Mortgage Dictionary

  • Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)

    A mortgage whose interest rate changes periodically based on the changes in a specified 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).

  • Amortization

    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).

  • Application

    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.

  • Appraisal

    A written analysis of the estimated value of a property prepared by a qualified appraiser.

  • Appraiser 

    A person qualified by education, training, and experience to estimate the value of real property and personal property.

  • Appreciation

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

  • 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 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.

  • Assumption

    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.