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Glossary of Terms
Abstract of Title
A written history of the title to a property including every owner and every claim since its original owner. It is the result of a title search and it tells you it someone else has a legal claim on the property you are buying
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The total cost or finance charge for a loan per year, expressed as a percentage of the loan amount. It is the sum of the interest and any other fees, such as discount points, compared to the amount of the loan. The lender is required by the Truth-In-Lending Act to disclose the APR using a procedure prescribed by the federal government.
A report made by a qualified person (or appraiser) which states his/her opinion of the estimated value and quality of the property.
An estimate of property value, made by a qualified expert.
A reduction in the interest rate or monthly payments accomplished by payment of an additional fee. The reduced interest rate may hold for all or part of the loan term.
Certificate of Reasonable Value
Issued by the Veterans Administration (VA) to qualifying veterans, this document states the maximum amount of principal it will guarantee for a mortgage loan.
When the seller holds the only legal claim to the property and no one holds any demands on that seller for the property (i.e. there are no defects or encumbrances), he has a clear title. In contrast, a marketable title and an insurable title may include some minor claims on the property, but they are insignificant to the transfer of the property.
The final step of the sale transaction in which the title to, or ownership of, real estate is transferred from the owner to the buyer.
Costs, in addition to the price of the property itself, that are due at closing. They normally include origination fees, discount points, attorney's fees, costs for title insurance, surveys, recording documents and prepayments of real estate taxes and/or insurance premiums held by the lender.
To transfer an interest in real estate to another party (usually the conveyance involves a transfer of property taxes paid by the corporation from your income tax).
Deed of Trust
In some sates, this is used in place of a mortgage or a deed to secure debt. While there are only two people involved in a mortgage, the borrower and the lender, there are three people involved in a deed of trust: the borrower, the lender and the trustee. Here, the borrower transfers the legal title for the property to the trustee who holds the properly as a security for the debt. If the borrower pays the mortgage as agreed, the trustee gives the legal title to the owner. If the borrower does not pay the mortgage as agreed, the trustee can sell the property.
This is the formal written document which transfers the rights of ownership and possession (i.e. Title) from the seller to the buyer. Sometimes the deed is also called a title document. It contains an accurate, specific and legal description of the property and it is delivered at closing.
A special bank account maintained by the tender or an escrow agent. In it you set aside money so that the lender can pay the taxes, hazard and mortgage insurance, ground rents and other special costs on your mortgage or property as they come due. Each month a certain portion, called the escrow payment, of your monthly mortgage payment goes into this account.
Each month, a portion of your monthly payment is set aside by the lender in an escrow account to pay the taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, ground rents and other special items as they come due.
Examination of Title
A review which reveals the previous owners of, and the encumbrances on a piece of real estate. To conduct this review, a settlement agent must search the public records or examine an abstract of title.
The largest possible interest in real estate. When you own property in fee simple, you enjoy substantial rights to it, and may dispose of it as you see fit. This includes selling it, using it for any lawful purpose and leaving it to your heirs.
Fair Market Value
An appraisal term. It is the price that you, the buyer, are willing to pay and that the seller is willing to accept for a piece of property. In arriving at this price, both you and the seller must be reasonably aware of the pertinent facts and be under no obligation to buy or sell.
Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP)
The amount the borrower is required by the lender to pay for mortgage insurance. It helps protect the lender in cases of default. It is required by lenders when the down payment is less than 20% (or some other specified percentage) for conventional loans and for all FHA loans. The premium is paid periodically either to a private mortgage insurance company or to the Federal Housing Administration, which insures residential mortgage loans.
Power of Attorney
1. The authority to act in another person's behalf, at his request. The person granted such authority is called the attorney-in-fact.
2. A document granting the power of attorney.
Preliminary Title Search
A title search conducted by a title insurance company, before it commits itself to insure the rights in property ownership.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
Insurance provided by a private company helping to protect the mortgage lender against mortgage default. Generally, this insurance is required by the lender when the down payment is less than 20'% of the properly value. The tender requires the borrower to pay the insurance premiums.
Any legal document that affects the ownership of real property is recorded in a book of public records. For example, when property is sold, the deed is recorded by the registrar or county clerk. This gives notice of home ownership to all other interested parties.
Tenancy by the Entirety
The co-ownership of real estate by a married couple. Upon the death of one spouse, the other automatically owns the entire property.
Tenancy in Common
When two or more people are legally granted interest in the same property, they hold a tenancy in common. The interest need not be equal nor created at the same time as in joint tenancy. If one of them dies, the others do not automatically own his interest, as they would in a joint tenancy. His interest passes to his heirs.
Title Insurance Policy
Protects the insured up to a specified amount against losses arising from claims against the property due to a defect in the title. A mortgagee's (e.g. lender's) title insurance policy does not protect the owner. Owner's coverage may be purchased to protect the owner's equity interest.
An examination of public records, laws and court actions to make sure that the seller is the legal owner and to disclose all other claims or encumbrances on the property affecting its ownership.
In mortgages, title can refer to two things:
1. The rights of ownership and possession of a particular property.
2. The documents that prove those rights. You can buy the rights of ownership and possession (title), inherit them or accept them as a gilt.
Any legal right to a property claimed by a person other than the owner. Examples include unpaid real estate taxes or claims to the property such as those of an unknown heir.
Local governments establish and can sometimes change the types of land usage that affect any property in their area. The basic zoning categories are: residential, commercial and industrial. To build a business on property zoned for residences, you must request and wait until the property is re-zoned for business use.