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abstract of title
The condensed history of a title to a particular parcel of real estate, consisting of a summary of the original grant and all subsequent conveyances and encumbrances affecting the property and a certification by the abstractor that the history is complete and accurate.
acceleration clause
The clause in a mortgage or deed of trust that can be enforced to make the entire debt due immediately if the borrower defaults on an installment payment or other covenant.
adjustable-rate mortage (ARM)
A mortgage loan characterized by a fluctuating interest rate, usually one tied to a bank or savings and loan association cost-of-funds index.
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).
ad valorem tax
A tax levied according to value, generally used to refer to real estate tax.  Also called the general tax.
American Land Title Association (ALTA) policy
A title insurance policy that protects the interest in a collateral property of a mortgage lender who originates a new real estate loan.
The repayment of a mortgage loan by installments with regular payments to cover the principal and interest.
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.
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).
A form, commonly referred to as a 1003 form, used to apply for a mortgage and to provide information regarding a prospective mortgagor and the proposed security.
An estimate of the quantity, quality, or value of something.  The process through which conclusions of property value are obtained; also refers to the written report that sets forth the process of estimation and conclusion of value prepared by a qualified appraiser.
A person qualified by education, training, and experience to estimate the value of real property and personal property.
An increase in the worth or value of a property due to economic or related causes or changes in market conditions or other causes; which may prove to be either temporary or permanent.  The opposite of depreciation.
The imposition of a tax, charge, or levy, usually according to established rates.
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.)
The transfer of a mortgage from one person to another.
assumable mortgage
A mortgage that can be taken over ("assumed") by the buyer when a home is sold.
The transfer of the seller's existing mortgage to the buyer.
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.