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1
Page Content / About Award Realty Company
« Last post by dawn on June 05, 2013, 05:20:21 PM »
"Consistently Exceeding Expectations"

If a move is in your future, I would welcome to the opportunity to assist you in locating the home of your dreams or discuss helping you sell your current home.

Contact Dawn Testa for a "FREE" Home Market Guide, List of Homes in your desired price range that meet your criteria sent to you weekly or monthly complete with addresses, School Info., Maps, or a Marketing Plan for your Property.

Accredited Buyer's Representative

Dawn can show you ANY home for sale in the community including Existing homes, Newly Constructed homes or For Sale by Owners, with permission.

Mission Statement

"I am dedicated to providing quality personalized real estate services and strive to educate, inform and serve the consumer at all stages of the home-buying and home-selling process. I enter into and develop every client relationship with honesty, integrity and good faith."

"I choose to abide by the highest standards of professional ethics. I am honest with my clients and put their interests first. I want them to be satisfied with the process and the end result. My work, time and knowledge is given in such a helpful and professional manner that my services are highly recommended."

"I strive for win/win positions and fairness in all transactions. My actions with others will never be done for short term gain or at the expense of another party. It is very important that my clients understand that this relationship we create today extends far beyond the closing. I work towards developing long-term relationships and future referrals."

Goals

--MAXIMIZE MY CLIENT'S INVESTMENT

  • Anyone can put a sign in their yard, but if you can net more money, selling your home with Dawn, who represents your best interests and maximizes the exposure to your property, then you are maximizing your investment.

  • Dawn's negotiating abilities, knowledge of the community and knowledge of the details involved in the home-buying process can help you maximize your investment when purchasing your future home.

--GOOD COMMUNICATION

Good communication is very important to me. I understand that keeping my clients informed at all times is important to understanding the details of the real estate process. It is very important for my clients to feel comfortable calling me and understanding each step of the buying or selling process.

--VALUE MY CLIENT'S TIME

Client's time is so valuable that anything I can do to simplify the process with the least amount of disruption to their lives is valuable to them.

"I know my clients, their needs and expectations and I personalize the process to fit the individual and family. My goal is to Exceed Your Expectations!"

Real estate is a complex business. The process of buying and selling a home shouldn't be. Performance and results are important, but there is a human side to real estate.

Dawn inspires trust and confidence from her clients and offers a personal approach to a complex business. Dawn's approach is low pressure, consistent and educational. She understands it is a process of good communication, trust and results. She works diligently to provide her clients with the knowledge to make the best decisions. It is a careful balance of financial goals, financial ability, neighborhood choices, market timing and questions of style and taste. She personalizes the home-buying and home-selling process to fit your individual needs.

Real Estate Background:

NCMBR Realtor of the Year Selection Committee, 2011

NCMBR Grievance Committee Member, 2011

NCMBR Realtor of the Year Selection Committee, 2010

Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Designation, SFR, 2010

NCMBR Grievance Committee Member, 2010

NCMBR Realtor of the Year Selection Committee, 2009

Secretary, North Central MS Board of REALTORS®, 2009

North Central MS Realtor of the Year, 2008

Secretary, North Central MS Board of REALTORS®, 2008

Secretary, North Central MS Board of REALTORS®, 2007

Secretary, North Central MS Board of REALTORS®, 2006

Secretary, North Central MS Board of REALTORS®, 2005

Secretary, North Central MS Board of REALTORS®, 2004

Secretary, North Central MS Board of REALTORS®, 2003

NCMBR MLS Committee Member, 2002

Registered HUD Broker, 2001 to Present

NCMBR Grievance Committee Member, 2001

Licensed Broker-Owner of Award Realty Co., 2001

Re/Max President's Club Award, 2000

Re/Max Spirit Award, 1999

Re/Max President's Club Award, 1999

Accredited Buyer's Representative, ABR, 1999

Licensed Broker Associate, 1998

Licensed Sales Associate, 1997

Member:

National Association of REALTORS®

Mississippi Association of REALTORS®

North Central MS Board of REALTORS®

Real Estate Buyer's Agency Council

Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce

Education:

University of Mississippi

Personal Background:

Previous work history in Banking as Executive Loan Secretary

Legal Secretary for Real Estate Attorney

Notary Public for State of MS since 1990

Resident of the Oxford community since 1984



Specializing in Oxford, Abbeville, Yocona, Tula, and Taylor
2
Page Content / Oxford Facts
« Last post by dawn on June 05, 2013, 05:19:28 PM »
Oxford Web Pages

Oxford City Data

City of Oxford Official Site

City of Oxford Chamber of Commerce Site

This Week in Oxford

Local Newspaper

Lafayette County Schools

Oxford City Schools

University of MS



Oxford Videos

Tour Oxford


Retirement In Oxford
3
Page Content / Tips For Selling Your Home
« Last post by dawn on June 05, 2013, 05:19:06 PM »
Some Thoughts On Condition

Of all the things homeowners control when selling their home,
the condition of the property is one of the most important.

A crucial part of marketing any product is the presentation of the product. Corporations and retail businesses understand this concept and pay millions of dollars each year to advertising and marketing consultants to get the best advice possible.

The same is true for real property. In order to compete effectively with other sellers, homeowners must present their homes to the marketplace in an attractive, desirable condition. When you bought your home, you probably comparison shopped. Well, buyers are still doing that today. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average purchaser looks at 10 to 20 properties prior to purchasing a home. Regardless of how many properties are on the market, available buyers will always seek the best priced property that is in the best condition.

Start Making a List!

Do Everything Before Putting Your Home on the Market!

Think Like a Buyer!

You are not just selling a house. You are selling shelter, lifestyle, and dreams. People always want the best for themselves, and your home should represent the buyer's answer to this goal. Put yourself in the buyer's shoes!

Remember, they arrive at your front door wanting to find the right home. Don't make them search somewhere else for it. If you have done your homework, every room in your home will create a desire for the buyer to stay.

Walk outside and take a look at the property through the critical eyes of a buyer. Is there anything that needs painting, repairing, looks worn, or is outdated? Start writing these items down on your list. Walk through the interior and do the same things.

Ask for the assistance of everyone in your family. After all, a shorter sales time will benefit everybody in the family.

Complete all of your repairs, improvements, and enhancements prior to your first showing. Remember, your best showings come early in the listing period.


90 Ways to Sell Your House Faster and for More Money!

The following information will guide you step by step through the process of preparing your home for sale to achieve the highest possible sale price in the least amount of time. Our concentration will be in six areas: (1) Repairs, (2) Cleaning, (3) Neutralizing, (4) Space Management, (5) Atmosphere, and (6) Staging.

REPAIRS

1.   The rule of thumb is, if something needs repair, fix it! There are probably many things in your home that you have simply become used to over time ... things that you have been promising yourself that you will attend to. Well, now is the time. The buyer will mentally add up the cost of repairing all those minor flaws and end up with an amount that is generally much higher than what it would cost you to do the repairs.

You might be saying to yourself, "These repairs aren't any big deal." But the buyer is thinking, "If the owners didn't care for these little items, then what about the roof and the furnace?" Needed small repairs and perceived owner neglect will either lower the purchase price or lengthen the time required to sell.

2.   Check all walls for peeling paint and loose wallpaper.

3.   Large repairs: In today's climate of open disclosure and vigilant professional home inspections, the rule is "Treat a buyer as you would yourself." Repair any problems with major systems or offer an allowance for the buyer to make repairs after closing. Always disclose anything that you know about the property. Having been a consumer yourself, you know that buyers will more readily make a purchase decision with someone whom they can trust.


CLEANING

4.   Every area of the home must sparkle and shine! Each hour spent will be well worth it. Would you rather buy a clean car, or a dirty one? Would you hurry to buy a pair of shoes with mud on them?

5.   Clean all windows, inside and out. This helps make the house sparkle.

6.   Professionally clean all wall-to-wall carpeting and area rugs. Clean and polish linoleum, tile and wooden floors.

7.   Clean and polish all woodwork if necessary. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bath cabinets.

8.   Clean and polish all light fixtures. Installing new light fixtures are a quick way to create ambiance.  Just avoid brass lighting fixtures, which were very popular in the 1980s. More contemporary choices are brushed nickel and chrome finishes.  Also, rust and oil-rubbed bronze are becoming more popular as more home owners set out to have lighting that doubles as an accent feature.


NEUTRALIZING

9.   Be cautious about selecting colors when painting or replacing carpeting. Your objective here is to make your home appeal to the largest possible buying segment. Ask yourself, "How many of the available buyers would be able to move into your house with their furniture and not have to replace the carpeting?" Position your home on the market to be as livable to as many people as possible, and allow the buyer to mentally picture the home as theirs. Dirty, worn carpet may benefit from professional cleaning. Another option for lackluster flooring: use an area rug, even over carpet.  It will add color and bring definition to living areas. If you replace the carpet with inexpensive carpeting, consider upgrading the carpet pad. It will make a budget carpet feel luxurious.

10.  Forget your personal taste ...the "market" is always demand driven! The average buyer will have a hard time looking beyond blue carpeting and bold wallpaper. Consider replacing unusual or bold colors with neutral tones. Two coats of white paint may be the best investment you ever made.


SPACE MANAGEMENT

This involves creating the illusion of more space.

11.  Arrange furniture to give the rooms as spacious a feeling as possible. Consider removing furniture from rooms that are crowded If necessary, store large items.

12.  Pack up collectibles ... both to protect them, and to give the room a more spacious feel. Leave just enough accessories to give the home a personal touch. Dispose of unneeded items.

13.  Remove all clutter and make it a habit to pick up clothing, shoes, and personal possessions each day for possible showings.

14.  Empty closets of off-season clothing and pack for the move. Organize them to demonstrate the most efficient use of space. Leave as few items on the floor or shelves as possible.

15.  Use light to create a sense of space. All drapes should be open. Turn on all of the lights throughout the home before a showing, and be sure to replace any burned out light bulbs!


ATMOSPHERE

When placing yourself in the potential buyer's shoes, you will want to consider the overall atmosphere of your home. Keep in mind your sense of smell as you go through the checklist. Create the atmosphere of your home as a shelter, a place that is sate and warm, and in good condition.

16.  A clean smelling house creates a positive image in the buyer's mind. Be aware of any odors from cooking, cigarettes, pets, etc., that may have adverse effects on potential buyers. Remember that some people are much more sensitive to odors than others. Smokers rarely notice the odor of tobacco that fills their homes, and pet owners may be oblivious to objectionable doggy odor.

17.  You can use products like carpet deodorizers, air fresheners, and room deodorizers; but the best strategy is to remove the source of the smell rather than cover it up.

18.  Unfortunately, often the only way to remove the smell of pet urine from flooring is to rip up the carpeting and padding and replace them. If this is preventing the sale of your home, don't hesitate to make this investment.

19.  If smoking and cooking odors have permeated your home, have your carpets and furniture cleaned, and air out or dry-clean your drapes.

20.  Mildew odors are another no-no. Don't allow wet towels to accumulate in hampers or dirty laundry to pile up in closets.

21.  Once offensive odors are removed, consider adding delightful ones. Recent studies have shown that humans have strong, positive responses to certain smells. Cinnamon, fresh flowers, breads baking in the oven are all excellent ways to enhance your property for sale.


STAGING

This part of preparing your home for sale is the most fun and involves the use of color, lighting, and accessories to emphasize the best features of your home.

22.  Study magazine ads or furniture showrooms to see how small details can make rooms more attractive and appealing. The effect of a vase of flowers, an open book on the coffee table, a basket of birch logs by the fireplace, etc., can make the difference in a room.

23.  The use of a brightly colored pillow in a wing chair or a throw blanket on a couch can add dimension to a sterile room.

24.  Soften potentially offending views, but always let light into your rooms. Replace heavy curtains with sheer white panels. Never apologize for things you cannot change. The buyer will either decide to accept or reject the property regardless of the words you say. Just present the home in the best possible light with complete honesty.

25.  Go through your photo albums and select pictures of your house and yard during all seasons. If hung at eye level in a well-lighted area, the pictures will speak for themselves and give you yet another selling edge.

26.  Take advantage of natural light as much as possible by cleaning windows, opening shades and drapes, etc. Add lamps and lighting where necessary. Be sure that all fixtures are clean and have functioning bulbs.

Exterior   

Check your home for any needed maintenance just as a buyer would repaint or touch up as necessary. You can't make a better in vestment when you are selling your house Don t let the outside turn buyers off before the inside turns than on.

27.  Color has the power to attract. A tub of geraniums, a pot of petunias, or a basket of impatiens on the front steps is a welcoming touch.

28.  If you are selling during the winter months, consider using a wreath of dried flowers on the front door.

29.  If you have a porch or deck, set the stage with pots of flowers and attractively arranged furniture.

30.  Check to see that all doors and windows are in good working order. Give special attention to your home's exterior doors and front entry. Clean and paint doors if necessary. Remember, first impressions are likely to color the remainder of the house tour.

31.  Wash all windows and replace any broken or cracked window panes.

32.  Screens should be free of any tears or holes.  Better yet, remove the screens and store them! Clean the glass and then the front of your house will sparkle.  

33.  Inspect all locks to ensure that they are functioning properly. If keys go in extremely tight and are difficult to turn spray the key hole with WD-40 or put some oil inside it.

34.  Check for loose or missing shingles.

35.  Invest in a new doormat that says "Welcome".

The Yard

36.  Make sure the yard is neatly mowed, raked and edged.

37.  Prune and shape shrubbery and trees to compliment your house.

38.  Consider adding seasonal flowers along the walks or in the planting areas. Plop plants into a well-placed wheelbarrow, an old-fashioned washtub, or what have you. Such standbys as nasturtiums, petunias, impatiens, and verbena are easy to maintain if you only remember to water them regularly. Try a row of sweet smelling alyssum to line a short sidewalk or pop in some perky dwarf marigolds to form a cheerful oasis of color in your yard.

39.  It is important to devote at least one area of your yard to outdoor living. Buyers will still recognize a scene set with picnic table and chairs and respond positively to it. Cover your picnic table with a fringed, red-and- white checked cloth, set out some plastic plates and glasses, bring out the barbecuing equipment, and buyers will almost smell the hot dogs cooking!

The Driveway

40.  The driveway is no place for children's toys. Not only are such things dangerous, the clutter is unsightly.

41.  The surface of your driveway should be beyond reproach; after all, it's one of the first things a buyer will see when he drives up. Sweep and wash the driveway and walks to remove debris, dirt and stains. Repair and patch any cracks, edge the sides and pull up any weeds.

ROOM-BY-ROOM ANALYSIS

The Front Entry:   Whether a gracious proportioned center hall or a small space just large enough for a coat rack and a tiny table, this part of your home deserves your particular attention.

42.  Study your entry hall and ask yourself what kind of impression it makes of your home. Dried flowers or a small plant can make a striking focal point on a hall table any time of the year.

43.  Virtually any entry hall will benefit from a well-placed mirror to enlarge the area.

44.  Your entry hall's flooring will be observed carefully by the prospective buyer. Make sure the surface is spotless and add a small rug to protect the area during showings.

45.  The entry hall closet is the first one inspected. Make it appear roomy. Add a few extra hangers. Hang a bag of cedar chips or a pomander ball to give a pleasant, fresh scent. Remove all off-season clothing.

Living Areas:   Think of these areas as if they were furniture show-rooms. Your job is to make each room generate a positive response. Add touches that make a room look truly inviting.  Focus their attention. Choose a focal point for each room. For example, the focal point of a bedroom is usually the bed, and a living room, it's the fireplace.  If a room is mostly empty, you can draw attention to a corner with a plant or mirror.

46.  Sweep and clean the fireplace. Place a few logs on the grate to create an attractive appearance. You are welcome to have a fire going for showings during the winter months... it creates a great atmosphere.

47.  Place something colorful on the mantel, but don't make it look like a country craft store.

48.  Improve the traffic flow by removing excess furniture. Have easy traffic flow patterns. Be sure that all doors open fully and easily.

49.  Draw attention to exposed beams or a cathedral ceiling with special lighting. Be sure to remove any cobwebs and dust.

50.  Remove oversized television sets if they dominate the room. If necessary, substitute with a smaller one until you move.

The Dining Room:   Avoid going overboard. To be effective, any stage setting that you create should reflect the character of your entire home appropriately.

51.  Set the scene by setting the table with an attractive arrangement. Add fresh or silk flowers as a centerpiece.

52.  Visually enlarge a small dining area. If your dining table has extra leaves, take one or two out. Consider placing your dining table against the wall. Remove any extra "company" chairs. Consider putting oversized pieces in storage until your house is sold.

The Kitchen:   Pay particular attention to your kitchen. This room continues to be the "heart of the home" A pleasant, working kitchen is near the top of most buyers' list of priorities and is a room that buyers always scrutinize closely.

53.  Avoid clutter! Clean counters of small appliances and store whenever possible to maximize the appearance of work space.

54.  Check the counter top around your sink, and remove any detergent or cleanser, etc., that may be cluttering the area.

55.  Sinks, cabinets, and counter tops should be clean and fresh.

56.  All appliances should be absolutely clean, bright, sparkling and shiny!!

57.  Clean off the refrigerator! If you must use that space for storage, use baskets and bowls to camouflage all those pictures and magnets that are kept there.

58.  Set the scene with an open cookbook, a basket filled with fruit, a basket of silk flowers, or a ceramic mixing bowl and wire whisk.

59.  Create the aromas associated with happy homes! Bake some cookies from premixed, refrigerated cookie dough, start baking a loaf of refrigerated bread dough, or pop a frozen apple pie in the oven.

60.  In the heat of summer, place a bowl of lemons or limes on the counter to provide a fresh and pleasant aroma.

61.  Clean and organize all storage space. If your cabinets, drawers, and closets are crowded and overflowing, buyers assume that your storage space is inadequate. Give away items you don't use, storing seldom-used items elsewhere, and reorganize the shelves. Neat, organized shelves and drawers look larger and more adequate for prospective buyer's needs.

62.  Large, cheerful kitchen windows are an advantage and should be highlighted as a special feature of your home. Take a critical look at the window treatment ... is it clean, sharp and up-to-date? Do the curtains need washing or the blinds need cleaning? Would the window area look better without any window treatment?

63.  If you have a counter top eating area, set two attractive place settings with coordinating napkins and placemats, and place cushions on the stools.

64.  Set the table for an informal meal with bright place mats and a generous bowl of fruit as a centerpiece.

Laundry Room:   A separate laundry room is a true asset and is one of the most frequent requests that buyers make during a home search. Don't hide this treasure behind closed doors. Spruce up the room and open the door proudly for inspection. Buyers will be impressed if the laundry room is fresh, inviting, and organized. Make sure light bulbs are working, and hide laundry detergents in a cabinet or line them neatly on a shelf.

65.  Add a fresh coat of paint. Go neutral.  You don't want buyers to see too much bold color on cabinets or walls and feel they have nothing to go with that. Buyers will have a hard time seeing past it.

66.  Organize all closets and storage space.

67.  Remove all dirty laundry. Keep current with your laundry or store all dirty laundry in a closed container.

68.  Clean and polish the washer and dryer.

69.  Consider adding an attractive, coordinated throw rug.

Stairways:   Stairways should provide an attractive transition from one level of your home to another.

70.  Make certain the stairs are safe! Stair lighting should be more than adequate, stairs must be clutter free, stair railings tight and secure, and runners or carpeting tacked securely. Remove any items from the surface of the stairs and store elsewhere. Check the condition of the walls, and paint or re-wallpaper if necessary.

71.  If the stairs are a focal point of the main living areas, carefully choose accents to improve the visual appeal. If you have a wide, gracious staircase, emphasize this feature by hanging a few pictures along the wall. Draw attention to a handsome lighting fixture by polishing the brass and dusting each small light bulb or crystal prism.

Bedrooms:
Imagine for a moment that you're in the "bed-and-
breakfast" business. How would you change your
home's bedrooms to appeal to a paying lodger?
Naturally, you'd make up the beds with your prettiest
sheets and comforters. Maybe you'd add a vase of
flowers on the dressing table or a cozy armchair in
the corner. Every bedroom in your home should
invite prospective buyers to settle right in.

72.  Large master bedrooms are particularly popular among today's home buyers. Make your bedroom larger. Paint the room a light color, remove one of the bureaus if the room is crowded, and minimize clutter to maximize spaciousness. Aim for a restful, subdued look.

73.  A private bathroom off the master bedroom is a real sales plus. Decorate to coordinate with the color scheme of your bedroom, creating the "suite" effect.

74.  Virtually all buyers are looking for a house with plenty of closet space. Try to make what you have appear generous and well planned. Remove and store all out of season clothing. Remove any items from the floor area. This will make a closet seem more spacious. Arrange all shelves to maximize the use of space.

75.  Make sure all articles in the closet are fresh and clean smelling. When prospective buyers open your closet door, they should be greeted with a whiff of fresh smelling air.

76.  Make sure all closet lights have adequate wattage and are operating. Add battery operated lights to those closets that lack them. Lighted closets look bigger, are more attractive, and
allow buyers to inspect the interiors easily.

77.  Take the time to explain the importance of marketing to your children. Encourage them to participate in preparing your home for showing; particularly the principle of appealing to the widest possible market segment. Ask your children's cooperation in making their beds and picking up their rooms prior to showings. Consider promising a special reward if they willingly participate in your house-selling goals.

78. Box it Up! Most people pack up after they sell the house, but why wait? Sellers should start packing as early as possible.  Ideally before they put the house on the market.

79. Remove any crowded, unusual, or personal wall hangings such as posters and store them until your home is sold.

... We're almost there! ...

Bathrooms:   Wise sellers take special pains with preparing their bathrooms for scrutiny by strangers. The bathroom is a room after all, and a very personal one. Prospects will inspect yours carefully, so be sure it is immaculate. Cleanliness is the key! Make sure that all surfaces are spotless.

80.  Replace worn or dirty shower curtains, clean and repair caulking, and remove non-skid bath decals that are in poor condition.

81.  Clear off counter tops and store all personal care products out of sight.

82.  Repair any faucets that leak or do not function properly. Clean off mineral deposits with vinegar or commercial products.

83.  Clean and organize all cabinets and drawers. Don't forget the medicine cabinet: dispose of old prescriptions, and polish the shelves. The same goes for the storage cabinet under the sink.

84.  Remember to appeal to a wide range of buyers. Play down dominant colors with contrasting neutral colored towels and accessories. If your bathroom is mostly white or neutral, add a few cheerful accents of color: use towels in the popular new shades. Don't hesitate to buy a few new towels and a rug ... you'll be taking them with you to your new home.

85.  Scrub and wax an old floor. Cover the largest area you can with a freshly washed scatter rug.

86.  Decorate and personalize to create a pleasing, individual look. Consider bringing out your best towels and perfumed guest soaps. Add a plant for color and freshness.

87.  A gentle hint of fragrance in the air is fine, but keep it subtle.

Garage

88.  Sweep and wash the floor to remove dirt and stains. Organize tools, garden equipment, bicycles, etc. A clean, organized garage appears larger.

89.  If the area is dark, add more light. If it is small and accommodates only one car, remove your car before buyers visit. An empty garage always looks larger. If you have a two car garage with very little extra room, remove one of your cars so that buyers can make their inspection in comfort.

90.  One last tip, paint the baseboards and trim off-white!  If your home has dated stained-wood trim, simply painting it off-white can bring it up-to-date, but don't forget to use a primer first.    


Important Points to Remember When Showing Your Home!!

-->   Increase your chances. The more people who see your home,
the more likely you are to sell it quickly. Yes, it's inconvenient to show your home at dinner time, but if the people buy your home, isn't it worth it?

-->   There shouldn't be any major housecleaning at this point. The kinds of tasks you ought to be concerned with now are simple ones; making the beds, stuffing last night's dirty pans in the dishwasher, picking up loose newspapers, etc. Even young children can participate by "cleaning" their rooms.

-->   If the season is appropriate, open the windows in each room and let in some fresh air. Stale air isn't appealing, particularly in a home with smokers or pets.

-->   Keep your thermostat at a comfortable setting.

-->   Turn on all the lights for every showing before prospective buyers arrive. This also gives you an opportunity to select the lighting effects you want for each room. No area of your home should be dark.

-->   Turn off the television and turn on light, background music.

-->   Arrange for pets and children to be at a neighbors. Perhaps it's unfair to lump children with pets, but young children can distract buyers from their purpose. Keep pets away from buyers.

-->   Don't try to "sell" the house with words! By this time you have prepared the house for sale ... let it sell itself. Buyers buy on emotion - theirs, not yours! Keep the emotions under control.

-->   "De-personalize" the house as much as possible. Take down any extra family pictures that are hanging on the walls or displayed on the shelves. They will often distract the buyers attention from what is most important... the house!

-->   Most importantly, please leave the home during all showings. It is uncomfortable and difficult for buyers to view the home when owners are present. Oftentimes, they will rush through the home and not give it the proper attention your home deserves. It is also hard for the buyers to "picture themselves" living in the home when the sellers are present.
4
Page Content / Glossary
« Last post by dawn on June 05, 2013, 05:18:46 PM »

GLOSSARY OF MORTGAGE TERMS


Choose a letter to jump:
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



Adjustable Rate -
An interest rate that changes periodically in relation to an index. Payments may increase or decrease accordingly.

Adjustment Date -
The date on which the interest rate changes for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

Adjustment Period -
The period that elapses between the adjustment dates for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

Agency -
The relationship of trust that exists between buyers or sellers and their agents. The agency is formed via a written contract

Amortized Loan -
A repayment method in which the amount you borrow is repaid gradually though regular monthly payments of principal and interest. During the first few years, most of each payment is applied toward the interest owed. During the final years of the loan, payment amounts are applied almost exclusively to the remaining principal.

Annual Membership -
An amount that may be charged annually for having a line of credit available. Often charged regardless of whether or not you use the line. Also referred to as a "participation fee."

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) -
The cost of credit on a yearly basis, expressed as a percentage. Required to be disclosed by the lender under the federal Truth in Lending Act, Regulation Z. Includes up front costs paid to obtain the loan, and is, therefore, usually a higher amount than the interest rate stipulated in the mortgage note. Does not include title insurance, appraisal, and credit report.

Antitrust Laws -
Laws designed to preserve the free enterprise of the open marketplace by making illegal certain private conspiracies and combinations formed to minimize competition.  Most violations of antitrust laws in the real estate business involve either price-fixing (brokers conspiring to set fixed compensation rates) or allocation of customers or markets (broker agreeing to limit their areas of trade or dealing to certain areas or properties).

Application Fee -
Fees that are paid upon application. An application fee may frequently include charges for property appraisal ($200-$400) and a credit report ($30-50).

Application -
An initial statement of personal and financial information which is required to approve your loan.

Appraisal -
An estimate of the quantity, quality or value of something.  The process through which conclusions of property value are obtained; also refers to the report that sets forth the process of estimation and conclusion of value.  Required by most lenders to obtain a loan.

Appraised Value -
A licensed appraiser's opinion of the current market value of a property.

Assessed Value -
A tax assessor's determination of the value of a home in order to calculate a tax base.

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

Appurtenance -
A right, privilege or improvement belonging to, and passing with, the land.

Appurtenant Easement -
An easement that is annexed to the ownership of one parcel and allows the owner the use of the neighbor's land.

Assessment -
The imposition of a tax, charge or levy, usually according to established rates.

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).

Assignment -
The transfer in writing of interest in a bond, mortgage, lease or other instrument.

Assumption Clause -
A provision in an assumable mortgage that allows a buyer to assume responsibility for the mortgage from the seller. The loan does not need to be paid in full by the original borrower upon sale or transfer of the property.

Assumption Fee -
The fee paid to a lender (usually by the purchaser of real property) resulting from the assumption of an existing mortgage.

Assumption of Mortgage -
The agreement of a purchaser to become primarily liable for the payments on a mortgage loan. Unless otherwise specified by the lender, the seller may remain secondarily liable for payments.

Attachment -
The act of taking a person's property into legal custody by writ or other judicial order to hold it available for application to that person's debt to a creditor.

Avulsion -
The sudden tearing away of land, as by earthquake, flood, volcanic action or the sudden change in the course of a stream.


Balloon Mortgage -
A mortgage that has level monthly payments that will amortize it over a stated term but that provides for a lump sum payment to be due at the end of an earlier specified term.

Balloon Payment -
A lump sum payment for the unpaid balance of the loan.

Bankrupt -
A person, firm, or corporation that, through a court proceeding, is relieved from the payment of all debts after the surrender of all assets to a court-appointed trustee.

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

Bargain and Sale Deed -
A deed that carries with it no warranties against liens or other encumbrances but that does imply that the grantor has the right to convey title.  The grantor may add warranties to the deed at this or her discretion.

Base Line -
The main imaginary line running east and west and crossing a pricnipal meridian at a definite point, used by surveyors for reference in locating and describing land under the rectangular (government) survey system of legal description.

Basis Point -
A basis point is 1/100th of a percentage point. For example, a fee calculated as 50 basis points of a loan amount of $100,000 would be 0.50% or $500.

Before-tax Income -
Income before taxes are deducted.

Bench mark -
A permanent reference mark or point established for use by surveyors in measuring differences in elevation.

Beneficiary -
The person designated to receive the income from a trust, estate, or a deed of trust.

Binder -
A preliminary agreement, secured by the payment of an earnest money deposit, under which a buyer offers to purchase real estate.

Biweekly Payment Mortgage -
A mortgage that requires payments to reduce the debt every two weeks (instead of the standard monthly payment schedule). The 26 (or possibly 27) biweekly payments are each equal to one-half of the monthly payment that would be required if the loan were a standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, and they are usually drafted from the borrower's bank account. The result for the borrower is a substantial savings in interest.

Blanket Mortgage -
The mortgage that is secured by a cooperative project, as opposed to the share loans on individual units within the project.

Bond -
An interest-bearing certificate of debt with a maturity date. An obligation of a government or business corporation. A real estate bond is a written obligation usually secured by a mortgage or a deed of trust.

Breach -
A violation of any legal obligation.

Bridge Loan -
A form of second trust that is collateralized by the borrower's present home (which is usually for sale) in a manner that allows the proceeds to be used for closing on a new house before the present home is sold. Also known as "swing loan."

Breezeway -
A roofed passage way with open sides.

Broker -
A person who, for a commission or a fee, brings parties together and assists in negotiating contracts between them.

Buy Down Mortgage -
A temporary buy down is a mortgage on which an initial lump sum payment is made by any party to reduce a borrower's monthly payments during the first few years of a mortgage. A permanent buy down reduces the interest rate over the entire life of a mortgage.


Cap -
The maximum allowable increase, for either payment or interest rate, for a specified amount of time on an adjustable rate mortgage.

Capital Improvement
Any improvement that extends the life or increases the value of a piece of property.

Comparable sales -
Recent sales of similar properties in nearby areas and used to help determine the market value of a property. Also referred to as "comps."

Cash Out -
A refinance transaction in which the amount of money received from the new loan exceeds the total of the money needed to repay the existing first mortgage, closing costs, points, and the amount required to satisfy any outstanding subordinate mortgage liens. In other words, a refinance transaction in which the borrower receives additional cash that can be used for any purpose.

Ceiling -
The maximum allowable interest rate over the life of the loan of an adjustable rate mortgage.

Certificate of Eligibility -
A document issued by the federal government certifying a veteran's eligibility for a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mortgage.

Certificate of Reasonable Value (CRV) -
A document issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that establishes the maximum value and loan amount for a VA mortgage.

Certificate of Title -
A statement provided by an abstract company, title company, or attorney stating that the title to real estate is legally held by the current owner.

Chain of Title -
The history of all of the documents that transfer title to a parcel of real property, starting with the earliest existing document and ending with the most recent.

Change Frequency -
The frequency (in months) of payment and/or interest rate changes in an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

Clear Title -
Real property ownership that is clear of any liens, defects, encumbrances or claims.

Closing Costs -
Any fees paid by the borrowers or sellers during the closing of the mortgage loan. This normally includes an origination fee, discount points, attorney's fees, title insurance, survey, and any items which must be prepaid, such as taxes and insurance escrow payments.

Closing Statement -
A detailed cash accounting of a real estate transaction showing all cash received, all charges and credits made and all cash paid out in the transaction.

Cloud on Title -
Any document, claim, unreleased lien or encumbrance that may impair the title to real property or make the title doubtful; usually revealed by a title search and removed by either a quitclaim deed or suit to quiet title.

Co-maker -
A person who signs a promissory note along with the borrower. A co-maker's signature guarantees that the loan will be repaid, because the borrower and the co-maker are equally responsible for the repayment. See endorser.

Collateral -
An asset (such as a car or a home) that guarantees the repayment of a loan. The borrower risks losing the asset if the loan is not repaid according to the terms of the loan contract.

Collection -
The efforts used to bring a delinquent mortgage current and to file the necessary notices to proceed with foreclosure when necessary.

Combination Loan -
With this type of loan, you receive a first mortgage for 80 percent of the loan amount, and a second mortgage at the same time for the remainder of the balance. If avoiding PMI (mortgage insurance) is important to you, consider combination loans-known as 80/10/10 loans or 80/20's.

Combined loan-to-value (CLTV) -
The unpaid principal balances of all the mortgages on a property (first and second usually) divided by the property's appraised value.

Commission -
The fee charged by a broker or agent for negotiating a real estate or loan transaction. A commission is generally a percentage of the price of the property or loan.

Commitment Letter -
A formal offer by a lender stating the terms under which it agrees to lend money to a home buyer. Also known as a "loan commitment."

Common Areas -
Those portions of a building, land, and amenities owned (or managed) by a planned unit development (PUD) or condominium project's homeowners' association (or a cooperative project's cooperative corporation) that are used by all of the unit owners, who share in the common expenses of their operation and maintenance. Common areas include swimming pools, tennis courts, and other recreational facilities, as well as common corridors of buildings, parking areas, means of ingress and egress, etc.

Comparable Sales -
Comparables help the appraiser determine the approximate fair market value of the subject property. They are properties like the property under consideration; they have reasonably the same size, location  and amenities and have recently been sold. Also referred to as "comps."

Condominium -
A real estate project in which each unit owner has title to a unit in a building, an undivided interest in the common areas of the project, and sometimes the exclusive use of certain limited common areas.

Condominium conversion -
Changing the ownership of an existing building (usually a rental project) to the condominium form of ownership.

Conforming Loan -
Generally, a mortgage loan under $203,150. Qualifying ratios and underwriting methods are standardized to a large degree.

Contingency -
A condition that must be met before a contract is legally binding. For example, home purchasers often include a contingency that specifies that the contract is not binding until the purchaser obtains a satisfactory home inspection report from a qualified home inspector.

Contract -
An oral or written agreement to do or not to do a certain thing.

Contract of Sale -
The agreement between the buyer and seller on the purchase price, terms, and conditions necessary to both parties to convey the title to the buyer.

Conventional mortgage -
A mortgage that is not insured or guaranteed by the federal government.

Convertibility clause -
A provision in some adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) that allows the borrower to change the ARM to a fixed-rate mortgage at specified timeframes after loan origination.

Convertible ARM -
An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that can be converted to a fixed-rate mortgage under specified conditions.

Counter Offer -
A new offer made in response to an offer received.  It has the effect of rejecting the original offer, which cannot be accepted thereafter unless revived by the offeror.

Credit History -
A record of an individual's open and fully repaid debts. A credit history helps a lender to determine whether a potential borrower has a history of repaying debts in a timely manner.

Credit Limit -
The maximum amount that you can borrow under a home equity plan.

Credit Report -
A report of an individual's credit history prepared by a credit bureau and used by a lender in determining a loan applicant's creditworthiness.

Credit -
An agreement in which a borrower receives something of value in exchange for a promise to repay the lender at a later date.


Debt Service -
The total amount of credit card, auto, mortgage or other debt upon which you must pay each month.

Deed -
A written instrument that, when executed and delivered, conveys title to or an interest in real estate.

Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure -
A deed instrument in which a mortgagor (i.e. the borrower) conveys all interest in a real property to the mortgagee (i.e. the lender) to satisfy a loan that is in default and avoid foreclosure proceedings.

Deed of Trust -
Used in many western states, the agreement used to pledge your home or other real estate as security for a loan. Similar to a mortgage.

Default -
Failure to make mortgage payments on a timely basis or to comply with other requirements of a mortgage.

Delinquency -
Failure to make mortgage payments when mortgage payments are due.

Deposit -
A sum of money given to bind the sale of real estate, or a sum of money given to ensure payment or an advance of funds in the processing of a loan.

Depreciation -
A decline in the value of property; the opposite of appreciation.

Discount Points (or Points) -
The amount paid either to maintain or lower the interest rate charged. Each point is equal to one percent (1%) of the loan amount (i.e., two points on a $100,000 mortgage would equal $2,000).

Down Payment -
The difference between the purchase price and that portion of the purchase price being financed. Most lenders require the down payment to be paid from the buyer's own funds. Gifts from related parties are sometimes acceptable, and must be disclosed to the lender.

Dry Rot -
Decay of seasoned wood caused by fungus.

Due on Sale -
A clause in a mortgage agreement providing that, if the mortgagor (the borrower) sells, transfers, or, in some instances, encumbers the property, the mortgagee (the lender) has the right to demand the outstanding balance in full.


Earnest Money Deposit -
A deposit made by the potential home buyer to show that he or she is serious about buying the house.

Easement -
A right of way giving persons other than the owner access to or over a property. Such as to place power lines, pipe lines or roads.

Effective Age -
An appraiser's estimate of the physical condition of a building. The actual age of a building may be shorter or longer than its effective age.

Effective Interest Rate -
The cost of credit on a yearly basis expressed as a percentage. Includes upfront costs paid to obtain the loan, and is, therefore, usually a higher amount than the interest rate stipulated in the mortgage note. Useful in comparing loan programs with different rates and points.

Encumbrance -
A claim against a property by another party which usually affects the ability to transfer ownership of the property.

Energy Star -
A joint program through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that sets energy efficiency guidelines for products, homes and businesses.

Equity -
The difference between the fair market value (appraised value) of your home and your outstanding mortgage balance.

Escrow -
An item of value, money, or documents deposited with a third party to be delivered upon the fulfillment of a condition. For example, the deposit by a borrower with the lender of funds to pay taxes and insurance premiums when they become due, or the deposit of funds or documents with an attorney or escrow agent to be disbursed upon the closing of a sale of real estate.

Escrow account -
The trust account in which escrow funds are held.

Escrow analysis -
The periodic examination of escrow accounts to determine if current monthly deposits will provide sufficient funds to pay taxes, insurance, and other bills when due.

Escrow collections -
Funds collected by the servicer and set aside in an escrow account to pay the borrower's property taxes, mortgage insurance, and hazard insurance.

Escrow disbursements -
The use of escrow funds to pay real estate taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, and other property expenses as they become due.

Escrow payment -
The portion of a mortgagor's monthly payment that is held by the servicer to pay for taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, lease payments, and other items as they become due. Known as "impounds" or "reserves" in some states.


FHA Loan -
More appropriately termed "FHA Insured Loan." A loan for which the Federal Housing Administration insures the lender against losses the lender may incur due to your default.

Fair Credit Reporting Act -
A consumer protection law that regulates the disclosure of consumer credit reports by consumer/credit reporting agencies and establishes procedures for correcting mistakes on one's credit record.

Fair Market Value -
The highest price that a buyer, willing but not compelled to buy, would pay, and the lowest a seller, willing but not compelled to sell, would accept.

Fannie Mae's Community Home Buyer's Program -
An income-based community lending model, under which mortgage insurers and Fannie Mae offer flexible underwriting guidelines to increase a low- or moderate-income family's buying power and to decrease the total amount of cash needed to purchase a home. Borrowers who participate in this model are required to attend pre-purchase home-buyer education sessions.

Fannie Mae -
A congressionally chartered, shareholder-owned company that is the nation's largest supplier of home mortgage funds.

First Mortgage -
A mortgage which is in first lien position, taking priority over all other liens (which are financial encumbrances).

Fixed Rate -
An interest rate which is fixed for the term of the loan. Payments as well are fixed at one amount.

Fixtures -
Those parts of a property affixed to structures or land, usually in such a manner that they cannot be independently moved without damage to themselves or the property housing supporting or pertinent to them. Fixtures are usually included in a sale and commonly include but are not limited to items such as carpets and awnings

Foreclosure -
The legal process by which a borrower in default under a mortgage is deprived of his or her interest in the mortgaged property. This usually involves a forced sale of the property at public auction with the proceeds of the sale being applied to the mortgage debt.

Full Disclosure -
In real estate, revealing all the known facts which may affect the decision of a buyer or tenant. A broker must disclose identified defects in the property for sale or lease.

Fully Amortized ARM -
An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) with a monthly payment that is sufficient to amortize the remaining balance, at the interest accrual rate, over the amortization term.


Ginnie Mae -
Government National Mortgage Association. This is the federal association that works in conjunction with the FHA to offer special assistance in obtaining mortgages and purchases mortgages in the secondary market

Good Faith Estimate -
A written estimate of closing costs which a lender must provide you within three days of submitting an application.

Grace Period -
A period of time during which a loan payment may be paid after its due date but not incur a late penalty. Such late payments may be reported on your credit report.

Grantee -
A person who receives a conveyance of real property from a grantor.

Grantor -
The person transferring title to or an interest in real property to a grantee.

Green building -
Also known as sustainable building or environmental building, this definition varies depending on the agency or group. Generally it means to construct a building to the highest environmental standards by minimizing the use of energy, water and materials. A green building, for example, might have skylights, recycled building materials and solar panels.

Gross Income -
For qualifying purposes, the income of the borrower before taxes or expenses are deducted.


HUD I Settlement Statement a/k/a Closing Statement -
A form utilized at loan closing to itemize the costs associated with purchasing the home. Used universally by mandate of HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Hazard Insurance a/k/a Homeowner's Insurance Policy -
A contract between purchaser and an insurer, to compensate the insured for loss of property due to hazards (fire, hail damage, etc.), for a premium.

Home Equity Line of Credit -
A loan providing you with the ability to borrow funds at the time and in the amount you choose, up to a maximum credit limit for which you have qualified. Repayment is secured by the equity in your home. Simple interest (interest-only payments on the outstanding balance) is usually tax-deductible. Often used for home improvements, major purchases or expenses, and debt consolidation.

Home Equity Loan -
A fixed or adjustable rate loan obtained for a variety of purposes, secured by the equity in your home. Interest paid is usually tax -deductible. Often used for home improvement or freeing of equity for investment in other real estate or investment. Recommended by many to replace or substitute for consumer loans whose interest is not tax-deductible, such as auto or boat loans, credit card debt, medical debt, and education loans.


Index -
A number, usually a percentage, upon which future interest rates for adjustable rate mortgages are based. Common indexes include the Cost of Funds for the Eleventh Federal District of banks or the average rate of a one year Government Treasury Security.

Ingress -
The entry point to a property.

Interest Rate -
The periodic charge, expressed as a percentage, for use of credit.


Jumbo Loan -
Mortgage loans over $203,150. Terms and underwriting requirements may vary from conforming loans.


LIBOR -
London Interbank Offered Rate. It's similar to our fed funds rate, in that it represents the rate at which banks are willing to loan each other reserves. Unlike fed funds, which represents the rate on an overnight loan between banks, LIBOR is quoted for specific maturities. A lot of floating-rate debt is priced off the LIBOR yield curve. It's an international standard for interest rates. LIBOR is quoted as one-month, three- month, six-month and one-year rates.

Leasehold Estate -
This arrangement allows the borrower to possess a property on a long-term lease but the borrower does not own the specific piece of property.

Loan Underwriting -
The decision whether to make a loan to a potential home buyer based on credit, employment, assets and other factors and the matching of this risk to an appropriate rate and term or loan amount.

Loan to Value Ratio (LTV) -
A ratio determined by dividing the sales price or appraised value into the loan amount, expressed as a percentage. For example, with a sales price of $100,000 and a mortgage loan of $80,000, your loan to value ratio would be 80%. Loans with an LTV over 80% may require Private Mortgage Insurance, defined below.

Lock or Lock In -
A commitment you obtain from a lender assuring you a particular interest rate or feature for a definite time period. Provides protection should interest rates rise between the time you apply for a loan, acquire loan approval, and, subsequently, close the loan and receive the funds you have borrowed.


Margin -
An amount, usually a percentage, which is added to the index to determine the interest rate for adjustable rate mortgages.

Maximum Financing -
A property mortgage given by a lender with the lowest permissible down payment.

Minimum Payment -
The minimum amount that you must pay, usually monthly, on a home equity loan or line of credit. In some plans, the minimum payment may be "interest only," (simple interest). In other plans, the minimum payment may include principal and interest (amortized).

MLS (Multiple Listing Service) -
An MLS is an organization that collects, compiles and distributes information about homes listed for sale by its members, who are real estate brokers. MLS's are local or regional.

Mortgage Banker -
Originates mortgage loans, loaning you their funds and closing the loan in their name.

Mortgage Broker -
As do mortgage bankers, takes loan application and processes the necessary paperwork. Unlike a mortgage banker, brokers do not fund the loan with their own money, but work on behalf of several investors, such as mortgage bankers, S and L's, banks, or investment bankers.

Mortgage Insurance (MIP or PMI) -
Insurance purchased by the borrower to insure the lender or the government against loss should you default. MIP, or Mortgage Insurance Premium, is paid on government-insured loans (FHA or VA loans) regardless of your LTV (loan-to-value). Should you pay off a government-insured loan in advance of maturity, you may be entitled to a small refund of MIP. PMI, or Private Mortgage Insurance, is paid on those loans which are not government-insured and whose LTV is greater than 80%. When you have accumulated 20% of your home's value as equity, your lender may waive PMI at your request. Please note that such insurance does not constitute a form of life insurance which pays off the loan in case of death.

Mortgage Loan -
A loan which utilizes real estate as security or collateral to provide for repayment should you default on the terms of your loan. The mortgage or Deed of Trust is your agreement to pledge your home or other real estate as security.

Mortgagee -
The lender in a mortgage loan transaction.

Mortgagor -
The borrower in a mortgage loan transaction.


Negative Amortization -
Amortization in which the payment made is insufficient to fund complete repayment of the loan at its termination. Usually occurs when the increase in the monthly payment is limited by a ceiling. The portion of the payment which should be paid is added to the remaining balance owed. The balance owed may increase, rather than decrease over the life of the loan.


PITI -
Principal, interest, taxes and insurance, which comprise your monthly mortgage payment.

Points -
The amount paid either to maintain or lower the interest rate charged. Each point is equal to one percent (1%) of the loan amount (i.e., two points on a $100,000 mortgage would equal $2,000).

Prepayment Penalty -
A charge imposed by a mortgage lender on a borrower who wants to pay off part or all of a mortgage loan in advance of schedule. A fee paid to the lending institution for paying a loan prior to the scheduled maturity date.

Principal -
Amount of debt, not including interest. The face value of a note or mortgage.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) -
Insurance provided by non-government insurers that protects lenders against loss if a borrower defaults. Fannie Mae generally requires private mortgage insurance for loans with loan-to-value (LTV) percentages greater than 80%.


Qualifying Ratios -
Comparisons of a borrower's debts and gross monthly income.


Right to Rescission -
The legal right to void or cancel your mortgage contract in such a way as to treat the contract as if it never existed. Right of rescission is not applicable to mortgages made to purchase a home, but may be applicable to other mortgages, such as home equity loans.


Security Interest -
An interest that a lender takes in the borrower's property to assure repayment of a debt.

Seller Carry Back -
An agreement in which the owner of a property provides financing, often in combination with an assumed mortgage.

Servicing a Loan -
The on-going process of collecting your monthly mortgage payment, including accounting for and payment of your yearly tax and/or homeowners insurance bills.

Short Sale -
A short sale is a sale of real estate in which the proceeds from selling the property will fall short of the balance of debts secured by liens against the property and the property owner cannot afford to repay the liens full amounts, whereby the lien holders agree to release their lien on the real estate and accept less than the amount owed on the debt. Any unpaid balance owed to the creditors is known as a deficiency.[1] Short sale agreements do not necessarily release borrowers from their obligations to repay any defiencies of the loans, unless specifically agreed to between the parties.

A short sale is often used as an alternative to foreclosure, which mitigates additional fees and costs to both the creditor and borrower. A short sale will often result in a negative credit report against the property owner, however it is less damaging than a foreclosure report.

Specific performance -
A legal action to compel a party to carry out the terms of a contract.

Square Foot Method -
The appraisal method of estimating building costs by multiplying the number of square feet in the improvements being appraised by the cost per square foot for recently constructed similar improvement.

Stated/documented income -
Some loan products require only that applicants "state" the source of their income without providing supporting documentation such as tax returns.

Survey -
A print showing the measurements of the boundaries of a parcel of land, together with the location of all improvements on the land and sometimes its area and topography.


Tenancy In Common -
An ownership which allows two or more people to have undivided interests in a property. There is no right of survivorship as in Joint Tenancy. Upon death of one of the owners, their interest passes to his or her heirs.

Time Is Of The Essence -
A standard statement in a contract which ensures that all dates and times of day noted in the contract are important and cannot be ignored by any of the parties without the consent of the others except in breach of the contract.

Title Defect -
Any possible or patent claim or right outstanding in a chain of title that is adverse to the claim of ownership or a material irregularity in the execution or effect of an instrument in the chain of title.

Title Insurance -
Protection for lenders or homeowners against financial loss resulting from legal defects in the title.

Title -
The written evidence that proves the right of ownership of a specific piece of property.

Total Debt Ratio -
Monthly debt and housing payments divided by gross monthly income. Also known as Obligations-to-Income Ratio or Back-End Ratio.

Transaction Fee -
A fee which may be charged each time you draw on a home equity credit line.

Truth-in-Lending Act -
A federal law requiring a disclosure of credit terms using a standard format. This is intended to facilitate comparisons between the lending terms of different financial institutions.


Underwriting -
The process of verifying data and approving a loan.


VA Loan -
More appropriately termed "VA Insured Loan." A loan for which the Veteran's Administration insures the lender against losses the lender may incur due to your default. Available only to veterans possessing a Certificate of Eligibility.

Variable Rate -
An interest rate that changes periodically in relation to an index. Payments may increase or decrease accordingly.

Variance -
Permission obtained from zoning authorities to build a structure or conduct a use that is expressly prohibited by the current zoning laws; an exception from the zoning ordinances.


Warranty -
An agreement or undertaking by the seller to be responsible for present or future losses of the purchaser occasioned by deficiency or defect in the quality, condition or quantity of the property. This is usually done through an insurance policy that covers a specific area or mechanicals of the property.

Weep Holes -
Spaces or small openings that are left in a masonry wall during construction. Weep holes allow water to drain from behind the wall.


Zoning -
Laws passed by local governments to regulate the size, type, structure, nature and use of land or buildings.
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