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Team Member Volunteer Program
The Wells Fargo Housing Foundation contributes financial support to nonprofit housing organizations when Wells Fargo employees volunteer to help renovate or build a home for a low-income family.
If your organization is planning a building project and would like Wells Fargo to lend a helping hand, contact your local Wells Fargo representative/store and ask them to initiate a project. Application for funding must be made by Wells Fargo volunteers before they can commit to a project. The annual construction/application season runs from the first business day in January through September 30th. Extra funding incentives are tied to projects that use green building criteria or that renovate Real Estate Owned (REO) or abandoned properties, or help military families get their feet back on the ground. For more information, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.
Homeownership Grant Program (Guidelines for Giving)
The Wells Fargo Housing Foundation offers financial support to nonprofit housing organizations that are seeking more than volunteer assistance. We provide support in all communities where Wells Fargo provides products and services.
Support targets nonprofit housing organizations that help low- to moderate-income families own a home. The average grant size is $7,000.
To determine your eligibility for financial support and get details of proposal requirements, please see our Guidelines for Giving, and our Frequently Asked Questions.
Please note that the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation does not fund individuals, religious organizations for religious purposes, political campaigns, or organizations designed primarily for lobbying.
Real Estate Owned (REO) Property Donation Program
The REO Program facilitates the transfer of properties owned by Wells Fargo and investors to nonprofit housing intermediaries that have a history of providing sustainable affordable homeownership or rental opportunities to low- to moderate-income (LMI) people. The program is designed to take properties that have been foreclosed and move them back to the market to help stabilize the local economies. Please refer to the REO Frequently Asked Questions document and for available property listings see the Wells Fargo REO website.
Provide financial resources to local nonprofit housing organizations to create sustainable homeownership opportunities for low-to moderate-income people.
Areas of InterestConstruction/RehabFor the development and pre-development of construction or rehab of owner-occupied homes Education, counseling and preventionFor homebuyer education, pre-and post-purchase counseling and foreclosure prevention SubsidiesFor down payment and closing cost subsidies, interest rate buy downs and other subsidies that assist homebuyers/ homeowners to purchase or retain their homes Home repairsFor essential home repairs, purchases and modifications (e.g. repair or replacement of a furnace or to build a ramp for handicap accessibility)
Legal requirementsThe organization must be tax exempt under Internal Revenue Service Code 501 (c) (3) or the organization must be a government entity. The Housing Foundation does not provide support to IRS 501c3 Private Foundations.
Program RequirementsProject/program must serve owner-occupied low-to moderate-income homebuyers only. Organization must have no current operating deficits. Must have completed at least two consecutive years of operations as of the date of application.
Grant UseThe Housing Foundation provides grants for costs directly associated with the programs or projects specific to its areas of interest (e.g. class materials and instructor salaries). The Housing Foundation does not provide multi-year grants. You must reapply for future consideration.
Due to federal law, Housing Foundation policy and/or budget limitations, the Foundation does not provide grants for: Additionally, your organization may not be eligible for support if you receive funding from a Wells Fargo supported organization (e.g. housing intermediary). To determine your eligibility, please contact your local charitable giving manager.Religious organizations for religious purposes Organizations designed primarily for lobbying Purchase of advertising (including booths and tickets) Fundraising dinners Video or film production Club memberships Political campaigns Endowment campaigns Recreation programs Individuals Capital campaigns
Proposal submission and decision dates
Applicants submitting proposals during the following submission dates will be notified in writing by the adjacent decision date. Incomplete proposals may delay the decision date.
Applicants submitting proposals online will receive an immediate email confirmation that their application has been received. Paper submissions may delay confirmation up to two weeks.
Should the submission period end date fall on a weekend or holiday, the submission period will extend to the next business day after the original submission period end date. This means that the upcoming submission period will start the day after the extended submission period end date. For example, if the submission period ending February 1 falls on a Saturday and Monday is not a holiday, the submission period will end on February 3. The next submission period will start February 4.
Previously funded organizations
If you received grant support in the last two years, please click here for the Non Profit Progress Report. This report must be submitted one year after receiving the grant or your proposal will be declined.
Why do I have to go through an FHA approved lender?
The FHA and HUD do not loan you the money directly. Instead they guarantee your loan with one of their approved lenders which makes it easier to get a home loan because the lender has the assurance from the FHA that in the case you default on the loan they will recapture some of their money.
Where do I find an FHA approved lender?
To find an FHA and HUD approved lender, check out HUD-approved lenders . Submit the information regarding what state and area you live in and you will find a list of lenders in your vicinity.
What types of homes can I purchase through the FHA 203(k) program?
You can use the program to purchase single family homes, up to four unit buildings as long as you live in one of them, and condominiums. There are certain restrictions for condominium repairs that you should consult your FHA approved lender about before purchasing.
Do I have to live in the home I purchase?
Yes. The FHA requires you to occupy the property you purchase.
Can I convert a single-family home into a multi-family home?
Yes. The FHA allows you to use the rehabilitation money from the loan to convert a single-family home into up to a four-unit home. The FHA also allows you to use the loan to move existing homes onto a new site if necessary.
What if the home I want to purchase need torn down and re-built, can I use the FHA 203(k) loan program for this?
Yes under certain circumstances. If you need to tear down the existing home and re-build a new home then you can use the 203(k) loan money as long as you are able to use some of the existing foundation.
Are there certain repairs that are required by the FHA?
Yes. The FHA requires you to meet current building standards for energy efficiency. If you are rehabilitating a home than these standards include:Ventilation in crawl spaces and attics. There must be weather stripping on all windows and doors. All outward facing walls and ceilings of the home must be insulated. The air conditioning, heating, and ventilation pipes and ducts must also be insulated. All cracks and openings from the interior to the exterior of the home must be sealed. Every bedroom must have a smoke detector.
How much can I borrow with an FHA 203(k) loan?
You can borrow up to 110% of the value of the home AFTER the repairs and rehabilitation of the home. The FHA will do a current value appraisal of the home in order to see what it is worth now. Then they will consider all of the rehabilitation you plan to do and do a second appraisal for what the home will be worth after the repairs have been made to the home. If you plan to install solar energy systems as part of your rehabilitation the FHA will insure up to 20% more of your mortgage values which means your lender will loan you more for your repairs and it will be easier to qualify for the loan.
Is there a minimum amount I need to borrow to make home improvements under the 203(k) program?
Yes. The FHA requires you to borrow at least $5,000 for repairs to the home in order to use the 203(k) program.
What improvements are allowed by the FHA?
The FHA requires you to make your home more energy efficient, but optional repairs that you can finance into your loan include:Repair to the structure of the home. This includes framing, chimneys, foundations, siding, new additions to the home, roofing, basement finishing, and more. Repair or the new building of bathrooms. New windows and/or skylights. Remodeling kitchens and new appliances.
ARM: Adjustable Rate Mortgage; a mortgage loan subject to changes in interest rates; when rates change, ARM monthly payments increase or decrease at intervals determined by the lender; the change in monthly payment amount, however, is usually subject to a cap.
Abstract of Title: documents recording the ownership of property throughout time.
Acceleration: the right of the lender to demand payment on the outstanding balance of a loan.
Acceptance: the written approval of the buyer's offer by the seller.
Additional Principal Payment: money paid to the lender in addition to the established payment amount used directly against the loan principal to shorten the length of the loan.
Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM): a mortgage loan that does not have a fixed interest rate. During the life of the loan the interest rate will change based on the index rate. Also referred to as adjustable mortgage loans (AMLs) or variable-rate mortgages (VRMs).
Adjustment Date: the actual date that the interest rate is changed for an ARM.
Adjustment Index: the published market index used to calculate the interest rate of an ARM at the time of origination or adjustment.
Adjustment Interval: the time between the interest rate change and the monthly payment for an ARM. The interval is usually every one, three or five years depending on the index.
Affidavit: a signed, sworn statement made by the buyer or seller regarding the truth of information provided.
Amenity: a feature of the home or property that serves as a benefit to the buyer but that is not necessary to its use; may be natural (like location, woods, water) or man-made (like a swimming pool or garden).
American Society of Home Inspectors: the American Society of Home Inspectors is a professional association of independent home inspectors. Phone: (800) 743-2744
Amortization: a payment plan that enables you to reduce your debt gradually through monthly payments. The payments may be principal and interest, or interest-only. The monthly amount is based on the schedule for the entire term or length of the loan.
Annual Mortgagor Statement: yearly statement to borrowers detailing the remaining principal and amounts paid for taxes and interest.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): a measure of the cost of credit, expressed as a yearly rate. It includes interest as well as other charges. Because all lenders, by federal law, follow the same rules to ensure the accuracy of the annual percentage rate, it provides consumers with a good basis for comparing the cost of loans, including mortgage plans. APR is a higher rate than the simple interest of the mortgage.
Application: the first step in the official loan approval process; this form is used to record important information about the potential borrower necessary to the underwriting process.
Application Fee: a fee charged by lenders to process a loan application.
Appraisal: a document from a professional that gives an estimate of a property's fair market value based on the sales of comparable homes in the area and the features of a property; an appraisal is generally required by a lender before loan approval to ensure that the mortgage loan amount is not more than the value of the property.
Appraisal Fee: fee charged by an appraiser to estimate the market value of a property.
Appraised Value: an estimation of the current market value of a property.
Appraiser: a qualified individual who uses his or her experience and knowledge to prepare the appraisal estimate.
Appreciation: an increase in property value.
Arbitration: a legal method of resolving a dispute without going to court.
As-is Condition: the purchase or sale of a property in its existing condition without repairs.
Asking Price: a seller's stated price for a property.
Assessed Value: the value that a public official has placed on any asset (used to determine taxes).
Assessments: the method of placing value on an asset for taxation purposes.
Assessor: a government official who is responsible for determining the value of a property for the purpose of taxation.
Assets: any item with measurable value.
Assumable Mortgage: when a home is sold, the seller may be able to transfer the mortgage to the new buyer. This means the mortgage is assumable. Lenders generally require a credit review of the new borrower and may charge a fee for the assumption. Some mortgages contain a due-on-sale clause, which means that the mortgage may not be transferable to a new buyer. Instead, the lender may make you pay the entire balance that is due when you sell the home. An assumable mortgage can help you attract buyers if you sell your home.
Assumption Clause: a provision in the terms of a loan that allows the buyer to take legal responsibility for the mortgage from the seller.
Automated Underwriting: loan processing completed through a computer-based system that evaluates past credit history to determine if a loan should be approved. This system removes the possibility of personal bias against the buyer.
Average Price: determining the cost of a home by totaling the cost of all houses sold in one area and dividing by the number of homes sold.
"B" Loan or "B" Paper: FICO scores from 620 - 659. Factors include two 30 day late mortgage payments and two to three 30 day late installment loan payments in the last 12 months. No delinquencies over 60 days are allowed. Should be two to four years since a bankruptcy. Also referred to as Sub-Prime.
Back End Ratio (debt ratio): a ratio that compares the total of all monthly debt payments (mortgage, real estate taxes and insurance, car loans, and other consumer loans) to gross monthly income.
Back to Back Escrow: arrangements that an owner makes to oversee the sale of one property and the purchase of another at the same time.
Balance Sheet: a financial statement that shows the assets, liabilities and net worth of an individual or company.
Balloon Loan or Mortgage: a mortgage that typically offers low rates for an initial period of time (usually 5, 7, or 10) years; after that time period elapses, the balance is due or is refinanced by the borrower.
Balloon Payment: the final lump sum payment due at the end of a balloon mortgage.
Bankruptcy: a federal law whereby a person's assets are turned over to a trustee and used to pay off outstanding debts; this usually occurs when someone owes more than they have the ability to repay.
Biweekly Payment Mortgage: a mortgage paid twice a month instead of once a month, reducing the amount of interest to be paid on the loan.
Borrower: a person who has been approved to receive a loan and is then obligated to repay it and any additional fees according to the loan terms.
Bridge Loan: a short-term loan paid back relatively fast. Normally used until a long-term loan can be processed.
Broker: a licensed individual or firm that charges a fee to serve as the mediator between the buyer and seller. Mortgage brokers are individuals in the business of arranging funding or negotiating contracts for a client, but who does not loan the money. A real estate broker is someone who helps find a house.
Building Code: based on agreed upon safety standards within a specific area, a building code is a regulation that determines the design, construction, and materials used in building.
Budget: a detailed record of all income earned and spent during a specific period of time.
Buy Down: the seller pays an amount to the lender so the lender provides a lower rate and lower payments many times for an ARM. The seller may increase the sales price to cover the cost of the buy down.
"C" Loan or "C" Paper: FICO scores typically from 580 to 619. Factors include three to four 30 day late mortgage payments and four to six 30 day late installment loan payments or two to four 60 day late payments. Should be one to two years since bankruptcy. Also referred to as Sub - Prime.
Callable Debt: a debt security whose issuer has the right to redeem the security at a specified price on or after a specified date, but prior to its stated final maturity.
Cap: a limit, such as one placed on an adjustable rate mortgage, on how much a monthly payment or interest rate can increase or decrease, either at each adjustment period or during the life of the mortgage. Payment caps do not limit the amount of interest the lender is earning, so they may cause negative amortization.
Capacity: The ability to make mortgage payments on time, dependant on assets and the amount of income each month after paying housing costs, debts and other obligations.
Capital Gain: the profit received based on the difference of the original purchase price and the total sale price.
Capital Improvements: property improvements that either will enhance the property value or will increase the useful life of the property.
Capital or Cash Reserves: an individual's savings, investments, or assets.
Cash-Out Refinance: when a borrower refinances a mortgage at a higher principal amount to get additional money. Usually this occurs when the property has appreciated in value. For example, if a home has a current value of $100,000 and an outstanding mortgage of $60,000, the owner could refinance $80,000 and have additional $20,000 in cash.
Cash Reserves: a cash amount sometimes required of the buyer to be held in reserve in addition to the down payment and closing costs; the amount is determined by the lender.
Casualty Protection: property insurance that covers any damage to the home and personal property either inside or outside the home.
Certificate of Title: a document provided by a qualified source, such as a title company, that shows the property legally belongs to the current owner; before the title is transferred at closing, it should be clear and free of all liens or other claims.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: a bankruptcy that requires assets be liquidated in exchange for the cancellation of debt.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: this type of bankruptcy sets a payment plan between the borrower and the creditor monitored by the court. The homeowner can keep the property, but must make payments according to the court's terms within a 3 to 5 year period.
Charge-Off: the portion of principal and interest due on a loan that is written off when deemed to be uncollectible.
Clear Title: a property title that has no defects. Properties with clear titles are marketable for sale.
Closing: the final step in property purchase where the title is transferred from the seller to the buyer. Closing occurs at a meeting between the buyer, seller, settlement agent, and other agents. At the closing the seller receives payment for the property. Also known as settlement.
Closing Costs: fees for final property transfer not included in the price of the property. Typical closing costs include charges for the mortgage loan such as origination fees, discount points, appraisal fee, survey, title insurance, legal fees, real estate professional fees, prepayment of taxes and insurance, and real estate transfer taxes. A common estimate of a Buyer's closing costs is 2 to 4 percent of the purchase price of the home. A common estimate for Seller's closing costs is 3 to 9 percent.
Cloud On The Title: any condition which affects the clear title to real property.
Co-Borrower: an additional person that is responsible for loan repayment and is listed on the title.
Co-Signed Account: an account signed by someone in addition to the primary borrower, making both people responsible for the amount borrowed.
Co-Signer: a person that signs a credit application with another person, agreeing to be equally responsible for the repayment of the loan.
Collateral: security in the form of money or property pledged for the payment of a loan. For example, on a home loan, the home is the collateral and can be taken away from the borrower if mortgage payments are not made.
Collection Account: an unpaid debt referred to a collection agency to collect on the bad debt. This type of account is reported to the credit bureau and will show on the borrower's credit report.
Commission: an amount, usually a percentage of the property sales price that is collected by a real estate professional as a fee for negotiating the transaction. Traditionally the home seller pays the commission. The amount of commission is determined by the real estate professional and the seller and can be as much as 6% of the sales price.
Common Stock: a security that provides voting rights in a corporation and pays a dividend after preferred stock holders have been paid. This is the most common stock held within a company.
Comparative Market Analysis (COMPS): a property evaluation that determines property value by comparing similar properties sold within the last year.
Compensating Factors: factors that show the ability to repay a loan based on less traditional criteria, such as employment, rent, and utility payment history.
Condominium: a form of ownership in which individuals purchase and own a unit of housing in a multi-unit complex. The owner also shares financial responsibility for common areas.
Conforming loan: is a loan that does not exceed Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's loan limits. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loans are referred to as conforming loans.
Consideration: an item of value given in exchange for a promise or act.
Construction Loan: a short-term, to finance the cost of building a new home. The lender pays the builder based on milestones accomplished during the building process. For example, once a sub-contractor pours the foundation and it is approved by inspectors the lender will pay for their service.
Contingency: a clause in a purchase contract outlining conditions that must be fulfilled before the contract is executed. Both, buyer or seller may include contingencies in a contract, but both parties must accept the contingency.
Conventional Loan: a private sector loan, one that is not guaranteed or insured by the U.S. government.
Conversion Clause: a provision in some ARMs allowing it to change to a fixed-rate loan at some point during the term. Usually conversions are allowed at the end of the first adjustment period. At the time of the conversion, the new fixed rate is generally set at one of the rates then prevailing for fixed rate mortgages. There may be additional cost for this clause.
Convertible ARM: an adjustable-rate mortgage that provides the borrower the ability to convert to a fixed-rate within a specified time.
Cooperative (Co-op): residents purchase stock in a cooperative corporation that owns a structure; each stockholder is then entitled to live in a specific unit of the structure and is responsible for paying a portion of the loan.
Cost of Funds Index (COFI): an index used to determine interest rate changes for some adjustable-rate mortgages.
Counter Offer: a rejection to all or part of a purchase offer that negotiates different terms to reach an acceptable sales contract.
Covenants: legally enforceable terms that govern the use of property. These terms are transferred with the property deed. Discriminatory covenants are illegal and unenforceable. Also known as a condition, restriction, deed restriction or restrictive covenant.
Credit: an agreement that a person will borrow money and repay it to the lender over time.
Credit Bureau: an agency that provides financial information and payment history to lenders about potential borrowers. Also known as a National Credit Repository.
Credit Counseling: education on how to improve bad credit and how to avoid having more debt than can be repaid.
Credit Enhancement: a method used by a lender to reduce default of a loan by requiring collateral, mortgage insurance, or other agreements.
Credit Grantor: the lender that provides a loan or credit.
Credit History: a record of an individual that lists all debts and the payment history for each. The report that is generated from the history is called a credit report. Lenders use this information to gauge a potential borrower's ability to repay a loan.
Credit Loss Ratio: the ratio of credit-related losses to the dollar amount of MBS outstanding and total mortgages owned by the corporation.
Credit Related Expenses: foreclosed property expenses plus the provision for losses.
Credit Related Losses: foreclosed property expenses combined with charge-offs.
Credit Repair Companies: Private, for-profit businesses that claim to offer consumers credit and debt repayment difficulties assistance with their credit problems and a bad credit report.
Credit Report: a report generated by the credit bureau that contains the borrower's credit history for the past seven years. Lenders use this information to determine if a loan will be granted.
Credit Risk: a term used to describe the possibility of default on a loan by a borrower.
Credit Score: a score calculated by using a person's credit report to determine the likelihood of a loan being repaid on time. Scores range from about 360 - 840: a lower score meaning a person is a higher risk, while a higher score means that there is less risk.
Credit Union: a non-profit financial institution federally regulated and owned by the members or people who use their services. Credit unions serve groups that hold a common interest and you have to become a member to use the available services.
Creditor: the lending institution providing a loan or credit.
Creditworthiness: the way a lender measures the ability of a person to qualify and repay a loan.
Debtor: The person or entity that borrows money. The term debtor may be used interchangeably with the term borrower.
Debt-to-Income Ratio: a comparison or ratio of gross income to housing and non-housing expenses; With the FHA, the-monthly mortgage payment should be no more than 29% of monthly gross income (before taxes) and the mortgage payment combined with non-housing debts should not exceed 41% of income.
Debt Security: a security that represents a loan from an investor to an issuer. The issuer in turn agrees to pay interest in addition to the principal amount borrowed.
Deductible: the amount of cash payment that is made by the insured (the homeowner) to cover a portion of a damage or loss. Sometimes also called "out-of-pocket expenses." For example, out of a total damage claim of $1,000, the homeowner might pay a $250 deductible toward the loss, while the insurance company pays $750 toward the loss. Typically, the higher the deductible, the lower the cost of the policy.
Deed: a document that legally transfers ownership of property from one person to another. The deed is recorded on public record with the property description and the owner's signature. Also known as the title.
Deed-in-Lieu: to avoid foreclosure ("in lieu" of foreclosure), a deed is given to the lender to fulfill the obligation to repay the debt; this process does not allow the borrower to remain in the house but helps avoid the costs, time, and effort associated with foreclosure.
Default: the inability to make timely monthly mortgage payments or otherwise comply with mortgage terms. A loan is considered in default when payment has not been paid after 60 to 90 days. Once in default the lender can exercise legal rights defined in the contract to begin foreclosure proceedings
Delinquency: failure of a borrower to make timely mortgage payments under a loan agreement. Generally after fifteen days a late fee may be assessed.
Deposit (Earnest Money): money put down by a potential buyer to show that they are serious about purchasing the home; it becomes part of the down payment if the offer is accepted, is returned if the offer is rejected, or is forfeited if the buyer pulls out of the deal. During the contingency period the money may be returned to the buyer if the contingencies are not met to the buyer's satisfaction.
Depreciation: a decrease in the value or price of a property due to changes in market conditions, wear and tear on the property, or other factors.
Derivative: a contract between two or more parties where the security is dependent on the price of another investment.
Disclosures: the release of relevant information about a property that may influence the final sale, especially if it represents defects or problems. "Full disclosure" usually refers to the responsibility of the seller to voluntarily provide all known information about the property. Some disclosures may be required by law, such as the federal requirement to warn of potential lead-based paint hazards in pre-1978 housing. A seller found to have knowingly lied about a defect may face legal penalties.
Discount Point: normally paid at closing and generally calculated to be equivalent to 1% of the total loan amount, discount points are paid to reduce the interest rate on a loan. In an ARM with an initial rate discount, the lender gives up a number of percentage points in interest to give you a lower rate and lower payments for part of the mortgage term (usually for one year or less). After the discount period, the ARM rate will probably go up depending on the index rate.
Down Payment: the portion of a home's purchase price that is paid in cash and is not part of the mortgage loan. This amount varies based on the loan type, but is determined by taking the difference of the sale price and the actual mortgage loan amount. Mortgage insurance is required when a down payment less than 20 percent is made.
Document Recording: after closing on a loan, certain documents are filed and made public record. Discharges for the prior mortgage holder are filed first. Then the deed is filed with the new owner's and mortgage company's names.
Due on Sale Clause: a provision of a loan allowing the lender to demand full repayment of the loan if the property is sold.
Duration: the number of years it will take to receive the present value of all future payments on a security to include both principal and interest.
Earnest Money (Deposit): money put down by a potential buyer to show that they are serious about purchasing the home; it becomes part of the down payment if the offer is accepted, is returned if the offer is rejected, or is forfeited if the buyer pulls out of the deal. During the contingency period the money may be returned to the buyer if the contingencies are not met to the buyer's satisfaction.
Earnings Per Share (EPS): a corporation's profit that is divided among each share of common stock. It is determined by taking the net earnings divided by the number of outstanding common stocks held. This is a way that a company reports profitability.
Easements: the legal rights that give someone other than the owner access to use property for a specific purpose. Easements may affect property values and are sometimes a part of the deed.
EEM: Energy Efficient Mortgage; an FHA program that helps homebuyers save money on utility bills by enabling them to finance the cost of adding energy efficiency features to a new or existing home as part of the home purchase
Eminent Domain: when a government takes private property for public use. The owner receives payment for its fair market value. The property can then proceed to condemnation proceedings.
Encroachments: a structure that extends over the legal property line on to another individual's property. The property surveyor will note any encroachment on the lot survey done before property transfer. The person who owns the structure will be asked to remove it to prevent future problems.
Encumbrance: anything that affects title to a property, such as loans, leases, easements, or restrictions.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA): a federal law requiring lenders to make credit available equally without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, or receipt of income from public assistance programs.
Equity: an owner's financial interest in a property; calculated by subtracting the amount still owed on the mortgage loon(s)from the fair market value of the property.
Escape Clause: a provision in a purchase contract that allows either party to cancel part or the entire contract if the other does not respond to changes to the sale within a set period. The most common use of the escape clause is if the buyer makes the purchase offer contingent on the sale of another house.
Escrow: funds held in an account to be used by the lender to pay for home insurance and property taxes. The funds may also be held by a third party until contractual conditions are met and then paid out.
Escrow Account: a separate account into which the lender puts a portion of each monthly mortgage payment; an escrow account provides the funds needed for such expenses as property taxes, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, etc.
Estate: the ownership interest of a person in real property. The sum total of all property, real and personal, owned by a person.
Exclusive Listing: a written contract giving a real estate agent the exclusive right to sell a property for a specific timeframe.
FICO Score: FICO is an abbreviation for Fair Isaac Corporation and refers to a person's credit score based on credit history. Lenders and credit card companies use the number to decide if the person is likely to pay his or her bills. A credit score is evaluated using information from the three major credit bureaus and is usually between 300 and 850.
FSBO (For Sale by Owner): a home that is offered for sale by the owner without the benefit of a real estate professional.
Fair Credit Reporting Act: federal act to ensure that credit bureaus are fair and accurate protecting the individual's privacy rights enacted in 1971 and revised in October 1997.
Fair Housing Act: a law that prohibits discrimination in all facets of the home buying process on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.
Fair Market Value: : the hypothetical price that a willing buyer and seller will agree upon when they are acting freely, carefully, and with complete knowledge of the situation.
Familial Status: HUD uses this term to describe a single person, a pregnant woman or a household with children under 18 living with parents or legal custodians who might experience housing discrimination.
Fannie Mae: Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA); a federally-chartered enterprise owned by private stockholders that purchases residential mortgages and converts them into securities for sale to investors; by purchasing mortgages, Fannie Mae supplies funds that lenders may loan to potential homebuyers. Also known as a Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE).
FHA: Federal Housing Administration; established in 1934 to advance homeownership opportunities for all Americans; assists homebuyers by providing mortgage insurance to lenders to cover most losses that may occur when a borrower defaults; this encourages lenders to make loans to borrowers who might not qualify for conventional mortgages.
First Mortgage: the mortgage with first priority if the loan is not paid.
Fixed Expenses: payments that do not vary from month to month.
Fixed-Rate Mortgage: a mortgage with payments that remain the same throughout the life of the loan because the interest rate and other terms are fixed and do not change.
Fixture: personal property permanently attached to real estate or real property that becomes a part of the real estate.
Float: the act of allowing an interest rate and discount points to fluctuate with changes in the market.
Flood Insurance: insurance that protects homeowners against losses from a flood; if a home is located in a flood plain, the lender will require flood insurance before approving a loan.
Forbearance: a lender may decide not to take legal action when a borrower is late in making a payment. Usually this occurs when a borrower sets up a plan that both sides agree will bring overdue mortgage payments up to date.
Foreclosure: a legal process in which mortgaged property is sold to pay the loan of the defaulting borrower. Foreclosure laws are based on the statutes of each state.
Freddie Mac: Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLM); a federally chartered corporation that purchases residential mortgages, securitizes them, and sells them to investors; this provides lenders with funds for new homebuyers. Also known as a Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE).
Front End Ratio: a percentage comparing a borrower's total monthly cost to buy a house (mortgage principal and interest, insurance, and real estate taxes) to monthly income before deductions.
GSE: abbreviation for government sponsored enterprises: a collection of financial services corporations formed by the United States Congress to reduce interest rates for farmers and homeowners. Examples include Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Ginnie Mae: Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA); a government-owned corporation overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ginnie Mae pools FHA-insured and VA-guaranteed loans to back securities for private investment; as With Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the investment income provides funding that may then be lent to eligible borrowers by lenders.
Global Debt Facility: designed to allow investors all over the world to purchase debt (loans) of U.S. dollar and foreign currency through a variety of clearing systems.
Good Faith Estimate: an estimate of all closing fees including pre-paid and escrow items as well as lender charges; must be given to the borrower within three days after submission of a loan application.
Graduated Payment Mortgages: mortgages that begin with lower monthly payments that get slowly larger over a period of years, eventually reaching a fixed level and remaining there for the life of the loan. Graduated payment loans may be good if you expect your annual income to increase.
Grantee: an individual to whom an interest in real property is conveyed.
Grantor: an individual conveying an interest in real property.
Gross Income: money earned before taxes and other deductions. Sometimes it may include income from self-employment, rental property, alimony, child support, public assistance payments, and retirement benefits.
Guaranty Fee: payment to FannieMae from a lender for the assurance of timely principal and interest payments to MBS (Mortgage Backed Security) security holders.
HECM (Reverse Mortgage): the reverse mortgage is used by senior homeowners age 62 and older to convert the equity in their home into monthly streams of income and/or a line of credit to be repaid when they no longer occupy the home. A lending institution such as a mortgage lender, bank, credit union or savings and loan association funds the FHA insured loan, commonly known as HECM.
Hazard Insurance: protection against a specific loss, such as fire, wind etc., over a period of time that is secured by the payment of a regularly scheduled premium.
HELP: Homebuyer Education Learning Program; an educational program from the FHA that counsels people about the home buying process; HELP covers topics like budgeting, finding a home, getting a loan, and home maintenance; in most cases, completion of the program may entitle the homebuyer to a reduced initial FHA mortgage insurance premium-from 2.25% to 1.75% of the home purchase price.
Home Equity Line of Credit: a mortgage loan, usually in second mortgage, allowing a borrower to obtain cash against the equity of a home, up to a predetermined amount.
Home Equity Loan: a loan backed by the value of a home (real estate). If the borrower defaults or does not pay the loan, the lender has some rights to the property. The borrower can usually claim a home equity loan as a tax deduction.
Home Inspection: an examination of the structure and mechanical systems to determine a home's quality, soundness and safety; makes the potential homebuyer aware of any repairs that may be needed. The homebuyer generally pays inspection fees.
Home Warranty: offers protection for mechanical systems and attached appliances against unexpected repairs not covered by homeowner's insurance; coverage extends over a specific time period and does not cover the home's structure.
Homeowner's Insurance: an insurance policy, also called hazard insurance, that combines protection against damage to a dwelling and its contents including fire, storms or other damages with protection against claims of negligence or inappropriate action that result in someone's injury or property damage. Most lenders require homeowners insurance and may escrow the cost. Flood insurance is generally not included in standard policies and must be purchased separately.
Homeownership Education Classes: classes that stress the need to develop a strong credit history and offer information about how to get a mortgage approved, qualify for a loan, choose an affordable home, go through financing and closing processes, and avoid mortgage problems that cause people to lose their homes.
Homestead Credit: property tax credit program, offered by some state governments, that provides reductions in property taxes to eligible households.
Housing Counseling Agency: provides counseling and assistance to individuals on a variety of issues, including loan default, fair housing, and home buying.
HUD: the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; established in 1965, HUD works to create a decent home and suitable living environment for all Americans; it does this by addressing housing needs, improving and developing American communities, and enforcing fair housing laws.
HUD1 Statement: also known as the "settlement sheet," or "closing statement" it itemizes all closing costs; must be given to the borrower at or before closing. Items that appear on the statement include real estate commissions, loan fees, points, and escrow amounts.
HVAC: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning; a home's heating and cooling system.
Indemnification: to secure against any loss or damage, compensate or give security for reimbursement for loss or damage incurred. A homeowner should negotiate for inclusion of an indemnification provision in a contract with a general contractor or for a separate indemnity agreement protecting the homeowner from harm, loss or damage caused by actions or omissions of the general (and all sub) contractor.
Index: the measure of interest rate changes that the lender uses to decide how much the interest rate of an ARM will change over time. No one can be sure when an index rate will go up or down. If a lender bases interest rate adjustments on the average value of an index over time, your interest rate would not be as volatile. You should ask your lender how the index for any ARM you are considering has changed in recent years, and where it is reported.
Inflation: the number of dollars in circulation exceeds the amount of goods and services available for purchase; inflation results in a decrease in the dollar's value.
Inflation Coverage: endorsement to a homeowner's policy that automatically adjusts the amount of insurance to compensate for inflationary rises in the home's value. This type of coverage does not adjust for increases in the home's value due to improvements.
Inquiry: a credit report request. Each time a credit application is completed or more credit is requested counts as an inquiry. A large number of inquiries on a credit report can sometimes make a credit score lower.
Interest: a fee charged for the use of borrowing money.
Interest Rate: the amount of interest charged on a monthly loan payment, expressed as a percentage.
Interest Rate Swap: a transaction between two parties where each agrees to exchange payments tied to different interest rates for a specified period of time, generally based on a notional principal amount.
Intermediate Term Mortgage: a mortgage loan with a contractual maturity from the time of purchase equal to or less than 20 years.
Insurance: protection against a specific loss, such as fire, wind etc., over a period of time that is secured by the payment of a regularly scheduled premium.
Joint Tenancy (with Rights of Survivorship): two or more owners share equal ownership and rights to the property. If a joint owner dies, his or her share of the property passes to the other owners, without probate. In joint tenancy, ownership of the property cannot be willed to someone who is not a joint owner.
Judgment: a legal decision; when requiring debt repayment, a judgment may include a property lien that secures the creditor's claim by providing a collateral source.
Jumbo Loan: or non-conforming loan, is a loan that exceeds Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's loan limits. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loans are referred to as conforming loans.K
Late Payment Charges: the penalty the homeowner must pay when a mortgage payment is made after the due date grace period.
Lease: a written agreement between a property owner and a tenant (resident) that stipulates the payment and conditions under which the tenant may occupy a home or apartment and states a specified period of time.
Lease Purchase (Lease Option): assists low to moderate income homebuyers in purchasing a home by allowing them to lease a home with an option to buy; the rent payment is made up of the monthly rental payment plus an additional amount that is credited to an account for use as a down payment.
Lender: A term referring to an person or company that makes loans for real estate purchases. Sometimes referred to as a loan officer or lender.
Lender Option Commitments: an agreement giving a lender the option to deliver loans or securities by a certain date at agreed upon terms.