Real Estate Knowledge Base

Educational resources to help you learn about real estate.
  • Acceleration clause

    A provision in a mortgage that gives the lender the right to demand payment of the entire principal balance if a monthly payment is missed.

  • Acceptance

    An offeree's consent to enter into a contract and be bound by the terms of the offer.

  • Additional principal payment

    A payment by a borrower of more than the scheduled principal amount due in order to reduce the remaining balance on the loan.

  • Adjustable-rate mortgage

    A mortgage that permits the lender to adjust the mortgage's interest rate periodically on the basis of changes in a specified index. Interest rates may move up or down, as market conditions change.

  • Adjusted basis

    The original cost of a property plus the value of any capital expenditures for improvements to the property minus any depreciation taken.

  • 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).

  • Administrator

    A person appointed by a probate court to administer the estate of a person who died intestate.

  • Affordability analysis

    A detailed analysis of your ability to afford the purchase of a home. An affordability analysis takes into consideration your income, liabilities, and available funds, along with the type of mortgage you plan to use, the area where you want to purchase a home, and the closing costs that you might expect to pay.

  • Amenity

    A feature of real property that enhances its attractiveness and increases the occupant's or user's satisfaction although the feature is not essential to the property's use. Natural amenities include a pleasant or desirable location near water, scenic views of the surrounding area, etc. Human-made amenities include swimming pools, tennis courts, community buildings, and other recreational facilities.

  • Amortization

    The gradual repayment of a mortgage loan by installments.

  • Amortization schedule

    A timetable for payment of a mortgage 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.

  • Amortization term

    The amount of time required to amortize the mortgage loan. The amortization term is expressed as a number of months. For example, for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the amortization term is 360 months.

  • Amortize

    To repay a mortgage with regular payments that cover both principal and interest.

  • Annual mortgage statement

    A report sent to the mortgagor (the borrower) each year. The report shows how much was paid in taxes and interest during the year, as well as the remaining mortgage loan balance at the end of the year.

  • Annual percentage rate (APR)

    The cost of a mortgage stated as a yearly rate; includes such items as interest, mortgage insurance, and loan origination fee (points).

  • Annuity

    An amount paid yearly or at other regular intervals, often on a guaranteed dollar basis.

  • Application

    A form used to apply for a mortgage loan and to record pertinent information concerning a prospective mortgagor and the proposed security. Lenders use the information on the loan application to evaluate whether or not they can give the loan, and if so, the amount of money they can lend.

  • Appraisal

    A written analysis of the estimated value of a property prepared by a qualified appraiser. Contrast with home inspection.

  • Appraised value

    An opinion of a property's fair market value, based on an appraiser's knowledge, experience, and analysis of the property.

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