Monday, July 19, 2010

Mortgage 101 Basics

If you are brand new to the home buying process then mortgage terminology can be as foreign as reading Latin. Knowledge will give those new to this process additional power. Use the following glossary of terms to help you raise awareness.

Underwriting: This lender process is used to determine how much of a risk you and your mortgage would be to their company. An underwriter will evaluate such things as your credit, available collateral, as well as your employment and current debts.

Points: Broken into two categories, discount and origination, this term refers to a fee paid when obtaining a mortgage.

Discount: These fees are tax deductible. You can assume to pay 1% of the total loan amount for each point. Paying points can reduce your final interest rate.

Origination: Less popular with buyers, as they offer no real benefit to the borrower, these points are fees paid to the lender or loan officer in exchange for their job of evaluating and processing your mortgage loan. These points are not tax deductible.

Fixed Rate: Your interest rate will remain the same throughout the life of the loan.

Adjustable Rate: Your interest rate is adjusted periodically. There also may be a penalty for paying off the loan before its maturation date.

Amortization: The decrease in the principle owed on a home, as it decreases over the life of the loan.

Down Payment: A portion of your total home cost that is paid up-front. It can result in a smaller monthly payment and a lower principle balance.

Good Faith Estimate: RESPA requires the lender to provide a borrower with an estimate of the fees that will be due at closing. They must provide this within three days of taking your application.

Escrow: Your funds are held in an escrow account by a third party until the closing of your transaction.

Refinancing: There may come a time during the life of your loan that you will wish to refinance. Perhaps you want to take advantage of lower interest rates or to consolidate debt. If you are eligible, in great credit standing, you may be able to do just that.

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