a borrower is guaranteed a specific interest rate for a mortgage loan.
  18. Mortgage Banker: An individual or company that originates, underwrites, and services mortgage loans.
  19. Mortgage Broker: An individual or company that connects borrowers with lenders for a fee.
  20. Mortgage Insurance: Insurance that protects the lender against losses incurred as a result of a borrower defaulting on a mortgage loan.
  21. Point: A fee paid by the borrower to the lender, equal to 1% of the loan amount, in exchange for a lower interest rate.
  22. Prepayment Penalty: A fee imposed on a borrower who pays off a mortgage loan before the end of the loan term.
  23. Refinancing: The process of obtaining a new mortgage loan to pay off an existing mortgage loan.
  24. Second Mortgage: A mortgage loan that is subordinate to a first mortgage loan and provides additional financing for a property.
  25. Underwriting: The process of evaluating a loan application to determine the risk involved and the likelihood of loan repayment.

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