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Real Estate Glossary "A"

Acceptance - A buyer's or seller's agreement to enter into a contract and be bound by the terms of the offer.

Additional Principal Payment - A payment made by a borrower of more than the scheduled principal amount due, in order to reduce the outstanding balance on the loan, to save on interest over the life of the loan and/or pay off the loan early.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) - stands for Adjustable Rate Mortgage, also referred to as a Variable Rate Mortgage. They both mean the same thing. An ARM is a mortgage with an interest rate that adjusts periodically to reflect changes in market conditions. Your mortgage payments are adjusted up or down (usually on an annual basis) as the interest rate changes. To protect you in a rising interest market, rate increases are limited (usually 2 percentage points annually; 6 percentage points over the life of the loan).

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, etc. Man-made amenities include swimming pools, tennis courts, community buildings, and other recreational facilities.

Amortization - The gradual repayment of a home loan by periodic installments.

Amortization Schedule - A timetable for payment of a home loan. An amortization schedule shows the amount of each payment applied to interest and principal and the remaining balance after each payment is made.

Amortization Term (period) - The amount of time it takes to pay off the loan. The amortization term is expressed as a number of months. For example, for a 30 year fixed rate loan, the amortization term is 360 months.

Amortize - To repay a loan with regular payments that cover both principal and interest.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) - stands for Annual Percentage Rate. This refers to the interest rate that reflects the actual cost of a mortgage as a yearly rate. Because APR includes points and other costs associated with the mortgage, it's usually higher than the advertised simple interest rate. The APR more accurately reflects what you'll be paying and allows you to compare different mortgages based on actual costs.

Application (or 1003) - A form to be completed by a home loan applicant with the lender's assistance to provide pertinent information about a prospective borrower's employment, income, assets, debts and other financial information, about the purpose of the home loan, and about the property securing the home loan. Lenders also sometimes call it a 1003-the form number of Fannie Mae's standard application form.

Application Fee - A fee usually paid at the time an application is given to a lender for helping to complete and review an application. Some lenders collect fees for a property appraisal and a credit report, instead of an application fee, at the time of application.

Appraisal - An estimate of the value of a home, made by a professional appraiser. The maximum amount of the mortgage is usually based on the appraisal.

Appraised Value - The dollar figure for a property's estimated fair market value, based on an appraiser's knowledge, experience, and analysis of the property and comparable properties near by.

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

Appreciation - An increase in the value of a property due to changes in market conditions or other causes. Inflation, increased demand, home improvement, and sweat equity are all causes of appreciation. The opposite of depreciation.

Assessed Value - The value used to determine property taxes, based on a public tax assessor's opinion. Contrast with appraised value.

Assessment - The amount of tax due to local government. May also refer to the amount due to local government or to common owners of a property (e.g., a homeowner's association) for a special payment to cover expenses for improvements or maintenance, such as new sewers or roads.

Assessment Rolls - A public record of the assessed value of property in the taxing jurisdiction.

Assessor - A public official who establishes the value of a property for taxation purposes.

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).

Assumable Loan - A home loan that allows a new purchaser of the home to take over ("assume") the loan obligations of the seller when a home is sold.

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

Assumption Fee - The fee paid to a lender (usually by the buyer) for the lender's agreement to start collecting payment from the buyer instead of the original borrower (seller).
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