Our mortgage glossary contains terms and explanations for a variety of important mortgage and financing concepts. It is here to help you navigate the complex commercial financing industry.
Mortgages Can Be Confusing
Getting a loan or mortgage is not always easy. Not only do you need to decide what type of mortgage is right for you and your commercial project, you also need to qualify for the loan and have all the documents ready. There are many mortgage definitions that you need to understand as well. It can also be difficult to determine which lender will best help your investment pay off.
But We’re Here To Help!
GenWealth has a team of commercial mortgage brokers and financing experts who are committed to helping our clients. We want your commercial project to pay off. This is why we try to make getting a mortgage or loan as easy as possible. Our mortgage glossary has easy to understand explanations of a variety of mortgage terms that are very useful. Our commercial property firm is also here to answer your questions. Contact us for information about our services or the commercial project financing industry. Our commercial mortgage brokers have experience connecting you with the perfect lender to help your investment succeed.
GenWealth Mortgage Glossary
- Adjustable Rate Mortgage: Mortgage where the interest rate adjusts
periodically up or down through a set index. Also called a floating rate mortgage.
- Adjusted Gross Income: Gross income of a building if fully rented, less an allowance for estimated vacancies.
- Adjustment Interval: The period of time between changes in the interest rate for an adjustable-rate mortgage. Typical adjustment intervals are one year, three and five years.
- Amortization: The process of paying the principal and interest on a loan through regularly scheduled installments.
- Annual Percentage Rate (APR): This is the actual rate of interest your loanwould be if you included all of the other associated costs such asclosing costs and points.
- Apartment Conversion: When a rental apartment building is converted to individually owned units.
- Apartment Rehabilitation: Extensive remodeling of an older apartment building.
- Appraisal: An estimate of the value of a property, make by a qualified professional called an appraiser.
- ARM: See Adjustable Rate Mortgage.
- Assumable Loans: Loans that can be transferred to a new owner if a home is sold.
- Balloon (Payment) Mortgage: Usually a short-term fixed-rate loan which involves small payments for a certain period of time and one large payment for the remaining principal balance, due at a time specified in the contract.
- Basis Points (BP): 1/100th of 1% expressed as margin over index rate.
- BC & D Lender or Loan: The term BC & D is a rating of the loan. We refer to BC & D as “problem or troubled” credit rather than using these letters.
- Bond Financing: Type of financing that is a promise to repay the principal along with interest on a specified date.
- Buydown: the process of paying additional points on the loan to reduce the monthly mortgage. There are typically two specific types: a Permanent Buydown, and a Temporary Buydown. In a Permanent Buydown, a sufficient amount of interest is prepaid to lower the rate permanently. In a Temporary Buydown, only a sufficient interest is paid to lower the payment for the first three years. The reason to Temporarily Buydown, a loan is to lower the current payments thereby more easily qualifying for the loan. This usually makes sense because income will usually continue to increase as the interest does. The most common Temporary Buydown is called 3-2-1, meaning three percent lower the first year, tow percent lower the second year, and one percent lower the third year.
- Bridge Loan: Financing which expected to be paid back relatively quickly, such as by a subsequent longer – term loan. Also called a swing loan.
- Cap: The maximum which an adjustable-rate mortgage may increase, regardless of index changes. An interest rate cap limits the amount the interest can change, while a payment cap limits the increase in monthly payment to a specific dollar amount.
- Cap Rate: A net yield set by an investor to determine the value of an income producing property.
- Capital Expenditures: Line items on a profit and loss statement that would not be expensed on an annual basis. This category would include replacement of major building systems, such as roofs, driveways, etc.
- Capitalization Rate: A method used to estimate the value of a property based on the rate of return on investment.
- Closing: The meeting between the buyer, seller and lender (or their agents) where the property and funds legally change hands. Also referred to as “settlement”.
- Closing Costs: The cost and fees associated with the official change in ownership of the property and with obtaining the mortgage, that are assessed at the closing or settlement.
- Commercial Conduit: Direct link to an institutional lending source.
- Comparative Market Analysis: An estimate of the value of a property based on an analysis of sales of properties with similar characteristics.
- Conduit: The financial intermediary that sponsors the conduit between the lender(s) originating loans and he ultimate investor. The conduit makes or purchases loans from third party correspondents under standardized terms, underwriting and documents and then, when sufficient volume has been obtained, pools the loans for sale to investors in the CBMS markets.
- Convertible: An option available on some adjustable rate mortgages (ARM’s) that allows the loan to be converted to fixed rate mortgage. Conversion usually involves paying a one-time fee and conversion may be limited to within a certain time – frame.
- Cosigner: Someone who is willing to sign mortgage loan obligation with you in case you default on your monthly payments. Normally, the cosigner is required to go through the same application and approval process as the original signer of the loan.
- Credit Company: A lending organization that obtains it source of funds from the commercial market.
- Credit Enhancements: A loan to provide improvements to the property.
- Credit Report: A search through your existing credit history by a qualified credit bureau to determine if, and the number of times, you may have been delinquent making monthly payments on previous debts. Even when a credit report is for the most part positive, many lenders require written explanation for any negative comments within the credit report. This type of report is usually required to obtain a mortgage loan.
Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSC): A 1.0 means breakeven. The ratio is calculated by taking the net operating income and dividing it by the mortgage payments. Most lenders look for a ratio of 1.25 or higher.
Debt Service: The periodic payments (principal and interest) made on a loan.
Debt Ratio: One of several financial calculations performed by your lender to determine if you can afford a particular monthly payment. The debt ratio (also known as the obligations ratio) is the sum of all your monthly debt payments including your total monthly mortgage payment divided by your total monthly income. Typically acceptable debt ratios for Conventional Loan are 36 – 38%, FHA Loans are 41 – 43%, and VA Loans are 41%.
Discount Rate: Many lenders may offer you a lower "teaser" rate on an adjustable rate mortgage for the first adjustment period. After this period is over, the lender will adjust your loan according to the normal lenders margin rate.
Down – Payment: The amount of money you put down, normally anywhere from 5 – 25%.
Due Diligence: The legal definition: a measure of prudence, activity or
assiduity, as is properly to be expected from, and ordinarily exercised by, a
reasonable and prudent person under the particular circumstances. In CMBS: due diligence is the foundation of the process because of the reliance securities investors must place on the specific expertise of the professionals involved in the transaction.
- Engineering Report: Report generated by an architect or engineer describing the current physical condition of the property and its major building systems, i.e., HVAC, parking lot, roof, etc. The report also determines an amount for calculating replacement reserves, if needed.
- Environmental Report: Report generated by an qualified environmental firm to determine potential environmental hazards in a building’s region or within the building itself.
- Environmental Risk: Risk of loss of collateral value and of lender liability due to the presence of hazardous materials, such as asbestos, PCB’s, radon or leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTS) on a property.
- 1.The difference between the fair market value and current indebtedness, also referred to as "owner's interest".
- 2. The difference between the amount owed on the loan and the current purchase price of the home or property.
- Equity Capital: Capital raised from owners. In a commercial real estate case, a lender will also provide equity capital for a percentage of ownership.
- 1. A special account set up by the lender in which money is held to pay for taxes and insurance.
- 2. A third party who carries out the instructions of both the buyer and seller to handle the paperwork at the settlement.
- Fair Market Value: An appraisal term for the price which a property would bring in a competitive market, given a willing seller and willing buyer, each having a reasonable knowledge of all pertinent facts, with neither being under any compulsion to buy and sell.
- Fannie Mae: A congressionally chartered corporation which buys mortgages on the secondary market from Banks, Savings & Loans, Etc; pools them and sells them as mortgage-backed securities to investors on the open market. Monthly principal and interest payments are guaranteed by FNMA but not by the U.S. Government.
- FHA: Federal Housing Administration, a government agency.
- Fixed Rate Mortgage: A mortgage with an interest rate that remains constant for the life of the loan. The most common fixed-rate mortgage is repaid over a period of 30 years; 15-year fixed-rate mortgage are also available.
- Floating Rate Mortgage: See Adjustable Rate Mortgage.
- Floor – To – Area Ratio (FAR): The relationship between the total amount of floor space in a multi – story building and the base of that building. FAR’s are dictated by zoning laws and vary from one neighborhood to another, in effect stipulating the maximum number of stories a building may have.
- Foreclosure: The process by which a lender takes back a property on which the mortgagee had defaulted. A servicer may take over a property from a borrower on half of a lender. A property usually goes in to the process of foreclosure if payments are no more than 90 days past due.
- Forward Commitment: A written promise from a lender to provide a loan at a future time.
- Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation): Entity buys loans from conventional lenders and packages them for sale to investors as securities.
- Government Loans: One of two loan types called FHA or VA loan. These loans are partially backed by the government and can help veterans and low-to-moderate income families afford homes. The advantages of these types ofloans in that they often have a lower interest rate, are easier to qualify for,have lower down-payment requirements, and can be assumed by someoneelse if the home is sold. Many mortgage bankers can obtain these type of loans for you.
- Graduated Payment Mortgages: A type of mortgage where the monthly payments start low but increases by a fixed amount each year for the first five years. The payment shortfall or negative amortization is added to the principal balance due on the loan. The advantages if this type of loan is a lower monthly payment at the beginning of the loan term. This disadvantages are typically a slightly higher rate than traditional fixed rate mortgage loan and lenders usually require a larger down payment. In addition, the negative amortized amount increases the balance due on the total loan which can be a problem if the value of the home declines.
- Gross Income: Total income, before deducting taxes and expenses. The scheduled (total) income, either actual or estimated, derived from a business or property.
- Growing Equity Mortgage: A type of mortgage where the monthly payments start low but increase by a fixed amount each year for the entire life of the loan as compared to five years with a Graduate Payment Mortgage. The advantage of this type of loan is that the loan can usually be paid off in a short duration than a traditional fixed rate loan. This disadvantage of this loan is that the payment continues to go up irrelevant of the income of the borrower.
- Hard Equity: High interest rate financing.
- Housing Ratio: One of several financial calculations performed by your lender when applying for a conventional loan to determine if you can afford a particular monthly payment. The housing ratio(also known as the income ratio) is your total monthly payment including taxes and insurance divided by your total monthly income. Typically acceptable housing ratios for Conventional Loans are 28 – 33% and FHA Loans are 29 – 31%.
- HUD: Housing and Urban Development, a federal government agency.
- Index: An economic indicator, usually a published interest rate, that
determines changes in the interest rate of an adjustable – rate mortgage. ARM rates are adjusted to reflect changes in the index. The margin is the amount a lender adds to the index to establish the actual interest rate on an ARM.
- Interest: The sum paid for borrowing money, which pays the lender’s costs of doing business.
- Interest Rate: The sum charged for borrowing money, expressed as a percentage.
- Interest Rate Cap: Limits the interest rate or the interest rate adjustment to a specified maximum. This protects the borrower from increasing rates.
- Interest Shortfall: The aggregate amount of interest payments from borrowers that is less than the accrued interest on the certificate.
- Investment Banker: An individual or institution which, acts as an underwriter or agent for corporations and municipalities issuing securities, but which does not accept deposits or make loans. Most also maintain broker/dealer operations, maintain markets for previously issued securities, and offer advisory services to investors also called investment banker. See also bank, commercial bank, and originator, syndicate.
- Jumbo (Non – Conforming) Loans: A mortgage loan that exceeds the amount that is acceptable by the government if the loan were to be resold (onthe secondary market) to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Usually, loans with a face value greater than $227,150 (as of 1/1/98).
- Lease Assignment: An agreement between the commercial property owner and the lender that assigns lease payments directly to the lender.
Leasehold Improvements: The cost of improvements for a leased property. Often paid by the tenant.
- Lender Margin: This is simply the profit the lender expects to receive from the loan. You can ask your lender what the margin is on an adjustable rate mortgage. Typically, lenders use a discount rate initially as a “teaser” rate. You must be sure to get the normal margin after the discount period is over.
- Lines of Credit: An arrangement in which a bank or vendor extends a specified amount of unsecured credit to a specified borrower for a specified time period.
- Loan origination Fee: The fee charged by a lender, to prepare all the documents associated with your mortgage.
- Lock – In: The process of fixing the interest rate for a specific period of time irrelevant of future or impending economical changes to the interest rate. This process may require a fee or premium as it reduces your risk that the monthly payments will change while the loan paperwork is filed.
- Lock – Out Period: A period of time after loan origination during which a borrower cannot prepay the mortgage loan.
- London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR): The short – term rate (1year or less) at which banks will lend to each other in London. Commonly used as a benchmark for adjustable – rate financing.
- LTV: Loan to Value: Proposed loan amount divide by the value of the property.
- Margin: The amount that is added to an index rate to determine the total interest rate.
- 1. The termination period of a note (e.g., a 30 – year mortgage has maturity of 30 years.)
- 2. In sales law, the date a note becomes due.
- Mezzanine: Late-stage venture capital financing.
- Miniperm: Short term permanent financing, usually 3 to 5 years.
- Mortgage Banker: An entity that makes loans with its own money and then sells the loan to other lenders.
- Mortgage Broker: An entity that arranges loans for borrowers.
- Mortgage Insurance: A type of insurance changed by most lenders to offset the risk of your loan when your down payment is less than 20% of the value of the home.
- Mortgage Reduction Programs: A type of Accelerated payment program whereby payments are made more frequently usually bi – weekly or weekly rather than the traditional monthly payment. Making more frequent and accelerated payments reduces the amount of principal more quickly which interest accumulation is based on. The net effect can be a savings on the total interest paid.
- Multi – Family Property Class A: Properties are above average in terms of design, construction and finish; command the highest rental rates; have a superior location, in terms of desirability and / or accessibility; generally are professionally managed by national or large regional management companies.
- Multi – Family Property Class B: Properties frequently do not possess design and finish reflective of current standards and preferences; construction is adequate; command average rental rates; generally are well maintained by national or regional management companies; unit sizes are usually larger than current standards.
- Multi – Family Property Class C: Properties provide functional housing; exhibit some level of deferred maintenance; command below average rental rates; usually located in less desirable areas; generally managed by smaller, local property management companies; tenants provide a less stable income stream to property owners than Class A and B tenants.
- Negative Amortization: Occurs when interest accrued during a payment period is greater that the scheduled payment and the excess amount is added to the outstanding loan balance (e.g., if the interest rate on ARM exceeds the interest rate cap, then the borrower's payment will be sufficient to cover the interest accrued during the billing period – the unpaid interest is then added to the outstanding loan balance).
- Net Effective Rent: Rental rate adjusted for lease concessions.
- Net Operating Income (NOI): Total income less operating expenses, adjustments, etc., but before mortgage payments, tenant improvements and leasing commissions.
- Net – Net Lease (NN): Usually requires the tenant to pay for property taxes and insurance in addition to the rent.
- Notice of Default (NOD): To initiate a non – judicial foreclosure proceeding involving a public sale of the real property securing the deed of trust. The trustee under the deed of trust records a Notice of Default and Election to Sell (“NOD”) the real property collateral in the public records.
- Non – Recourse: A finance term. A mortgage or deed of trust securing a note without recourse allows the lender to look only to the security (property) for repayment in the event of default, and not personally to the borrower. A loan not allowing for a deficiency judgment. The lender's only recourse in the event of default is the security (property) and the borrower is not personally liable.
- Operating Expense: Periodic expenses necessary to the operation and maintenance of an enterprise (e.g., taxes, salaries, insurance, maintenance). Often used as a basis for rent increases.
- Participation: A type of mortgage where the lender receives a percentage of the gross revenue in addition to the mortgage payments.
- Percentage Lease: Commonly used for large retail stores. Rent payments include a minimum or "base rent" plus a percentage of the gross sales “overage” Percentages generally vary from 1% to 6% of the gross sales depending on the type of store and sales volume.
- Phase I: An assessment and report prepared by a professional environmental consultant who reviews the property – both land and improvements – to ascertain the presence or potential presence of environmental hazards at the property, such as underground water contamination, PCB’s, abandoned disposal of paints and other chemicals, asbestos and a wide range of other potentially damaging materials. This Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) provides a review and makes a recommendation as to whether further investigation is warranted (a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment). This latter report would confirm or disavow the presence of an mitigation efforts that should be undertaken.
- PITI: Principal, interest, taxes and insurance. Your calculated estimated of monthly payments.
- Points: Loans fee paid by the borrower. One point is 1% of the loan amount.
- Prepayment Penalty: A Change for paying off a loan before it is due.
- Pre – qualification: The process of determining the amount of money a particular lender will let you borrow. You should strive to obtain pre-qualification with at least two or three lenders.
- Prime Rate: An artificial rate set by commercial bankers. Many banks will use the Wall Street Prime rate. This is a rate set by the top lending banks in the country.
- 1. The amount of debt, not including interest, left on a loan.
- 2. The face amount of the mortgage.
- Property Appraisal: A report showing exactly how much the particular home.
- Property Classification: Most lenders will classify a property by its age and needed maintenance. As an example many insurance companies will only loan on properties that are class A, meaning that the properties age is 10 years old or less and is not in need of repair.
- Property Tax: Taxes based on the market value of a property. Property taxes vary from state to state.
- Rate Index: An index used to adjust the interest rate of an adjustable mortgage loan (e.g., the changes in U.S. Treasury securities (T-bill) with 1- year maturity. The weekly average yield on said securities, adjustable to a constant maturity of 1 year, which is the result of weekly sales, may be obtain weekly from the Federal Reserve Statistical Release H.15 (519). This changes in interest rates is the “index” for the change in a specific Adjustable Mortgage Loan).
- Recourse: A loan for which the borrower is personally liable for payment is the borrower defaults.
- REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust): Pooled funds that purchase and hold commercial real estate.
- Refinance: The renewal of an existing loan by the some borrower.
- Rent Step – Up: A lease agreement in which the rent increases every period for a fixed amount of time or for the life of the lease.
- Replacement Reserves: Monthly deposits that a lender may require a borrower to a reserve in an account, along with principal and interest payments for future capital improvements of major building systems; i.e., HVAC, parking lot, carpets, roof, etc.
- Reserve Funds: A portion of the bond proceeds that are retained to cover losses on the mortgage pool. A form of credit enhancement (also referred to “reserve accounts”).
- Residual Income: The amount of money left over after you have paid all of your ordinary and necessary debts including the mortgage. This calculation is typically used with VA loans.
- Sale / Lease Back: When a lenders buys a property and leases it back to the seller for an extended period of time.
- Savings & Loans: A federally or state charted financial institution that takes deposits from individuals, funds mortgages, and pays dividends.
- SBA: Small Business Administration, a federal government agency.
- Second Mortgage: A mortgage on real estate, which has already been pledged as collateral for an earlier mortgage. The second mortgage carries rights, which are subordinate to those of the first.
- Secondary Financing: A loan secured by a mortgage or trust deed, in which the lien is junior, or secondary, to another mortgage or trust deed.
- Secondary Mortgage Market: The buying and selling of first mortgages or trust deeds by banks, insurance companies, government agencies, and other mortgagees. This enables lenders to keep an adequate supply of money for new loans. The mortgages may be sold at full value (“par”) or above, but are usually sold at a discount. The secondary mortgage market should not be confused with a "second mortgage."
- Spread: Number of basis points over a base rate index.
- Standby Commitment: A formal offer by a lender making explicit the terms under which it agrees to lend money to a borrower over a certain period of time.
- Structural Report: (see Engineering Report)
Tax & Insurance Impound: Monthly deposits that a lender may require to be included with principal and interest payments for the payment of taxes and insurance.
Tenant Improvements (TI): The expense to physically improve the property to attract new tenants to new or vacated space which may include new improvements or remodeling. May be paid by tenant, landlord, or both. Typically, tenants are provided with a market rate TI allowance ($/sq. ft.) that the owner will contribute towards improvements. The tenant must pay for amounts above the TI allowance desired by the tenant.
Term: The length of a mortgage.
Title: The actual legal document conferring ownership of a piece of real estate.
Title Insurance: An insurance policy which insures you against errors in the title search – essentially guaranteeing your, and your lender’s, financial interest in the property.
Triple – Net Lease: A lease that requires the tenant to pay for property taxes, insurance and maintenance in addition to the rent (also referred to as “Net Net Net Lease”).
- Underwriting: The process of deciding whether to make a loan based on credit, employment, assets and / or other factors.
- Uniform Residential Loan Application (1003): This application, also called a URL – 1003 is the standard loan application used by all lenders.
- Underwriter: The underwriter is the lender or company who actually provides the money for you loan. A mortgage broker “brokers” and represents several different underwriters and depending on your situation they choose the “best” underwriter for you and your lender.
- Upfront Fees: Generally refer to fees charges to pay for third party costs like appraisals.
- VA (Veterans Administration) Loan: A type of government loan
administered by the Veterans Administration. Eligibility for VA loan is restricted and limited to qualifying veterans, and to certain home types. You need to check with the VA to determine if you qualify. The maximum VA Loan is $184,000.
- Workouts: Attempts to resolve a problematic situation, such as a bad loan.
Yield Maintenance: A prepayment premium that allows investors to attain the same yield as if the borrower made all scheduled mortgage payments until maturity. Yield maintenance premiums are designed to make investors indifferent to prepayments and to make refinancing unattractive and uneconomical to borrowers.
Yield To Average Life: Yield calculation used, in lieu of “Yield to Maturity” or “Yield to Call”, where books are retired systematically during the life of the issue, as in the case of a "Sinking Fund," with contractual requirements. Because the issuer will buy its own bonds on the open market to satisfy its sinking fund requirement if the bonds are trading below Par, there is, to that extent, automatic price support for such bonds; they therefore tend to trade on a yield – to – average – life basis.
Yield To Maturity (YTM): Concepts used to determine the rate of return an investor will receive if a long – term, interest – bearing investment, such as a bond, is held to its maturity date. It take into account purchase price, redemption value, time to maturity, coupon yield and the time between interest payments. Recognizing time value of money, it is the discount tare at which the present value of all future payments would equal the present price of the bond (also referred to as “internal rate of return”). It is implicitly assumed that coupons are reinvested at the YTM rate. YTM cam be approximated using a bond value table (also referred as a “bond yield table”) or can be determined using a programmable calculator equipped for bond mathematics calculations.