Alex Featured on Mortgage Vault Podcast

Unless you have a background in real estate or finance, the jargon you will come across during your homebuying journey may be a bit foreign at first. The good news, you will quickly become confident with the vocabulary used in the mortgage industry.

Here’s a beginner’s guide to some common terms you will need to know before purchasing a new home.

1. Mortgage

Probably the most important term that you will need to know when purchasing a home. A mortgage is a loan used to buy a home. You will repay the mortgage over a period of time, typically 15 or 30 years.

2. Amortization

When referring to mortgages, amortization happens every time you make a payment on your loan. The payment will cover the interest and principal – or the balance of the loan. Your loan will be set up on an amortization schedule – usually a payment you will make once a month.

3. Fixed-Rate Mortgage

The most common type of mortgage. A fixed-rate mortgage is one in which the rate doesn’t change through the duration of the loan – usually either 30 or 15 years. You will have the same payment for the principal and interest, even if the market rates for homes go up or down.

4. Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)

With an adjustable-rate mortgage, the interest rate to your mortgage will change over time. The change is usually outlined in your mortgage paperwork with your lender.

5. Pre-approval*

Often the first step in the homebuying process. During a pre-approval, the lender will do a quick assessment of your potential eligibility for a mortgage. You will submit information about your income and finances, and if all looks good, you will receive a letter stating how much money you have been pre-approved for your loan.

6. Earnest Money

Earnest money is essentially a good-faith deposit you make on a home to show the seller that you are serious about buying. The amount of the deposit will vary and will be deposited after the seller has accepted your offer. During the loan closing, it will be put towards the purchase.

7. Escrow

An account that holds the portion of a borrower’s monthly mortgage payment that covers things such as property taxes and insurance. Escrow accounts are designed to make like easier for homebuyers and can help you manage the costs associated with homeownership such as property taxes and insurance.

8. Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio

A percentage that’s calculated by adding up your monthly minimum debt payments (i.e., utilities, car payments) and dividing the total by your monthly gross income (i.e., salaries, wages before deductions, or taxes). Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is how mortgage lenders measure your ability to manage and pay back a mortgage.

9. Appraisal

An independent review and determination of the market value of the property you are purchasing. An appraisal assures that you aren’t borrowing more money than what your home is worth.

10. Closing

Closing on a home is the last step of the process where ownership is legally transferred from the seller to the buyer. You will pay the down payment and any closing costs associated with your loan. These items will have been negotiated between you and the seller before closing.


There are several more mortgage terms you will encounter along the way. And an Axia Loan Originator will help you understand these terms so that you are on the right track and your home purchase is successful. Click HERE to get started.

*Pre-approval is not a commitment to lend.

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