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Maryland Real Estate Glossary of Mortgage Terms & Definitions

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Abstract (Of Title)
An abstract of title is simply a summarization of the relevant public records pertaining to the legal title of a specific property. Title insurance companies and attorneys review an abstract of title in order to help determine whether or not any possible uncertainties or ambiguities exist with respect to the clear and insurable legal title of a particular piece of real estate.
Accelerated Bi-Weekly Mortgage
If you choose an accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payment system you are in fact adding a 13th monthly payment to your annual number of monthly mortgage payments and splitting it up between 26 bi-weekly mortgage payments.
Acceleration Clause
A mortgage may specify a condition, know as an acceleration clause, requiring the loan balance to become due immediately if the regular mortgage payment schedule is not met, or if other conditions of the loan agreement are breached.
The acceptance date is the time of record when both the buyer and the seller have indicated acceptance of the contract by signing and/or initializing it.
Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)
The interest rate of an adjustable rate mortgage loan changes periodically, adhering to a predetermined index and margin, and thus causing monthly mortgage payments to either increase or decrease.
Adjustment Period
The adjustment period of an ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) is the time period between scheduled interest rate changes. For example, a one-year adjustment period would mean that the loan's interest rate might change once a year.
Agreement of Sale
An agreement of sale (know also as a contract of purchase, a purchase agreement, or a sales agreement in some locations or jurisdictions) is simply a contract in which a seller agrees to sell and a buyer agrees to buy, with terms and conditions specific to the transaction spelled out in writing and signed by both parties.
An amortized payment plan enables a borrower to repay the loan gradually through monthly payments of principal.
Annual percentage rate (APR)
The annual percentage rate of a loan describes the sum of the all associated finance charges (interest, loan fees, points) within the context of the total loan amount.
A loan application form serves as a formal request for a mortgage loan, as well as an official record of pertinent information concerning a prospective borrower's qualifications.
An appraisal is a quality or value estimate, based upon a professional analysis, of a property on or as of a given date.
Appraised value
A property's appraised value is a professional appraiser's final estimate of the actual financial worth of the property with respect to present market trends and conditions.
A professional appraiser is a qualified, educated, trained and experienced judge of the value of real and personal property.
Appreciation is simply an increase in value over a given time period (as opposed to depreciation).
Assessment is the process of assigning an official value (which is called the assessed value) to a property for the strict purpose of taxation. However, the term "assessment" may also refer to a levy against property for some specific purpose (such as a sewer assessment).
Assumption of Mortgage
When a buyer assumes an existing mortgage, the buyer agrees to become liable for payment of the seller's present mortgage loan. In other words, the buyer replaces the original mortgagor in the existing loan agreement and the original mortgagor is released from further liability. Because this usually requires the lending institution's consent, the original mortgagor should always obtain a written release from further liability (in the event that the assumer of the mortgage fails to make the required monthly payments). An "assumption of mortgage" should not be confused with "purchasing subject to a mortgage", which refers to an agreement on the part of the purchaser to make the monthly mortgage payments on an existing mortgage, but with the original mortgagor remaining personally liable in the event that the purchaser fails to make the monthly payments. In such a case, because the original mortgagor retains liability, the lending institution's consent is not usually required. Both "assumption of mortgage" and "purchasing subject to a mortgage" are routinely used to finance the sale of real estate (particularly when a mortgagor has financial problems and opts to sell the property to avoid foreclosure).
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