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  • Josh Jelsing

Demystifying Mortgage Jargon: Your Essential Glossary of Terms

Buying a home involves navigating a sea of unfamiliar terms and concepts, especially when it comes to mortgages. From APR to escrow, the world of home financing can feel like learning a new language. But fear not! We're here to decode the mortgage jargon with a handy glossary of terms to help you confidently navigate the home buying process.

Glossary of Mortgage Terms:

1. Amortization: The process of paying off a loan over time through regular payments. With each payment, a portion goes towards the principal (the amount borrowed) and a portion goes towards the interest (the cost of borrowing).

2. Annual Percentage Rate (APR): The total cost of borrowing money expressed as an annual percentage. It includes the interest rate, points, and other fees associated with the loan.

3. Closing Costs: Fees and expenses paid at the closing of a real estate transaction. These may include appraisal fees, title insurance, attorney fees, and more.

4. Down Payment: The initial payment made towards the purchase of a home, typically expressed as a percentage of the total purchase price.

5. Escrow: A third-party account where funds are held during the home buying process, often used to pay property taxes, homeowners insurance, and mortgage insurance.

6. Fixed-Rate Mortgage: A type of mortgage where the interest rate remains the same throughout the life of the loan, providing predictable monthly payments.

7. Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM): A type of mortgage where the interest rate can change periodically, usually based on an index such as the prime rate. Monthly payments may fluctuate accordingly.

8. Home Equity: The value of ownership in a home, calculated by subtracting the outstanding mortgage balance from the home's current market value.

9. Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV): The ratio of the loan amount to the appraised value of the property. Lenders use this ratio to assess the risk of the loan.

10. Pre-approval: A preliminary assessment by a lender indicating how much money you may be eligible to borrow based on your income, credit score, and other factors. It helps demonstrate to sellers that you're a serious buyer.

11. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): Insurance required by lenders when the down payment on a home is less than 20% of the purchase price. PMI protects the lender in case the borrower defaults on the loan.

12. Principal: The original amount of money borrowed in a loan, excluding interest and other fees.

13. Refinancing: The process of replacing an existing mortgage with a new loan, often to secure a lower interest rate or change the loan term.

14. Title Insurance: Insurance that protects homeowners and lenders against any defects in the title of a property, such as liens or ownership disputes.

15. Underwriting: The process by which lenders assess the creditworthiness of a borrower and determine whether to approve their mortgage application.

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