Realty and Mortgage Terms and Definitions
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Realty and Mortgage Terms and Definitions



Damages - The amount recoverable by a person who has been injured in any manner through the act or default of another.

Debenture - An unsecured bond or note.

Debit - In a closing statement or settlement, an item that is charged to a buyer or seller. Compare with credit.

Debit Card (EFT) - A plastic card which looks similar to a credit card, that consumers may use to make purchases, withdrawals, or other types of electronic fund transfers.

Debt - An obligation to pay another.

Deed - The written instrument that conveys a property from the seller to the buyer.  The deed is recorded at the local courthouse so that the transfer of ownership is part of the public record.

Deed of Trust - This document, referred to as a mortgage in some states, pledges a property to a lender or trustee as security for the repayment of a debt.

Deed Stamp - A tax that is required in some municipalities if a property changes hands.  The amount of this tax can vary with each state, city and county.  For our comparison purposes, this fee is considered a tax or other unavoidable fee.

Deed-in-lieu - A process that allows a borrower to transfer the ownership of a property to the lender in order to avoid loss of the property through foreclosure.

Default - A breech of the agreement with a lender such as the failure to make loan payments in a timely manner.

Delinquency - The failure to make payments on debts when they are due.

Delivery Fee - A fee charged generally by the title company or attorney for the delivery of documents to your lender.  For our comparison purposes, the delivery fee is considered to be a third party fee.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) - An agency of the federal government that provides services and guarantees residential mortgages made to eligible veterans of the military services

Deposit - Funds required by a lender in advance of the processing of a loan request.  Generally a deposit is collected to cover the costs of an appraisal and credit report and may or may not be refundable.

Depreciation - A decline in the value of real or personal property. The opposite of appreciation.

Devise - A gift of real property by will or last testament.

Disburse - To pay out on the loan.

Disclosures - Information that must be given to consumers about their financial dealings.

Discount Points - Fees that are collected by the lender in exchange for a lower interest rate.  Each discount point is 1% of the loan amount.  For our comparison purposes, a discount point is considered to be a lender fee.  To determine if it is wise to pay discount points to obtain a lower rate, you must compare the up front cost of the points to the monthly savings that result from obtaining the lower rate.  Sometimes referred to as "points".

Discount Rate - The interest rate that the Federal Reserve charges member banks for loans, using government securities or eligible paper as collateral. This provides a floor on interest rates, since banks set their loan rates a notch above the discount rate.

Document Preparation - Lenders will prepare some of the legal documents that you will be signing at the time of closing, such as the mortgage, note, and truth-in-lending statement.  This fee covers the expenses associated with the preparation of these documents.  For our comparison purposes, the document preparation charges are considered to be a lender fee.

Documentary Stamp - A tax levied by some local or state governments at the time the deeds and mortgages are entered into public record.  For our comparison purposes, documentary stamps are considered to be a tax and other unavoidable fee.

Dower - The rights of a widow in the property of her husband upon his death.

Down Payment - The portion of the purchase price of a property that the borrower will be paying in cash rather than included in the mortgage amount.

Due-on-sale Clause - A provision in a mortgage that allows the lender to demand repayment in full, if the borrower sells the property that serves as security for the loan.

Durable Goods Orders - Economic indicator that measures new orders placed with domestic manufacturers for immediate and future delivery of factory hard-goods. Monthly percent changes reflect the rate of change of such orders. Levels of, and changes in, Durable Goods Orders are widely followed as an indicator of factory sector momentum.
Frequency: Monthly
Source: Commerce Department