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Realty and Mortgage Terms and Definitions



Tacking - Adding on to a certain period of time.

Takeout Financing - A firm commitment to provide permanent long-term financing after a construction project is completed.

Taking - The acquisition of a piece of land, usually through condemnation.

Tangible Property - Real estate and other property of value which can be seen and touched.

Tax Base - The total value of property, income, or other taxable assets subject to taxation.

Tax Certificate - A tax charged by some state or local governments at the time of transfer of real estate title from one owner to another. For our comparison purposes, these fees are considered to be a tax or other unavoidable fee.

Tax Service Fee - A fee charged to a borrower by a lender so that another company will assume responsibility for verifying the amount of real estate taxes due and that taxes have been paid over the life of the loan.  For our comparison purposes, a tax service fee is considered to be a third party fee, however, some lenders may not charge for this service.

Taxes and Other Unavoidable Fees - Fees that we consider to be taxes and other unavoidable fees include State/Local Taxes and recording fees.  These fees will most likely have to be paid regardless of the lender you choose.  If you see a tax or recording fee in the fee comparison table that is listed by some of the sites and not others, don't assume that you won't have to pay it.  It probably means that the lender who doesn't list the fee hasn't done the research necessary to provide accurate closing cost information nationwide.  Contact one of the sites directly for more information or talk to your real estate agent or attorney for guidance.

Tenancy by the Entirety - Type of joint tenancy that provides the right of survivorship and is available only to a husband and wife. Compare with tenancy in common.

Tenancy in Common - Type of joint tenancy without the right of survivorship. Compare with tenancy by the entirety and with joint tenancy.

Third Party Fees - Third party fees are usually fees that the lender will collect and pass on to the person who actually performed the service.  For example, an appraiser is paid the appraisal fee, a credit bureau is paid the credit report fee and a title company or an attorney is paid the title insurance fees. Fees that we consider third party fees include the appraisal fee, the credit report fee, the settlement or closing fee, the survey fee, tax service fees, title insurance fees, flood certification fees, and courier/mailing fees. Typically, you’ll see some minor variances in third party fees from lender to lender since a lender may have negotiated a special charge from a provider they use often or chooses a provider that offers nationwide coverage at a flat rate.  You may also see that some lenders absorb minor third party fees such as the flood certification fee, the tax service fee or courier/mailing fees.

Title - A legal written instrument evidencing a person's lawful possession of a property.

Title Company - A company that specializes in examining titles to real estate and issuing title insurance.

Title Examination - A fee charged by a title company or attorney in some states to cover the cost of searching the public record to make sure the buyer is purchasing a house from the legal owner and there are no liens, overdue assessments, or other claims filed that would adversely affect the transfer of the title.  For our comparison purposes, a title examination fee is considered to be a third party fee and may be included in the title insurance fee by some lenders.

Title Insurance - An insurance policy that protects the lender (and sometimes the property owner as well) against loss due to disputes over the ownership of a property and defects in the title that were not found in the search of the public record.  For our comparison purposes, the title insurance cost is considered to be a third party fee.

Title Opinion - A statement issued by an attorney as to the quality of title after examining an abstract of title.  Also, referred to as an Attorney Opinion.  For our comparison purposes, a title opinion fee is considered to be a third party fee and may be included in the title insurance fee by some lenders.

Title Search - An examination of the public title records to determine the legal ownership of a property, and to ensure that there are no liens, encumbrances or other claims outstanding.

Total Closing Costs - This is the total of all the items that must be paid at closing related to your new mortgage. Since the exact charges for some of these items cannot be obtained until the time of closing, the figure may only be an estimate.

Total Debt Ratio - A standard calculation performed by mortgage lenders to determine if a borrower qualifies for a specific loan type.  It is calculated by dividing the monthly housing expense (Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance plus all other monthly debt obligation) by the borrower's monthly gross income.  Also referred to as a back end ratio or a bottom ratio.

Town House - Attached dwelling in which owner owns exterior walls and all other exterior surfaces as well as interior ones.

Trade Equity - Equity that results from a buyer giving an existing property as trade for all, or part of, the down payment on the subject property.

Transfer of Ownership - Any legal method by which the ownership of property changes hands.

Transfer Tax - A tax charged by some state or local governments at the time of transfer of real estate title from one owner to another. For our comparison purposes, these fees are considered to be a tax or other unavoidable fee. May also be referred to as an Intangible Tax.

Treasury Bills - An index used to establish interest rates for adjustable rate mortgages. It is based on the interest rate paid to private investors by the US Government to obtain funding for the national debt and other expenses. Sometimes called T-bills, they are available in denominations of 3-months, 6-months and 1-year. The 3-month and 6-month Treasury bills are auctioned every Monday, and the 1-year Treasury bills are auctioned on Tuesday. The resulting figures are released to the public the next day. This index can have either a weekly or a monthly value.

Treasury Bond - Negotiable, long-term U.S. Government debt obligation with a maturity of ten years or longer, issued in minimum denominations of $1,000.

Treasury Index - An index that is used to determine interest rate changes for some adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) programs. It is often based on the U.S. Treasury's daily yield curve.

Treasury Note - An intermediate U.S. Government security with a maturity of 1 to 10 years. Denominations range from $1,000 to $1 million or more. The notes are sold by cash subscription, in exchange for outstanding or maturing government issues, or at auction.

Treasury Securities - An index used to establish interest rates for adjustable rate mortgages. It is based on the yields of actively traded 1-year, 3-year, or 5-year Treasury Securities adjusted to constant maturities. The Treasury Security indices are calculated by the U.S. Treasury and reported by the Federal Reserve Board. These indices have either a weekly or a monthly value. The weekly indices are released on Monday afternoon for the previous week. Monthly values for these indices are generally available on the first Monday of the following month.

Trustee - A fiduciary who holds property in trust for another to secure performance of an obligation or act

Truth in Lending Act - Also known as Regulation Z, this federal regulation requires a lender to provide borrowers with a disclosure estimating the costs of the loan including your total finance charge and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) within three business days of the application for a loan.  This act is designed to provide consumers with a standard method of comparing the financing costs from lender to lender.

Two-step Mortgage - A type of adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that has one interest rate for the first few years (typically 5 or 7), and a different rate for the remainder of the amortization term.