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  Qualifying ratios:

Guidelines applied by lenders to determine how large a loan to grant the homebuyer. The debt-to-income ratio is your current monthly debt on loans and credit cards divided by your gross income. The housing-to-income ratio is your new housing payments divided by your gross income.


A radioactive gas found in some homes that in sufficient concentrations can cause health problems. Your lender may require a radon check on your home.

Real estate agent:

A person licensed to negotiate and transact the sale of real estate on behalf of either the borrower or seller, or in some cases both partied.

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act:

A consumer protection law that requires lenders to give borrowers advance notice of closing costs, including an "APR".


The process of paying off one loan with the proceeds from a new loan secured by the same property. This is most often done to get the better interest rates offered by the new loan.

Second Mortgage:

A mortgage that has rights that are subordinate to the rights of the first mortgage. As such, these loans are often less secure and may demand a slightly higher interest rate.

Secondary mortgage market:

The buying and selling of existing mortgages.

Seller take-back:

An agreement in which the owner of a property provides financing, often in combination with an assumed mortgage.

Settlement Sheet:

The computation of costs payable at closing which determines the seller's net proceeds and the buyer's net payment.


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