Uncommon Mortgage Terms You Need to Know

When it comes to finding a new home, there are lots of complex ratios, terms, and contracts that you’ll encounter – and at times, it’ll feel like you’re trying to navigate a minefield. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself signing on for a mortgage that doesn’t suit your needs. Here are five mortgage terms you may not encounter regularly that you’ll need to know when buying a home.

Escrow: Money Held In Trust To Pay Taxes

An escrow account is a bank account that your lender maintains on your behalf. When you close your mortgage, you’ll need to deposit a certain percent of your annual property taxes into the escrow account, which your lender will hold in trust and use to pay your property taxes.

PITI: How Your Lender Calculates Your Monthly Payments

Your lender uses a specific formula used to calculate exactly how much money you need to pay your lender each month. Each month, your mortgage payment will include portions that go toward your principal loan amount (P), your interest payment (I), your property taxes (T), and your homeowner’s insurance (I). If you have private mortgage insurance, it’ll be included with this PITI payment.

Rate Buydown: Lowering Your Interest Rate With A Larger Down Payment

A rate buydown, also known as a discount point, is a chunk of your mortgage interest that you pre-pay in order to get a lower monthly interest rate over the life of the loan. Each point you buy reduces your interest rate by a small amount.

Loan Estimate: What Your Lender Must, By Law, Give You

A loan estimate is a form that your lender is required to give you when you apply for a mortgage, as per the Truth in Lending Act. Your loan estimate will include your estimated costs of carrying the loan – including monthly payments, interest rates, and processing fees. Loan estimates allow you to compare terms and rates across different lenders.

Loan-To-Value: Determining How Much House You Can Afford

Your LTV (loan-to-value) ratio is a ratio that is used to calculate the amount of equity you have in your home and to assess your risk as a borrower. Typically expressed as a percentage, your LTV is determined by dividing the total amount of your mortgage loan by the property’s fair market value. Borrowers generally prefer to see lower LTV ratios.

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