Mortgage Terminology Explained

When you first apply for a mortgage, you may feel youve stepped into a different culture with a language all its own. More than likely, your mortgage professional is throwing many new terms and expressions your way. Its the responsibility of that same mortgage professional to make sure you understand everything thats being explained to you, so you should never hesitate to ask them to stop and clarify. However, if you can approach your application meeting armed with some familiarity with mortgage terms, everyone can be more comfortable from the very beginning. Familiarize yourself with the following and youll be a step ahead of the average first-time borrower.

HUD: HUD stands for Housing and Urban Development, and refers to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development Settlement Statement documents pertaining to the house being financed. When your loan officer talks about having you sign the HUD, they are referring to that settlement statement. The HUD will detail all payoff information, including any fees associated with your mortgage loan.

LTV and CLTV: LTV and CLTV stand for Loan to Value and Cumulative Loan to Value (or Combined Loan to Value). LTV refers to the percentage of the homes value that is being financed. Thus an $80,000 loan for a $100,000 home constitutes 80% LTV. Higher LTV loans may carry higher interest rates and mortgage insurance than lower LTV loans. CLTV refers to the combined amount being financed between two loans for the same property. If the $100,000 home mentioned above has a first mortgage of $80,000 and a second mortgage of $20,000, the LTVs of those loans would be 80% and 20% respectively for a CLTV of 100%.

Designation 80/20: Designation 80/20 in the same line of thought, refers to the technique of obtaining 100% financing for a borrower without using a program that offers 100% in one loan. 80/20 refers to the percentage of the home that will be financed with each loan, 80% with the first mortgage and 20% with the second mortgage. 80/15s, 80/10s, and so on are also available and are options you should consider under the advisement of your loan officer or financial planner.

Stips: Stips are stipulations, and they are the requirements handed down by your lender and its underwriting department in order for your mortgage to be cleared to close. Common stips are copies of pay stubs, bank statements, and verifications of rent and employment.

VOR and VOE: VOR and VOE stand for Verification of Rent and Verification of Employment. Both may be required by your lender in order for your loan to be approved. Not all lenders and not all loans require either one of these.

HELOC: HELOC, while not something you will probably hear during your first mortgage experience, is one of the most common mortgage acronyms. It refers to a Home Equity Line of Credit, which is one option borrowers have for taking equity out of their homes. With a HELOC, borrowers can draw up to the full amount of the loan as many times as they choose, paying down all or part of the amount and drawing it back out again. In this way, a HELOC is a loan similar to a credit card, except that the interest paid on a HELOC is tax-deductible.

This is not a comprehensive list of the new terminology you may encounter when securing a mortgage, but familiarity with these terms will help you understand what your loan officer or financial planner is talking about when it comes time to finance a home.