A mortgage is a type of loan you use to buy a home or to refinance your existing home. By getting a mortgage, you do not need to pay the entire price of the property in one full payment but agree to make payments on that loan for a set number of years until the value of the home is paid off.

A conventional loan is not backed by a government agency such as the FHA and is in turn solely provided by a private lender. This loan is not insured by the government and therefore may have stricter qualification requirements.

An FHA loan is a mortgage loan that is insured by the Federal Housing Association. An FHA loan allows for individuals to close on a property with a down payment as low as 3.5%. FHA loans are considered a type of federal assistance for first time and returning home buyers.

A home equity loan uses the value of your current property as collateral. A home equity loan is issued as a lump-sum and is determined based on the current value of your home. The value is decided by an appraiser from the lending institution your loan will be provided by.

A mortgage can be obtained through a financial institution such as a bank, credit union, or specialized mortgage lender. You can get pre-qualified for a mortgage or apply at a time you are ready to buy. The lender will check your credit score and history and employment history to make their decision.

Determining how much mortgage you can afford depends on a variety of factors such as your income, expenses, credit history, and existing debt. By taking into account all of those numbers, you can easily calculate how much of a mortgage payment you can afford at your current income.

Mortgage insurance is an insurance policy that is designed to protect the lender if the borrower is not able to meet their contractual obligations of making regular payments or defaults on a loan. The private mortgage insurance offsets the losses the lender might face and reduces risk.

Points are fees paid to a lender upfront in exchange for a lower interest rate on your mortgage loan. The lender agrees to reduce the closing costs of purchasing the property in exchange for a higher interest rate. If you purchase “discount points” your closing costs will be higher, but the interest rate lower for the life of the loan.

There is a complex formula that allows you to calculate your mortgage loan. The formula is as follows:
M = P [ i(1 + i)^n ] / [ (1 + i)^n – 1]
M= Mortgage
P= Principal amount
I= Monthly interest rate (yearly rate divided by 12 months)
N= Number of monthly payments for the duration of the loan (15 years x 12 months = 180 payments)
We recommend using a mortgage calculator to easily calculate your mortgage payment.

A jumbo mortgage, commonly referred to as a jumbo loan, is used to finance amounts higher than the conventional loan limit. The amount financed is higher than the loan limit set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

There are quite a few ways in which one can pay off their mortgage earlier than their set loan date. One of the most obvious ways is paying a higher amount on your mortgage than has been calculated and therefore reducing the amount of interest you pay in the long run. Another way to pay off a mortgage faster is to make your loan payment bi-weekly, resulting in an additional payment in a year.

The home price is the cost of the property that the homebuyer decides to purchase. Home price varies by location, size of the home, and land, as well as the quality of the home and improvements made to the property. Home prices also fluctuate with the real estate market. The price of the house will determine the mortgage loan amount as well as the down payment.

A down payment is a percentage of the value of the home that is made upfront in a lump-sum cash payment. The down payment when purchasing a home varies depending on the price of the home and the financial ability of the homebuyer to pay. The standard down payment percentage is 20%, however, certain loans allow for a down payment much lower than that, in some cases as low as 0% (VA Loan) or 3.5% (FHA Loan).

Interest rate, also known as a mortgage rate, is the rate of interest that is charged on the mortgage. The interest rate on a home loan can be fixed or variable, fluctuating with the current mortgage rates. Mortgage rates will vary for each borrower as they are heavily influenced by the homebuyer’s credit profile. As mortgage rates fluctuate with the real estate market, you can refinance your loan at a lower interest rate at a point in the loan term.

The loan term is the number of years you will be making your monthly mortgage payments towards your loan. The loan term may change during the loan life depending on whether the buyer decides to refinance the loan, make additional payments, or make more than the minimum monthly payment. Loan terms depend on the lender, interest rate, and the preference of the home buyer.

Property taxes are paid by the owner of a home or property and are collected by the local government to fund services such as law enforcement, highway construction, and education. Property taxes are based on the value of the property including the land. Property taxes are calculated by the local government where the home is located.

Home insurance is a type of property insurance that covers the losses and potential damages that your residence may face. The homeowner insurance, similarly to car insurance, provides liability coverage in case of an accident that may impact the residence or property. This type of insurance covers both the exterior damage to the property as well as damage to the interior and assets such as furniture. Home insurance is not the same thing as Private Mortgage Insurance and they serve different functions.

Homeowners Association Fee, typically referred to as HOA fee, is a sum of money paid monthly by homeowners in certain types of properties such as condominiums and townhouse residences. These fees are collected to offset the cost of maintaining the building, facilities, and common areas such as a pool or fitness center. Some HOA fees even cover garbage disposal and utilities such as water and sewer fees. HOA is also required to have reserved funds for emergency high-cost expenses such as roof repair or potential property damage from a natural disaster.

If the buyer decides to put down less than the standard 20% down payment recommended, they are required to purchase Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). Private mortgage insurance is a percentage of the loan amount. When a buyer decides to have a down payment lesser than 20% the loan to value ratio is higher than 80%, therefore presenting a higher risk for the lender. PMI reduces that risk for the lender. Homeowners are required to have PMI until they pay off 20% of the value of the property.

Loan-To-Value is an assessment of lending risk that lenders use to determine whether or not they will approve the mortgage loan for a potential home buyer. Loan assessments with higher LTV ratios are considered higher risk and may include higher interest rates for the homebuyer. Lower LTV means that a higher down payment was made and therefore the risk of the buyer defaulting on the loan is lower, resulting in lower interest rates. LTV is calculated by taking the mortgage amount and dividing it by the appraised property value.

The principal is the actual balance of the loan excluding any interest payments, taxes, or insurance. It is the original amount that was borrowed from the lender and had interest applied to it as well as other costs of borrowing such as taxes and PMI. The principal will be the amount of money you must pay until the loan is completely paid off, however, due to the amortization schedule, the initial payments are directed towards the interest before they are to the principal.

Interest is the number one cost of borrowing and is calculated at a percentage of the principal amount of the loan. Due to the fact that interest compounds, the majority of the initial payments are applied towards the interest rather than the principal balance. This causes homebuyers to apply extra payments to their loan, to decrease the compounding of the interest and reduce the sum of the loan they will pay.

Principal, interest, property taxes, and home insurance (PITI) are the sum four components of a monthly mortgage payment. Together they make up what homebuyers would traditionally refer to as their mortgage. PITI is used by both borrowers and lenders to determine the affordability of a property for the homebuyer. If the PITI amount is considered too high when compared to the monthly household income, the borrower is considered high credit risk and may not be approved for the mortgage loan.