Basic Mortgage Terminology To Help You Understand Your Loan Terms

by Bonnee Proo 01/16/2018

Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or a seasoned homeowner, the terminology of mortgages can be confusing. Since buying a home is such a huge financial decision, you’re also going to want to make sure you understand every step of the process and all of the conditions and fees along the way.

In this article, we’re going to explain some of the common terms you might come across when applying for a home loan, be it online or over the phone. By learning the basic meaning of these terms you’ll feel more confident and prepared going into the application process.

We’ll cover the acronyms, like APRs and ARMs, and the scary sounding terms like “amortization” so that you know everything you need to about the terminology of home loans.

  • ARM and FRM, or adjustable rate vs fixed rate mortgages. Lenders make their money by charging you interest on your home loan that you pay back over the length of your loan period. Adjustable rate mortgages or ARMs are loans that have interest rates which change over the lifespan of your loan. You may start off at a low, “introductory rate” and later start paying higher amounts depending on the predetermined rate index. Fixed rate mortgages, on the other hand, remain at the same rate throughout the life of the loan. However, refinancing on your loan allows you to receive a different interest rate later down the road.

  • Amortization. It sounds like a medieval torture technique, but in reality amortization is the process of making your life easier by setting up a fixed repayment schedule. This schedule includes both the interest and the principal loan balance, allowing you to understand how long and how much money will go toward repaying your mortgage.

  • Equity. Simply state, your equity is the the amount of the home you have paid off. In a sense, it’s the amount of the home that you really own. Your equity increases as you make payments, and having equity can help you buy a new home, or see a return on investment with your current home if the home increases in value.

  • Assumption and assumability. It isn’t the title of a Jane Austen novel. It’s all about the process of a mortgage changing hands. An assumable mortgage can be transferred to a new buyer, and assumption is the actual transfer of the loan. Assuming a loan can be financially beneficial if the home as increased in value since the mortgage was created.

  • Escrow. There are a lot of legal implications that come along with buying a home. An escrow is designed to make sure the loan process runs smoothly. It acts as a holding tank for your documents, payments, as well as property taxes and insurance. An escrow performs an important function in the home buying process, and, as a result, charges you a percentage of the home for its services.

  • Origination fee. Basically a fancy way of saying “processing fee,” the origination covers the cost of processing your mortgage application. It’s one of the many “closing costs” you’ll encounter when buying a home and accounts for all of the legwork your loan officer does to make your mortgage a reality--running credit reports, reviewing income history, and so on.  

About the Author
Author

Bonnee Proo

A Penn State undergrad with an MBA from University of Redlands, I specialize in the sale of new and existing homes in San Diego County. Licensed for 12 years in the Real Estate and Mortgage Banking industries, I have a strong background in Mortgage Banking and Investment property. Prior to real estate. I spent 18 years as a Corporate Accountant specializing in Healthcare and Biotechnology. I’ve always been a "numbers person.” However, my joy comes from working with and helping people make well-versed decisions with sometimes the largest investment they will ever make in their life…their home.


Leveraging my experience over the years, I am known for outstanding client service, available 7 days per week or whenever called upon to assist, execute, negotiate, guide or encourage. I strongly believe it is my duty to not only represent my clients to the best of my ability, but also to educate them throughout every step of the home buying (or selling) process, arming them with topnotch information and market insight so that they are able to make the best decisions possible. I am honest and trustworthy. I wholeheartedly believe that commitments are made to be kept. Also, I am extremely hardworking and knowledgeable about the real estate/mortgage industries and I have an EXCELLENT team of affiliates (lender, escrow, title, inspectors, etc.) with whom I work that are just as hardworking and knowledgeable in their respective lines of work, and always ready to assist.


During my spare time, you will either find me swing dancing or swinging a golf club. I also enjoy walking/hiking or spending time at the gym always working on trying to stay healthy; socializing with friends; and spending quality family time with husband, Phillip and my sassy, little fur-baby, Sadi.


 


AFFILIATIONS


National Association of Realtors (NAR)


California Association of Realtors (CAR)


Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR)


Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES)


San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce (Ambassador)


East County Chamber of Commerce (Ambassador)


University of Redlands (Alumni Board)


Meals on Wheels (Volunteer)