BuyingSmart Homebuyers Glossary

Talk the talk with our Homebuyers Glossary.

Does home-buying vocabulary make your head spin? Scan through our handy homebuyers glossary to learn the lingo and talk like a pro. That's a good formula for getting the home you want on your own terms.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

A type of loan where the interest rate changes periodically up or down, usually once or twice a year


The process of reducing a loan in equal installments of principal and interest

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The sum of finance charges (interest, loan fees, etc.) expressed as a percentage of the loan amount


An estimate of the fair market value of a land parcel and any improvements at a given point in time


Special taxes imposed on a property benefiting from local improvements such as street lighting or flood control

Automated Underwriting

A computerized method of reviewing home mortgage applications for loan approval

Bridge Loan

A loan which enables homebuyers to get financing to make a down payment and pay closing costs on a new home before selling the home they currently own

Buy Down

An incentive offered by a builder that allows you to lower your interest rate by putting up a certain amount of money


A Pardee Homes program designed to make purchasing a new home easier, more understandable and more satisfactory


The limit on an interest rate for an adjustable rate mortgage; applies to each adjustment or over the life of the mortgage


The final step after a lender approves an application. The homebuyer and lender sign the security-agreement note for the mortgage loan, which states all the terms and conditions of the loan, and the funds for the loan are turned over to the homebuyer's closing agent.

Closing Agent

Usually an attorney or title agency representative who oversees the closing and witnesses the signing of the closing documents

Closing Appointment

A meeting between you and the escrow company to sign the final paperwork needed to start the process of transferring title (evidence of right of ownership) of the home to you and collect the balance of funds necessary to close

Closing Costs

Your costs as a buyer such as points, mortgage insurance, homeowner's insurance, prepayments for property taxes, etc. paid at the time of closing (Ask Wells Fargo whether you qualify for reduced closing costs!)

Closing Date

The day you do a dance of joy, jingling the keys to your new home; officially known as the date escrow closes and your deed and mortgage are recorded with the county

Closing Document

The financial disclosure statement that accounts for all of the funds received and expected at the close of escrow

Closing Services

A Pardee Homes' department that acts as an orchestra leader to coordinate communications between the Buyer (you) and the Seller (Pardee), facilitating scheduling, contracts (e.g., the Purchase Agreement), escrow and closing; see also Closing Services Coordinator

Closing Services Coordinator

Your advocate within Pardee, working to expedite your closing by communicating important dates, checking contracts for accuracy and providing professional, courteous service throughout; see also Closing Services

Commitment Letter

A binding, written pledge, by the lender to a mortgage applicant, to make a loan, usually under certain stated conditions

Community Facilities District Assessment

A long fancy word for a special tax that varies by district; see Mello-Roos


A condition that must be met, such as selling your current home, before your contract to purchase a new home becomes binding

Conventional Loan

A mortgage-secured loan that is not insured or guaranteed by a government agency such as FHA, VA or Farmers Home Administration

Conversion Clause

A provision that allows you to change an adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed rate, usually set at the prevalent interest rate and for an additional fee

Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs)

A document with terms you agree to live by when owning a home in a neighborhood that has a Homeowner's Association

Credit Report

A report issued by an independent agency which contains certain information concerning a mortgage applicant's credit history and current credit standing

Curb Appeal

The home-shopping equivalent of love-at-first-sight; many Pardee shoppers have reported the following symptoms: a pounding heart, racing pulse, big smile

Cut-off Dates

Construction deadlines for your Standard and Optional Selections that must be selected by you and ordered by Pardee so that your home may be delivered to you on time and complete by the scheduled closing date

Debt-to-income Ratio

A formula lenders use to determine the loan amount for which you may qualify. Guidelines may vary, depending on the loan program.

Down Payment

The difference between the sale price and the loan amount, which must be paid in cash by the buyer


An energy efficiency program Pardee Homes offers on select homes, elevating construction standards to provide the potential for tangible savings on monthly energy bills; see also LIVINGSMART®

Earnest Money

Money the buyer (you) gives the seller (Pardee Homes) to secure the Binder these funds are later applied toward the purchase price of your home


The value of a property exceeding the amount owed on it


A procedure in which a third party acts as a stakeholder for both you and Pardee Homes carrying out closing instructions and assuming responsibility for paperwork and funds

Escrow Account

A holding account for the amount a mortgage borrower pays each month and which the lender uses to pay for the borrower's taxes, other periodic debts against the property, homeowner's insurance and, if applicable, mortgage insurance

Escrow Opening Package

The initial documents required to start the escrow process. The escrow process is a procedure in which a third party acts as a neutral intermediary for both you and Pardee Homes carrying out closing instructions and assuming responsibility for paperwork and funds.

FICO Score

A numerical rating that indicates a mortgage applicant's creditworthiness based on a number of criteria. It is one piece of information used in the decisioning process.

Final Documents

Once your loan is approved and all "conditions" are met (see Loan Conditions), your lender sends Final Loan Documents to your Escrow Officer who then schedules an appointment for you to sign these and other final escrow documents in order to complete your transaction

Final Orientation

A room-by-room tour of your new Pardee home, during which we provide important product care and warranty information, homeowner maintenance requirements and warranty request procedures. We will familiarize you with all the new exciting functions and features of your home as well as important home maintenance tips.

Final/Formal Loan Approval

A formal loan approval is an "Unconditional Loan Approval" which is required within 30 days after the Purchase Agreement is signed

Fixed Rate Mortgage

A loan with an interest rate that remains the same for the entire repayment term

Float the Rate

This term is used when a mortgage applicant chooses not to secure a rate lock, but instead allows the interest rate to fluctuate until the applicant decides to lock in, usually no later than five days prior to closing

Front-end Ratio

Also known as the housing expense-to-income ratio, it compares your proposed housing payment (PITI) to your total household gross monthly income

Funding Fee

The amount charged on VA mortgages to cover administrative costs

Good Faith Estimate

An approximation supplied by the lender of all your closing costs

Government Issued ID

A United States driver's license or passport (if you are not a U.S. Resident)

Grant Deed

A legal document that transfers real property from the seller (Pardee Homes) to the buyer (you)


The buyer of a deed (That's you!)


The seller of a deed (That's us!)

HUD-1 Settlement Statement

A standard form used to disclose costs at closing

Home Mortgage Consultant

The home mortgage representative a homebuyer initially consults about a mortgage loan. Sometimes called a loan officer, account executive or sales representative.

Home Warranty

The express limited warranty that Pardee Homes provides concerning the construction of the home

Homeowner's Insurance (Hazard Insurance)

A real estate insurance policy required of the buyer protecting the property against loss caused by fire, some natural causes, vandalism, etc. May also include added coverage such as personal liability and theft away from the home.

Homeowner's Orientation

A room-by-room tour of your new Pardee home, during which we provide helpful product and warranty information and familiarize you with the working functions of your home

Homeowners Association (HOA)

An association formed by Pardee Homes and managed by homeowners like you with the assistance of a professional management company for the purpose of maintaining the quality of your neighborhood

Housewarming Party

A celebration of your new home with family and friends during which you exchange great food and beverages for household gifts

Impound Account

A special account held by the lender on your behalf, from which your property taxes and insurance will be paid


Interest rate adjustments on adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) loans are based on a specific “index” or treasury issue (bond) which is selected because it is a reliable, familiar financial indicator. Your monthly interest rate payment will be adjusted up or down in relation to this market indicator, plus the margin as specified in your note. See Margin and Note.

Initial Loan Approval

A pre-approval which includes verifying income, assets, credit

Inspection Report

A written record of a property's condition, including the foundation, interior, roof, kitchen and baths, foundation, heating and air conditioning

Interest Rate

A percentage of the mortgage amount that is paid to the lender for the use of the money, usually expressed as an annual percentage

Interim Interest

The interest that accrues, on a per-diem basis, from the day of closing until the end of the month


A contemporary concept in homeownership developed by Pardee Homes, combining state-of-the-art features and options for your home that are environmentally sensitive and energy conscious while providing for healthy living; see also ENERGYSMARTTM

Legal Description

A description of real property that usually refers to recorded maps, surveys and other public documents to designate the location of the property

Loan Conditions

These are terms under which the lender agrees to make the loan. They include the interest rate, length of loan agreement and any requirements the borrower must meet prior to closing.

Loan Payment Reserves

A requirement of many loan programs that, in addition to funds for the down payment and other purchase-related costs, you have saved enough money to cover one or two months of mortgage payments after your closing

Loan Settlement

The conclusion of the mortgage transaction. This includes the delivery of a deed, the signing of notes and the disbursement of funds necessary to the mortgage loan transaction.

Loan-to-Value (LTV)

The ratio of the amount borrowed to the appraised value or sales price of real property expressed as a percentage


A benefit Wells Fargo may offer Pardee homebuyers, freezing the interest rate for their loan for a certain period of time


The number of percentage points added to the index to calculate the interest rate for an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) at each adjustment period


A legislative act in California that allows a Community Facilities District Assessment to ensure critical facilities like schools, roads and utilities are available to serve the first homeowners in a new area

Mortgage Insurance (MI)

An insurance policy which will repay a portion of the loan if the borrower does not make payments as agreed upon in the note. Mortgage insurance may be required in cases where the borrower makes less than a 20% down payment on the home loan.

Mortgage Specialist

The mortgage company employee responsible for collecting the completed application and all supporting documents before the entire loan packet is submitted to underwriting. Also known as a processor.


The Lender


The Borrower


A process whereby more belongings than you need are eagerly packed and transported to their new home; a Yard Sale may expedite this process (Use our handy moving checklist found in BuyingSmart to help with your move)

Natural Flooring Products

Any of a variety of optional natural wood or stone flooring products that you can choose for your home

Nonconforming Loan

A mortgage-secured loan program that offers approval guidelines which are not industry standard. It may, for example, have different loan limits than conforming loans, but may offer financing in conforming and jumbo amounts.


The agreement which states the home mortgage amount to be borrowed and the terms and conditions of the loan. It also includes a complete description of how the loan should be repaid and the time frame for the repayment.

Origination Fee

A lending fee (such as 1% of the loan amount) charged to offset the costs of evaluating, preparing and submitting a proposed mortgage loan


Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance; a quick way to reference your combined monthly house payment

Personal Property

Anything you own (such as furniture, stocks, bonds, etc.) that is not land or permanent improvements affixed to the land


A one-time charge assessed by the lender at closing for the cost of the loan; each point is equal to 1% of the loan amount

Power of Attorney

A written authorization allowing a selected individual to perform specified acts on your behalf

Preferred Flooring Vendor

Pardee's contracted vendor that manages the process for customers to select and install flooring in their new home. Pardee's vendors are selected with care and adhere to our standards for quality and service.

Preliminary Title Report

A report from the title company regarding the current condition of title on the property you intend to purchase


That portion of your loan closing costs which must be collected at closing to cover taxes, interest and insurance

Prepayment Penalty

A fee imposed for paying off part or all of a loan before its maturity

Prequalification (Prequal)

A preliminary review of your finances by Wells Fargo as an important step in the purchase process with Pardee Homes


The amount of a loan, excluding interest; or the remaining balance of a loan, excluding interest

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

A type of insurance that is usually required by a lender if your Down Payment or Equity is less than 20% of the loan value; it insures the lender against loss if you were to default on your mortgage


The completion of a mortgage loan application and supporting documents

Purchase Agreement

A written document confirming your decision to buy your new home and Pardee Homes' decision to sell under stated terms and conditions

Rate Cap

The limit of how much the interest rate may increase on an ARM at each adjustment and over the life of the loan

Rate Lock

The borrower and the lender agree to protect the interest rate, points and term of the loan while it is processed


Filing documents, such as your new deed and mortgage, for record in the County Recorder's Office

Recordation of the Grand Deed

The filing of the grant deed (the document which transfers title to real estate from one party to another)

Sales Contract Purchase Agreement

A written document confirming your decision to buy your new home and Pardee Homes' decision to sell under stated terms and conditions


Fulfillment of your greatest desires and an assurance of lasting quality; the state-of-mind Pardee Homes hopes to provide all our buyers

Settlement Statement

A list of the money paid out and received by the buyer (you) and seller (Pardee Homes) at closing

Signing Appointment

An appointment to sign the final documents before you take legal possession of your home

Special Documentation

Documents that may be required to fulfill various legal steps in your purchase. Examples are power of attorney (granting another individual authority to execute contracts on your behalf) or inter-spousal deed (also referred to as an inter-spousal transfer grant deed, it is used when a real estate transaction is between spouses).

Subprime Loan

A home financing program that accommodates borrowers with special qualifying factors, including poor credit histories


Evidence of a person's right to ownership in real property

Title Insurance Policy

Protection for you and your lenders against loss of interest in property in the event that there are legal defects in the Title

Truth-in-Lending (TIL) Statement

Required by federal regulations, this statement informs purchasers of the costs of financing their loan expressed as the annual percentage rate (APR). Do not confuse the APR with your interest rate, which is used to determine your monthly principal and interest payment.


The process of a lender reviewing the application, documentation and property prior to rendering a loan decision

Vesting Options

The options for taking title (ownership) to your home. Legal and tax consequences should be considered so it's important to consult with your attorney and tax accountant regarding the various ways you can take ownership.


The transfer of money from one bank or entity to another by electronic method. Banks typically charge a fee for this service.

Yard Sale

A temporary relocation of Personal Property to your front yard for the purpose of selling unused items before Moving to a new home