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Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Abstract of Title - A written history of all the transactions bearing on the title to a specific tract of land. An abstract of title covers the period from the original source of title to the present time and summarizes all subsequent documents that have been recorded.

Acceptance - A party’s consent to enter into a contract and be bound by the terms of the offer.

Addendum - An attachment to a contract to add, remove or amend specified terms or conditions.

Additional Principal Payment - A payment by a borrower of more than the scheduled principal amount due in order to reduce the remaining balance and pay off the loan quicker.

Amortization - A loan repayment plan, which enables the borrower to reduce his debt gradually through monthly payments of principal and interest.

Amortization Schedule - A timetable for payment of a loan.   An amortization schedule shows the amount of each payment applied to interest and principal and shows the remaining balance after each payment is made.

Annual Fee - An annual fee for a line of credit is sometimes required. If an annual fee is shown you will be billed for that amount, annually, until the loan is paid in full.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) - An APR measures both the interest charged as well as any other costs associated with the loan, such as discount points or lender origination fees. Because APR is designed to show you the total cost of a loan, it can be useful when comparing loans from different lenders.

Application - The process of applying for a loan. The term "application" generally refers to a form that is used to collect financial information from a borrower by a lender.

Appraisal - An analysis performed by a qualified individual to determine the estimated value of a home.

Appraised Value - An opinion of a property’s fair market value according to an appraiser's knowledge, experience and analysis of the property.

Appraiser - A person qualified by education, training, and experience to estimate the value of real estate.

Appreciation - An increase in the value of a property due to changes in market conditions and other causes. The opposite of depreciation.

Assessed Value - The valuation placed on property by a public tax assessor for purposes of taxation.

Assessor - A public official who establishes the value of a property for taxation purposes.

Asset - Anything of monetary value that is owned by a person. Assets include real property, personal property, and enforceable claims against others (including bank accounts, stocks, mutual funds and so on).

Automatic payment discount - To receive this benefit your monthly loan payment must be automatically drafted from your designated NBT Bank checking or money market account. Automatic payment must be set up at the time of loan closing and must be maintained. If automatic payment is discontinued, your loan rate may increase by the respective discount.

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B

Bankruptcy - A court proceeding in which a debtor, who owes more than his assets, can relieve the debts by transferring his assets to a trustee.

Bill of Sale - A certificate of transfer of personal property.

Borrower - Any legal entity or person who obtains a loan from the bank as evidenced by a signed promissory note.

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C

Capacity - A person’s anticipated future earnings in addition to present income. Lenders take this into consideration when determining if a borrower will be able to make payments on a loan.

Certificate of Deposit (CD) - An instrument, issued by a bank or other financial institution, that is a type of savings deposit. The document includes the institution’s promise to return the deposit, plus earnings at a specified interest rate within a specified period.

Certificate of Title - A statement of ownership rendered by a title company or attorney, stating that a title to real property is legally held by the current owner.

Chattel -  See personal property.

Clear Title - A title that is free of liens, disputed interests or legal questions as to ownership of the property.

Clear to Close Letter - A letter advising the applicant(s) that all conditions for loan approval have been met and the customer is able to close on the loan.

Closing - A meeting of the parties involved in a lending transaction to finalize the process and sign all necessary documents.  

Closing Costs - Closing costs are fees paid for services provided during the home equity and mortgage application and closing process.

Co-borrower - Any legal entity or person who obtains a loan together with the borrower as evidenced by a signed promissory note. The borrower and co-borrower share equally the rights and liabilities of the credit obligation. Both individuals share in the benefits of the proceeds.

Co-signer - A person who signs a promissory note along with the primary borrower but has no beneficial interest in the loan proceeds. A co-signer's signature guarantees that the loan will be repaid if the borrower lapses on the payments, because the borrower and the co-signer are equally responsible for the repayment.

Collateral - Property pledged as security for a debt. The borrower risks losing the collateral if the debt is not repaid according to the terms of the loan contract.

Collection - The process of bringing a delinquent debt current and the filing of the necessary notices to proceed with repossession or foreclosure when necessary. Collateral may be seized in some situations.

Combined Loan-to-Value Ratio (CLTV) - The ratio between the unpaid principal amount of a first mortgage, plus the credit limit of a home equity line of credit (if applicable), and the appraised value of the home, expressed as a percentage.

Commitment Letter - A written offer from a lender to provide financing to a borrower. The commitment letter states the terms under which the lender agrees to provide financing to the borrower.

Comparables - Comparables, or comps, are used in the appraisal process and are properties that are very similar to the property being appraised. They have been sold recently and have approximately the same size, location and features. Comparables help the appraiser determine the approximate fair market value of the subject property. 

Credit Bureau - An agency that gathers and keeps your credit record and calculates your credit score.

Credit History/Report - A record of a person's debt history, including all open and fully repaid obligations. A credit history helps a lender to determine whether a potential borrower has satisfactory history of repaying debts in a timely manner.

Credit Life Insurance - A type of insurance, often bought by borrowers, that will pay off the debt if the borrower dies while the policy is in effect.

Credit score - Provided by a credit reporting agency, the credit score helps a lender determine how likely  a borrower is to repay a new loan. To calculate the score, a credit reporting agency considers factors such as how an individual pays their bills, all outstanding debt, how long they've had credit, the types of credit they've had and how many times they've applied for credit.

Creditor - A person or business that is owed money.

Creditworthiness - The likely ability of a borrower to repay debt. The higher the credit score, the more creditworthy.

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D

Debt - An obligation to pay another.

Debt consolidation - A single loan to pay off multiple debts.

Deed - The written document that transfers a property from the seller to the buyer.  The deed is recorded at the local courthouse so that the transfer of ownership is part of the public record.

Deed-in-Lieu - A process that allows a borrower to transfer the ownership of a property to the lender in order to avoid loss of the property through foreclosure.

Debt to Income Ratio (DTI) - A ratio used by lenders to calculate the total debt amount owed as a percentage of income. To determine the debt to income ratio, divide the debt amount by income.

Default -  A breach of the agreement with a lender such as the failure to make loan payments in a timely manner.

Delinquency - The failure to make payments on debts when they are due.

Depreciation - A decline in the value of real or personal property. The opposite of appreciation.

Disburse - To pay out the funds of the loan to the borrower.

Disclosures - Information that must be given to consumers about their financial dealings.

Document Preparation - Lenders will prepare some of the legal documents that the borrower will be signing at the time of closing, such as the promissory note and truth-in-lending statement. 

Down Payment - The upfront portion of the total amount due that is paid in cash to purchase a property.

Draw Period - The period during which a borrower can obtain advances from the available line of credit. At the end of the draw period, borrowers may be able to renew the credit line or be required to pay the outstanding balance in full or in monthly installments.

Due-on-Sale Clause - A provision in a mortgage that allows the lender to demand repayment in full, if the borrower sells the property that serves as security for the loan.

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E

Easement - Allowing a person, other than the owner, access to or over a property.

Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) Systems - A way to transfer funds electronically rather than by check.

Encroachment - A property improvement or obstruction that physically intrudes upon the property of another.

Encumbrance - Anything that affects the title to a property such as a mortgage, judgment, or easement.

Endorsements - Additions to a title insurance policy for special coverage that are not included in the standard insurance policy, such as surveys, environmental and state particular endorsements. 

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) - The federal regulation that requires lenders to make credit equally available to all without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, or receipt of income from public assistance programs.

Equity -  The difference between the property's value and the amount that is owed on mortgages.

Escrow - Funds paid by one party to another to hold until a specific date when the funds are released to a designated individual. Often related to taxes and mortgage insurance.

Escrow Account - An account funded monthly as part of the total monthly payment. We use it to make property tax and insurance payments for the borrower. Items like mortgage insurance and flood insurance may also get paid from the account. Items like mortgage insurance and flood insurance may also get paid from the escrow account.

Escrow Analysis - A periodic review of escrow accounts to determine if current monthly deposits will provide sufficient funds to pay property taxes, hazard insurance and other bills when they come due.

Escrow Payment - The portion of a borrower’s monthly mortgage payment that is held by NBT Bank to pay for property taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance and other items as they become due.

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F

Fair Credit Reporting Act - A federal consumer protection regulation that controls the disclosure of credit information and establishes procedures for correcting mistakes in one's credit file.

Fair Market Value - The highest price that a willing buyer would pay, and the lowest price that a willing seller would accept.

Finance Charge - Any fee representing the cost of credit or the cost of borrowing. Finance charges include not only include interest but other charges as well such as financial transaction fees, late fees or account maintenance fees.

First Mortgage - A mortgage that is the first loan recorded in the public record and generally the primary loan against a property.

Fixed Installment - The monthly payment due on a loan which includes both principal and interest.

Fixed-Rate Conversion Option  - An option available on certain Home Equity Lines of Credit allowing borrowers to fix the payments and interest rate on a portion of their credit line for a specific term. There is a $50.00 fee for this privilege.

Flood Certification - A third-party analysis to determine if a property is located in an area prone to flooding, also known as a flood plain. The federal government determines whether an area is in a flood plain. Lenders rely on the flood certification to determine if flood insurance will be required in order to obtain a mortgage or a home equity line of credit.

Flood Insurance - Insurance that protects a homeowner from the cost of damages to a property due to flooding or high water. It is required by law that loans secured by properties located in areas prone to flooding have flood insurance. The federal government determines whether an area is considered to be in a flood plain.

Foreclosure - The legal process in which a borrower's ownership of a property is dissolved due to default. Typically, the property is sold at a public auction and the proceeds are used to pay the toward the balance due on the loan plus any legal fees.

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G

H

Hazard Insurance (Homeowner's Insurance) - Insurance that protects a homeowner against the cost of damages to property caused by fire, windstorms, and other common hazards.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) - A loan secured by real property that allows the borrower to receive the loan proceeds in the form of multiple advances up to a predetermined limit to the borrower's equity in a property.

Home Equity Loan - A loan secured by a mortgage on one's principal or secondary residence. The loan is often in a subordinate position to the first lien. A traditional home equity loan provides lump-sum proceeds at the time the loan is closed.

Homeowners Association - A nonprofit association that manages the common areas of a condominium project or planned unit development (PUD). In a condominium development, the association has no ownership interest in the common elements. PUD holds title to the common elements of the project.

Homeowners Association Dues - Payments made to an association responsible for the maintenance of the common areas in a condominium or subdivision development.

HUD - HUD, also known as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, insures home mortgage loans made by lenders meet minimum standards for such homes.

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I

Index - When used in a mortgage note or credit agreement, a financial index is the factor used to decide how much the annual percentage rate will change at the beginning of each adjustment period. Generally, the index plus or minus a margin equals the new rate that will be charged, subject to any interest rate floor or cap. Lenders use various financial index rates.

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)- A retirement account that allows individuals to make tax-deferred contributions to a personal retirement fund. Individuals can place IRA funds in bank accounts or in other forms of investment such as stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.

Initial Rate (Introductory Rate) - The starting interest rate. Also known as the teaser rate, because it gives the borrower a low interest rate and low monthly payments at the beginning, but may increase at the next adjustment period.

Installment Loan - Borrowed money that is repaid in equal periodic payments

Insurance - A form of contract that provides compensation for specific losses in exchange for a single or periodic payment. An individual contract is known as an insurance policy. The contractual payments are known as insurance premiums.

Insurance Binder - A document stating that insurance is only temporarily in effect. Because the coverage will expire by a certain date, a permanent policy must be obtained prior to the expiration date.

Interest Rate - The cost of borrowing a lender's money. Interest takes into account the risk and cost to the lender for a loan.

Interest Rate Cap - A limit on how much the variable interest rate can increase at any one time. Many home loans have both annual (or semiannual) caps and lifetime caps, which limit the amount your payments can increase in an adjustment period and over the life of the loan.

Interest Rate Floor - A limit on how much the variable interest rate can decrease at any one time. Many home loans have both annual (or semiannual) floors and lifetime floors, which limit the amount your payments can decrease in an adjustment period and over the life of the loan.

Investment Property - A real estate property that has been purchased with the intention of earning a return on the investment, either through rental income, the future resale of the property, or both.

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J

Joint Credit Account - A credit account held by two or more people so that all can use the account and all assume legal responsibility to repay.

Joint and Several Liability - A situation whereby a creditor can demand full repayment from any and all borrowers. Each borrower is liable for the full debt, not just the prorated share.

Joint Tenancy - A form of co-ownership that gives each tenant equal undivided interest and equal rights in the property, including the right of survivorship.

Joint Venture - An agreement between two or more parties who invest in a property or business.

Judgment - A decree made by a court of law. In judgments that require the repayment of a debt, the court may place a lien against the debtor's real property as collateral for the judgment's creditor.

Judgment Lien - A lien on the property of a debtor resulting from a judgment.

Jumbo Loan - A jumbo loan, also known as a non-conforming loan, exceeds the maximum loan amount allowed by the most common loan investors. The cost of obtaining a jumbo loan is generally higher than the cost of obtaining a conforming loan.

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K

L

Late Charge - The penalty a borrower must pay when a payment is made after the stated date agreed upon in the loan contract.

Late Payment - A payment made later than agreed upon in a credit contract and on which additional charges may be imposed.

Lease - A written contract between a property owner and a tenant that expresses the conditions under which the tenant may possess the real estate for a specified period of time and rent.

Legal Description - A legal property description that is sufficient to locate and identify the property without verbal testimony.

Lender - The bank, mortgage broker, or financial institution providing the loan funds to a borrower.

Liability Insurance - An insurance policy that offers protection against claims that a property owner's negligence resulted in bodily injury or property damage to another party.

Liabilities - A person's financial obligations including both long-term and short-term debt, as well as any other amounts that are owed to others.

Lien - A loan secured by real estate or personal assets.

Lien Certificate - A certificate to verify there are no claims by one person on the property of another as security for money owed.

Lien holder - An individual or entity that has placed a lien on real property.

Lien Release - Removing the lien from a piece of collateral that has been pledged on a loan.

Line of Credit - An agreement by a financial institution to allow credit extensions up to a certain dollar amount to a borrower. A line of credit may have a specified draw period or may be evergreen.

Liquid Asset - An asset that is easily converted into cash.

Loan - Borrowed money that is usually repaid with interest.

Loan Term - The number of months that a borrower will make monthly payments. If the loan term is the same as the payment calculation term, the borrower will pay the loan in full during the loan term and no remaining balance will be due after the loan term ends.

Loan to Value Ratio (LTV) - A ratio used by lenders. The LTV is the loan amount requested as a percentage of the value of asset being used as collateral. To determine the loan to value ratio, divide the loan amount by the asset's value.

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M

Manufactured Housing - A structure that has been partially or entirely constructed at another location and moved onto the property (on a permanent foundation). A manufactured home may or may not be a mobile home.

Margin - The fixed number of percentage points a lender adds or subtracts to the index rate to determine the interest rate for the loan at each adjustment period on an adjustable rate mortgage.

Maturity - The date on which the principal balance of a financial instrument becomes due and payable.

Minimum payment - The minimum amount the borrower must pay (usually monthly) on one's loan to avoid a delinquency. Some loans may permit a minimum payment of interest only. Other loans may require a minimum payment of principal and interest. Many variations of minimum payments exist.

Mobile Home - A type of residence that is built upon a wheeled chassis and can be transported from site to site.

Modular Home - A factory-built home that’s erected on-site, with the appearance and characteristics of a site-built residence.

Money Market Account - A type of savings account that provides bank depositors with many of the advantages of a money market fund. Certain regulatory restrictions may apply to the withdrawal of funds.

Mortgage - The legal document used by a borrower to pledge their property as collateral in order to obtain a loan.  In some areas of the country, the mortgage is called a "deed of trust".

Mortgage Tax - A tax charged by some state or local governments that is paid to the state when a mortgage is obtained. 

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N

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) -  A federal program that makes flood insurance available in certain communities in predefined flood areas.

Net Worth - The total value of all of a person's or company's assets, minus all liabilities.

Note - See Promissory Note 

Notice of Default - Formal written notice to a borrower that a default on a loan has occurred and that legal action may be taken.

NY Tax & Title Search - A fee charged by New York title companies or attorneys to cover the cost of searching the public record and tax records for court orders against the current owner or proposed purchaser that could affect the title of the property.

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O

Other Housing Expenses - Other housing expenses are expenses that do not fit into a pre-defined categories that may be required to be collected with a borrower's payments. Examples include special forms of insurance or fees that must be paid in relation to property ownership, such as homeowner association dues and special assessments.

Outstanding Balance - The principal balance owed on a debt.

Owner-Occupied - A property that the owner occupies as a principal residence.

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P

Payment Shock - A significant rise in a homeowner's monthly home payment, usually as the result of rising interest rates (in the case of an adjustable-rate loan) or the end of an interest-only introductory period.

Payoff - Payment of the outstanding balance, interest and any other outstanding fees of a loan in full.

Principal & Interest (P&I) - The monthly principal and interest payment required when repaying a loan in accordance with its terms.

Partial Payment - A loan payment that is not great enough to cover the scheduled monthly payment on a loan.

Personal Property - Any and all property that is not real estate.

PITI - (P)rincipal, (I)nterest, (T)axes, and (I)nsurance is a reference to the total monthly payment required to repay a mortgage in accordance with its terms including escrow payments for taxes and insurance.

Planned Unit Development (PUD) - A housing project that includes common property that is owned and maintained by a homeowners' association for the benefit and use of the individual unit owners.

Power of Attorney - A written legal instrument that authorizes another person to act on one's behalf. A power of attorney can grant either complete or limited authority.

Pre-Qualification - Procedure to determine how much money a potential homebuyer will be eligible to borrow prior to actually applying for a loan.

Prepayment - Any amount that is paid to reduce the principal balance of a loan before the due date.

Prepayment Penalty - A monetary penalty charged by a lender if all or part of a loan is paid off before it is due.

Primary Residence - This is the home in which a borrower resides most of the time.

Principal - The actual balance, excluding interest or fees, of a loan. Also refers to the amount of the monthly loan payment that will be applied to the actual loan balance.

Promissory Note - The written agreement signed by the borrower at closing that contains the promise to repay the loan. The note also contains the terms of the loan, such as interest rate, payment, and the repayment period.

Property Taxes - Taxes based on the assessed value of the home, paid by the homeowner for community services such as schools, public works, and other costs of local government. Sometimes paid as a part of the monthly mortgage payment.

Public Record - A collection of legal documents that are filed with the local government registry so that the public will know what liens, encumbrances or judgments have been placed on the loan's collateral.

Purchase Agreement - A written contract signed by the buyer and seller stating the terms and conditions under which a property will be sold.

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Q

Qualifying Ratios - Calculations performed by lenders to determine a borrower's ability to repay a loan.  The first qualifying ratio is calculated by dividing the monthly PITI by the gross monthly income. The second ratio is calculated by dividing the monthly PITI and all other monthly debts by the gross monthly income.

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R

Real Property - Land and anything permanently affixed to the land, including structures, trees, minerals, and the interest, benefits and rights thereof.

Recording - The entering in a book of public record the details of a properly executed legal instrument that affects title to real property, thereby making it a part of the public record.

Recording Fees - A fee charged by the local government to record mortgage documents into the public record so that any interested party is aware that a lender has an interest in the property.

Refinance - The process of paying off any existing loans with a new loan.

Remaining Balance - The amount of principal owed on a loan that has not yet been fully repaid, also known as outstanding balance.

Remaining Term - The number of payments left to be made on a loan before it is fully amortized (paid in full).

Repayment Plan - An agreement between a lender and a borrower, to repay draws on a Home Equity Line of Credit or other loan.

Rescission - The cancellation of a contract by the operation of a law or by mutual consent. In some circumstances, borrowers have the right to cancel a transaction within three business days after closing.

Revolving Credit - A credit agreement (typically a credit card or other open end credit plan) that allows a customer to borrow against a pre-approved credit line. The borrower is only billed according to the amount that is actually borrowed plus any interest due.

Right of Setoff - A legal clause that gives a lender the authority to seize a borrower's deposits when they default on a loan.

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S

Search Fee - A fee charged by a title company or attorney in some states to cover the cost of searching the public record to make sure the buyer is purchasing a house from the legal owner and there are no liens, overdue assessments, or other claims filed that would adversely affect the transfer of the title. 

Second Home - A property occupied part-time by a person in addition to his or her primary residence.

Second Mortgage - A loan that has a lien position subordinate to the first mortgage.

Secured Loan - A loan in which the borrower pledges some asset as collateral for the loan.

Security - The collateral offered to a lender in exchange for a loan.  When a lender provides a mortgage, the borrower provides his/her home as the security.  This means that if payments are in default, the lender has the right to take title to the property.

Security Interest - The lender's right to take property that has been offered as security.

Servicer - A company that collects principal and interest payments from borrowers and manages the borrowers' escrow accounts. The servicer may or may not be the original lender.

Settlement - A meeting of parties involved in a real estate transaction to finalize the process. In the case of a purchase, the settlement usually involves the seller, the buyer, attorney, or settlement agent, the real estate broker and the lender. In the case of a refinance, the settlement involves the borrower and the lender. Settlement is sometimes referred to as the closing date or the date of close of escrow.

Settlement or Closing Fee - A fee charged by a title company, closing agent or attorney to act as a representative and agent for the lender to perform the closing of a real estate transaction.

State/Local Tax Fees - A tax charged by some state or local governments at the time of transfer of real estate title from one owner to another. 

Stipulation - A condition that must be met before a contract is legally binding.  For example, a lender's commitment to provide financing to a borrower may be conditioned upon receipt of the borrower's tax returns.

Subordinate Financing - Any mortgage or other lien that has a lower priority than that of the first mortgage.

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T

Tax Service Fee - A fee charged to a borrower by a lender so that another company will assume responsibility for verifying the amount of real estate taxes due and that taxes have been paid over the life of the loan. 

Term - The loan term is the number of months that the borrower will make monthly payments, otherwise known as the repayment period.. If the loan term is the same as the payment calculation term, you will pay the loan in full during the loan term and no balance will be due at the end of the loan term. If the payment calculation term is greater than the loan term, a balance or "balloon payment" may be due at the end of the loan term.

Title - A legal written instrument evidencing a person's lawful possession of a property.

Title Company - A company that specializes in examining titles to real estate and issuing title insurance.

Title Examination Fee- A fee charged by a title company or attorney in some states to cover the cost of searching the public record to make sure the buyer is purchasing a house from the legal owner and there are no liens, overdue assessments, or other claims filed that would adversely affect the transfer of the title.  

Title Insurance - An insurance policy that protects the lender (and/or the property owner) against loss due to disputes over the ownership of a property and defects in the title that were not found in the search of the public record.  

Title Opinion - A statement issued by an attorney as to the quality of title after examining an abstract of title.  Also, referred to as an Attorney Opinion.  

Title Search - An examination of the public title records to determine the legal ownership of a property, and to ensure that there are no liens, encumbrances or other claims outstanding.

Total Debt Ratio - A standard calculation performed by mortgage lenders to determine if a borrower qualifies for a specific loan type.  It is calculated by dividing the monthly housing expense (Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance plus all other monthly debt obligations) by the borrower's monthly gross income.  Also known as a back end ratio or a bottom ratio.

Transfer Tax - A tax charged by some state or local governments at the time of transfer of real estate title from one owner to another. These fees are considered to be a tax or other unavoidable fee. It may also be referred to as an Intangible Tax.

Truth in Lending Act - Also known as Regulation Z, this federal regulation requires a lender to provide borrowers with a disclosure estimating the costs of the loan including the borrower's total finance charge and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) within three business days of receiving the application for a loan.  This disclosure is designed to provide consumers with a standard method of comparing the financing costs from lender to lender.

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U

Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) - Group of laws that are applicable to commercial transactions. Only a few of the laws have relevance to real estate transactions.

Underwriting - Detailed process of evaluating a borrower's loan application to determine the risk involved for the lender. Underwriting usually involves an in-depth analysis of the borrower's credit history, debt ratios, as well as an examination of the value and quality of the collateral property.

Unsecured Loan - A loan for which the borrower does not pledge any collateral.

Unsecured lines of credit - Revolving line of credit that has no collateral pledged, typically accessed with a check or credit card.

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V

Vacation home - A home used by the owners only occasionally or seasonally, primarily for recreational purposes. Also referred to as a second home.

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W

X

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Z

 

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