Mortgage terms simplified
Unless you spend all day helping people buy homes, like we do, mortgage lingo can be a puzzle. Here are some simple translations.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
Total yearly cost of the loan which includes the interest rate and other prepaid finance charges.

The meeting between the buyer, seller, and lender where the property and funds legally change hands. Closing is also called a settlement.

Closing Costs
The fees incurred when purchasing a home or refinancing the mortgage on a property. Costs vary by transaction, and may include lender or third-party fees or prepaid expenses, like taxes, insurance and interest.

Down Payment
This is the up-front money you need for a home purchase that is not financed by the mortgage. Getting financial help with a down payment—or using gift monies toward it—may be possible depending on the loan program. Ask your loan officer for more information.

Refers to a neutral third party who carries out the instructions of both the buyer and seller to handle all the paperwork of settlement or closing. Escrow may also refer to an account held by the lender into which the homebuyer deposits money for tax or insurance payments.

Interest Rate
The charge for borrowing money, paid over a specific period of time.

Hazard Insurance
Protects your home against loss and may include Flood Hazard Insurance if your home is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area.

Mortgage Insurance (MI/PMI)
Protects the lender against loss and is generally required with a down payment of less than 20%. Different types of MI include FHA/MIP, Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and VA Guarantee Fee.

A percentage of the loan amount, paid at closing, to reduce the interest rate on the loan. One point equals 1% of the loan amount.

The meeting between a home buyer, seller and lender where the property and funds legally change hands. Also referred to as closing.

Title Insurance
Protects your home against loss arising from problems connected to the title to your property.