If you’re in the market for a mortgage, it’s important to be familiar with the various loan terms that you’ll come across during the application and underwriting process. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the most important mortgage terms that you’ll need to know.
Familiarizing yourself with this mortgage terminology will help ensure that you’re better prepared to navigate the loan process and make informed decisions about your mortgage.
Ability-to-repay Rule (ATR Rule):
A regulation that requires lenders to verify that borrowers have the financial means to repay their loans. This includes verifying the borrower’s income, employment status, credit history, and other factors.
The rule is designed to protect borrowers from taking on loans they cannot afford, and to prevent lenders from making unsound loans
Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARM):
An adjustable-rate mortgage is a loan with an interest rate that can change over time. The interest rate on an ARM is typically lower than a fixed-rate mortgage at first, but it can increase over time.
Annual Percentage Rate:
The annual percentage rate (APR) is a measure of the cost of credit, expressed as a yearly interest rate. It includes the interest rate, points, mortgage insurance, and other fees associated with the loan. The APR is the true cost of borrowing money, and it is typically higher than the stated interest rate on the loan.
The process of repaying a mortgage in equal installments over the life of the loan. The borrower makes periodic payments to the lender, which include both interest and principal. The amount of each payment goes toward paying off the interest first, and any remaining balance is applied to the principal.
Amortization schedules can vary in length, but most home loans are amortized over a period of 30 years.
The loan amount minus the down payment. For example, if a borrower takes out a $250,000 conventional loan with a 3% down payment, the amount financed would be $242,500.
The amount of money earned in a year from employment, investments, or other sources. Annual income is typically used to determine eligibility for loans, mortgage affordability, and other financial opportunities.
Depending on the type of income a borrower has such as W2, self-employed, commission-based, etc., most mortgage lenders will use different calculations to determine the estimated personal finance income and how it might impact the borrower’s monthly mortgage payment.
A condition in a real estate contract that gives the buyer the right to cancel the contract if the appraised value of the property is less than the agreed price to purchase. The contingency protects the buyer in case they end up paying more for the property than it is worth.
Appraisal contingencies are negotiable, so it’s important to discuss them with your real estate agent before making an offer on a property.
An appraisal fee is a fee charged by the lender to have the property appraised. The appraisal is used to determine the value of the property and help the lender assess the risk of lending money to the borrower.
A mortgage payment that is automatically deducted from the borrower’s bank account and paid to the mortgage lender each month. Automatic payments are typically made on the date that the mortgage loan is due.
This type of payment arrangement helps to ensure that mortgage payments are made on time and can help to avoid late fees.
The balance is the outstanding principal on the mortgage loan plus any accrued interest and fees.
A home loan that typically has a shorter term (five to seven years) and lower interest rate than a traditional 30-year mortgage. At the end of the loan’s term, the remaining mortgage balance is due in full.
This type of loan may be ideal for borrowers who expect their income to increase over time or who plan to sell their home before the balloon payment is due.
Closing costs are fees associated with the purchase of a home. These fees can include things like loan origination fees, appraisal fees, title insurance, and more.
Also known as a mortgage closing disclosure, this is a document that lists all of the final costs associated with buying a home. This includes the mortgage term, particular interest rate, down payment, loan balance, mortgage insurance, closing costs, and other fees.
The mortgage closing disclosure must be provided to the borrower at least three days before the loan closes.
A type of home loan that is used to finance the construction of a home or other property. Construction loans are typically short-term loans with a term of one year or less. The loan is disbursed in installments as the construction progresses and is usually interest-only loans, which means that the borrower only pays the interest on the loan during the construction period.
The principal balance of the loan is not due until the end of the term. At that time, the borrower either pays off the remaining balance of the loan or obtains a new loan to pay off the construction loan.
A mortgage that is backed by one of two government-sponsored agencies (Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac). Conventional loans are available through many lenders, and typically have more robust eligibility requirements than government-backed loans, such as FHA loans, VA loans or USDA loans.
For example, borrowers may need to have a higher credit score or down payment to qualify for a conventional loan.
A mortgage loan in which two or more people are held responsible for repaying the debt. Co-borrowers may be family members, friends, or business partners. Each co-borrower is legally responsible for the entire debt, even if they are not equally responsible for making payments.
If one borrower defaults on the loan, the other borrower or borrowers are still responsible for repaying the debt. In some cases, co-borrowers may be able to get a lower interest rate by applying for a mortgage loan together.
Someone who agrees to be responsible for a loan if the borrower defaults. Co-signers can be used to help borrowers qualify for loans that they would not otherwise be able to get. The co-signer’s credit score and income are typically used to determine whether or not the borrower will be approved for the loan.
Co-signers are also responsible for making sure that the loan is repaid, even if the borrower can’t or doesn’t make the payments. This can be a risky proposition for the co-signer, as it can damage their credit score and financial stability if the loan is not repaid.
A record of an individual’s or company’s past borrowing and repaying, including information about late payments and bankruptcy. Credit histories are used by lenders to determine loan eligibility and to set loan terms. Individuals with good credit histories typically qualify for lower interest rates and better loan terms than those with poor credit histories.
Numerical representations of an individual’s creditworthiness used by lenders to determine whether or not to extend credit, and if so, at what interest rate. A credit score is also used by landlords, utility companies, and insurance companies to decide whether or not to extend service.
There are many different credit scoring models in existence, but the most commonly used model in the United States is the FICO score. FICO scores range from 300 to 850, with higher scores indicating lower risk.
A document that contains information about an individual’s credit worthiness and past borrowing history. The report includes information on the individual’s current and past credit accounts, as well as any late payments or defaults.
The report also includes information on the individual’s current employment and income. Credit reports are used by lenders to determine an individual’s creditworthiness.
Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio:
The debt-to-income ratio is a measure of a borrower’s ability to make mortgage payments. It is calculated by dividing the borrower’s monthly debt obligations by their monthly income. A high debt-to-income ratio may indicate that the borrower is at risk of defaulting on their loan.
A legal document that conveys ownership of real property. The deed must be signed by the owner of the property and delivered to the buyer. The buyer then records the deed with the county recorder’s office to show that they are the new owner of the property.
Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure:
A legal document that transfers ownership of a property from the borrower to the lender in order to avoid foreclosure. The deed-in-lieu is typically used as a last resort when all other efforts to avoid foreclosure, such as loan modification or refinancing, have failed.
It is important to note that a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure will still have a negative impact on your credit score and may make it difficult to obtain future financing.
Refers to a mortgage status whereby a loan payment has not been paid on time. If a mortgage payment is more than 30 days late, it is considered delinquent. A delinquent loan may incur additional fees and may be reported to the credit bureau, which can impact the borrower’s credit score.
A demand feature is a mortgage loan feature that allows the lender to require that the borrower make a one-time, lump-sum payment of the entire loan balance (principal and interest). The lender would have the option to make this request without any reason required.
a one-time fee charged by the lender at closing in exchange for a lower interest rate on the mortgage loan. One point is typically equal to 1% of the loan balance.
The down payment is the amount of money that the borrower pays upfront toward the sales price of the home. The down payment typically ranges from 3% to 20% of the purchase price.
Down Payment Program:
A type of financial assistance that can help home buyers with the upfront costs of purchasing a home. Down payment programs typically involve grants or loans that do not need to be repaid, and they may be offered by government agencies, non-profit organizations, or private companies.
Some down payment programs have income and price limits, and others may be available to first-time home buyers only. Home buyers typically need to contribute a minimum down payment to qualify for a mortgage, so these programs can help make homeownership more affordable.
A deposit made by a buyer to show that they are serious about purchasing a real estate. The earnest money is typically held in an escrow account (typically the title company) until the transaction is complete, at which point it is applied to the purchase of the home. If the deal falls through, the earnest money may be returned to the buyer or used to cover damages incurred by the seller.
Escrow is an account that is set up by the mortgage lender to pay for the taxes and insurance on the borrower’s behalf. The borrower typically pays into the escrow account each month along with their mortgage payment.
The portion of a home’s value that the owner actually owns. Equity can increase or decrease depending on the market value of the home and the amount of mortgage debt outstanding. Homeowners with more equity have more to lose if they default on their mortgage loan, while those with less equity may be able to walk away from their mortgage without owing anything to the lender.
Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac:
Government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that were created to provide stability and liquidity in the mortgage market. They do this by buying mortgage loans from lenders, thereby freeing up lender resources so they can make more loans. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also securitize mortgage loans, which bundles them together into mortgage-backed securities (MBS). These MBS are then sold to investors, providing a source of funding for new mortgage loans.
These mortgage loans are guaranteed against default by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The FHA insures the loan, in the event that the borrower defaults on the mortgage. This type of loan is available to borrowers with a credit score of 580 or higher. Borrowers with a credit score below 580 may still be eligible for an FHA loan, but they will be required to put down a 10% down payment.
FHA Funding Fees:
A type of mortgage insurance that protects lenders against loss if the borrower defaults on the loan. The fee is typically paid by the borrower at closing, and it may be rolled into the overall mortgage. FHA funding fees are also used to help fund the operations of the FHA loan program.
FHA Loan Limit:
The maximum amount and FHA loan can be insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for a mortgage loan. The FHA loan limit is set each year and may vary depending on the location of the property being purchased.
The limit is generally lower in rural areas and higher in metropolitan areas. For example, in 2022, the highest FHA loan limit for a single-family home in most of Florida is $1,061,550.
The amount of interest that a lender charges on a loan. This can be a fixed amount, such as an annual percentage rate (APR), or it can be a variable rate that changes over time. The finance charge is typically disclosed to borrowers in the mortgage terms.
A clause included in a real estate contract that gives the buyer a specified amount of time to secure financing for the purchase. If the buyer is unable to obtain financing within the allotted time frame, they may back out of the contract and receive a full refund of any earnest money paid. Finance contingencies are often used when buyers are obtaining mortgage loans from lenders who require additional time to process the loan application.
First Time Home Buyer Loan Programs:
These are loans specifically designed for first time home buyers. These loan programs usually have lower down payment requirements and more favorable interest rates and terms than conventional mortgage loans. First time home buyer loan programs may also offer assistance with down payments and closing costs.
In Florida, you are considered a first-time home buyer as long as you have not owned a home within the last 36 months.
Fixed Rate Mortgage:
A fixed-rate mortgage is a mortgage loan with an interest rate that remains the same for the entire term of the loan. This type of mortgage offers stability because the borrower knows exactly how much their mortgage payment will be each month.
An agreement between a borrower and a lender to temporarily postpone or reduce loan payments. This arrangement is typically used to help the borrower avoid defaulting on the loan. Forbearance can be granted for a variety of reasons, such as financial hardship or job loss.
The terms of forbearance will vary depending on the situation, but the borrower is typically still responsible for accruing interest on the loan during this time.
Force Placed Insurance:
An insurance policy that is placed on a property by a lender, mortgage company, or other financial institution. The insurance is typically required when the borrower does not have adequate coverage or has allowed their existing policy to lapse. Force-placed insurance is usually more expensive than regular insurance, and the borrower may be responsible for the difference in cost.
The legal process whereby a lender seizes and sells a borrower’s property in order to satisfy a debt. This typically occurs when the borrower has defaulted on their mortgage loan by failing to make payments. Foreclosure can be a lengthy and complicated process, so it’s important to understand all of the steps involved before it happens.
Money that is given to a person by someone else can be used to help offset the closing costs of a home loan, typically to help them with a purchase of a home. Gifts may be given from family members and certain relatives and must not require the repayment of the gift back to the person making the gift.
Gift funds that increase the down payment are common on conventional loans to help the borrower so that do not have to pay mortgage insurance (known as private mortgage insurance).
Good Faith Estimate:
Now known as a Loan Estimate, this is an estimate of the closing costs a borrower will incur on a mortgage loan. The GFE (or loan estimate) includes an estimate of the loan’s interest rate, monthly payments, and closing costs.
Gross Monthly Income:
the total amount of income earned in a month before taxes or other deductions are taken out. This number is typically used by mortgage lenders to determine how much a borrower can afford to pay each month.
HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit):
A HELOC is a loan that uses the equity in your home as collateral. The equity is the difference between the appraised value of your home and the outstanding balance on your mortgage. A HELOC allows you to borrow against the equity in your home up to a certain amount, and you can use the money for any purpose.
The interest rate on a HELOC is typically lower than the interest rate on a credit card or other loan, and the interest may be tax-deductible. You only pay interest on the amount you borrow, and you can repay the loan at any time.
HOA Fees / HOA Dues:
A homeowner association (HOA) fee is a monthly or annual charge paid by homeowners to their homeowner association to fund the maintenance and upkeep of common areas, as well as any amenities the association may offer. HOA dues are typically mandatory for all members of an association, and failure to pay them can result in late fees, fines, or even loss of membership.
An estimate of the value of a home, typically done by a professional appraiser. Appraisals are often used in the mortgage process to determine how much a lender is willing to loan to a borrower. The appraisal takes into account factors such as the condition of the property, its location, and recent sale prices of similar homes in the area.
Home Equity Loan:
A home loan secured by the equity in the borrower’s home. Home equity loans are typically used to finance major expenses such as home repairs, medical bills, or college tuition. A Home Equity Loan is the same thing as a HELOC.
this is a loan used to purchase a property. The borrower take or loan (also known as a mortgage) out on the property with an interest rate charge against the amount borrower. The borrower then agrees to pay back the loan over a set period of time, typically 15 or 30 years. The interest rate on a mortgage influences the monthly payment amount.
Home Purchase Price:
The amount of money that a buyer agrees to pay for a property. This value is typically negotiable between the buyer and seller, and is often based on factors such as the current market value of the property, the condition of the property, and the buyer’s ability to pay. Once the purchase is complete, the county will recalculate the property taxes based on the sale price of the home.
An organization that manages a community of homes. HOAs are typically responsible for the upkeep of common areas, such as parks and playgrounds, and they may also offer amenities like swimming pools and tennis courts. Homeowners who live in communities managed by an HOA are typically required to pay dues, which are used to cover the costs of maintaining the property.
Homeowners insurance is a type of insurance that protects the homeowner in the event of damage to the home or its contents. The insurance policy typically covers the cost of repairs or replacement up to a certain limit. Homeowners insurance also typically covers the cost of liability if someone is injured on the property.
Also known as a mortgage index, this is a numerical value that represents the change in mortgage interest rates over time. Mortgage indexes are used by lenders to determine the interest rate on adjustable-rate mortgage loans. The most common mortgage indexes are the Prime Rate, the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), and the 11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI).
The amount of money that an individual or business pays for an insurance policy. The premium is typically paid on a monthly or yearly basis and is based on factors such as the type of insurance, the amount of coverage, and the level of risk.
Interest Only Mortgage:
also known as an “I/O Mortgage”, this is a loan where the borrower only pays the interest on the loan for a period of time, typically 5-10 years. After the interest only period, the borrower then begins paying both principal and interest on the loan.
Interest only mortgages typically have lower monthly payments than loans with principal and interest payments, but they can be more expensive in the long run because the borrower is not paying down any of the principal during the interest only period.
The interest rate is the percentage of the loan that is charged for borrowing money. Interest rates can vary depending on the type of mortgage and the market conditions at the time of loan origination.
A jumbo loan is a mortgage loan that exceeds the conforming loan limit. Jumbo loans are used to purchase properties that are too expensive to be financed by a standard mortgage. Jumbo loans typically have higher interest rates than standard mortgage loans.
A lender is a financial institution that provides mortgage loans to borrowers. Lenders can be banks, credit unions, or other financial institutions.
Line of Credit:
is a loan that allows the borrower to access funds up to a certain limit. The borrower can use the funds as needed and only pays interest on the portion of the loan that is used. Lines of credit typically have lower interest rates than other types of loans because they are less risky for lenders.
Loan Origination Fee:
A loan origination fee is a fee charged by the lender for processing the mortgage loan. This fee is typically a percentage of the loan amount.
Also known as a servicer, this is a company that manages mortgage loans and other types of loans on behalf of the lender. The loan servicer is responsible for collecting payments from the borrower, managing the account, and providing customer service. They may also be responsible for handling foreclosures and short sales.
The loan term is the length of time over which the borrower agrees to repay the mortgage.
Loan To Value (LTV) Ratio:
The loan-to-value ratio is a measure of how much mortgage financing is being provided relative to the value of the property. The LTV ratio is calculated by dividing the principal amount of the loan by the appraised value of the property or the equity, whichever is lower.
The interest rate charged by a lender on top of the mortgage rate. The mortgage margin is typically a percentage of the mortgage rate and can vary depending on the type of loan and the lender. For example, a mortgage with a 5% mortgage rate and a 2% mortgage margin would have an interest rate of 7%.
The monthly payment is the amount that the borrower agrees to pay each month toward the mortgage loan. Also known as the monthly mortgage payment, this fee typically includes principal, loan interest, taxes and homeowners insurance.
A mortgage is a loan used to purchase a home. The borrower agrees to pay back the loan over a set period of time, typically 15 or 30 years. The interest rate on a mortgage influences the monthly payment amount.
A mortgage broker is a professional who helps borrowers find the best mortgage loan for their needs. Mortgage brokers typically work with multiple lenders and can help borrowers compare rates and terms.
Mortgage Closing Costs:
The fees and expenses outlined in the mortgage terms and associated with the purchase of a home, including mortgage origination fees, title insurance, and escrow fees. Settlement costs can vary depending on the type of loan used to finance the home purchase. Settlement costs are also known as closing costs.
Mortgage Insurance Premium:
Mortgage insurance premium is insurance that protects the lender in the event that the borrower defaults on the mortgage loan. Private mortgage insurance PMI is typically required for borrowers who put down less than 20% of the sales as a down payment.
financial institutions that provide mortgage loans to borrowers. Lenders can be banks, credit unions, or other financial institutions. Mortgage lenders typically work with multiple borrowers and can help them compare rates and terms and shop for other services items such as insurance premiums.
Usually referred to as just a mortgage or a loan, is an agreement to finance the purchase of a property. The loan is secured by the property with a mortgage and promissory note, and the borrower makes payments over a period of time, typically 15 or 30 years. The interest rate on mortgage influences the monthly payment amount.
The process by which a borrower applies for a mortgage loan, and the lender reviews the borrower’s financial information to determine if they are qualified for the loan. The mortgage process typically includes a pre-approval step, in which the lender gives the borrower an estimate of how much they may be able to borrow based on a review of their financial information. Once completed and after a purchase agreement is executed, the loan will then be submitted to a lender and go through an underwriting phase.
This is a fee charged by the lender for processing a loan application and issuing the loan. This fee can vary depending on the type of loan, the amount of the loan, and the lender. Origination fees are also sometimes referred to as points. One point is equal to one percent of the loan amount.
PITI (Payment, Interest, Taxes, Insurance):
PITI is an acronym for Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance. It is a measure used by lenders to determine how much a borrower can afford to pay in mortgage payments each month. The principal is the amount of the loan that is being borrowed.
The interest is the cost of borrowing the money. The taxes are the property taxes that are associated with the property that is being purchased. The insurance is the mortgage insurance or hazard insurance that is required by the lender.
Points are a one-time fee charged by the lender at closing in exchange for a lower interest rate on the mortgage loan. One point is typically equal to 1% of the loan amount.
Pre-approval is a process in which the lender reviews the borrower’s financial information to determine how much they are qualified to borrow. Pre-approval gives the borrower an idea of what price range they should be shopping in for a home.
Pre-qualified is a process in which the lender gives the borrower an estimate of how much they may be able to borrow based on a review of their financial information. Unlike pre-approval, pre-qualification does not guarantee that the borrower will be approved for a loan.
A clause that may be defined in the mortgage terms and is a fee charged by the lender if the borrower pays off their mortgage early. The mortgage prepayment penalty is typically a percentage of the outstanding loan balance, and it is paid to the lender when the mortgage is paid in full.
Mortgage prepayment penalties are designed to discourage borrowers from refinancing their mortgage or selling their home before the mortgage term is up.
The principal is the amount of money borrowed from the lender for the home loan. The principal does not include interest or other fees associated with the loan.
The principal balance is also known as the loan balance and is the amount of money remaining to be paid on a home loan, not including interest or other fees. The principal balance on a home loan may decrease over time as the borrower makes payments toward the loan, or it may stay the same if the borrower has a fixed-rate loan.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI):
Private mortgage insurance is insurance that protects the lender in the event that the borrower defaults on the mortgage loan. PMI is typically required on a home loan for borrowers who put down less than 20% of the purchase price as a down payment.
Taxes are levied by the government on real property. The tax is based on the value of the property, and the proceeds are typically used to fund public services such as schools and roads. Property owners are responsible for paying property taxes.
Sometimes referred to as conforming loans, these mortgages meet the standards set by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) ability-to-repay rule. Qualified mortgages have certain characteristics that make them safe for borrowers, such as a maximum loan-to-value ratio of 80% and a debt-to-income ratio that does not exceed 43%.
Also known as an interest rate cape, this condition is outlined in the mortgage terms and provides a limit on the amount of interest that can be charged on a loan. Interest rate caps are used to protect borrowers from having their interest rates increase to an unmanageable level.
Rate caps are often placed on adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) as a way to limit the amount of risk involved in taking out this type of loan. Interest rate caps typically have a periodic limit (such as 5% every 5 years) and a lifetime limit (such as 10%).
Real Estate Agent:
Also known as a Realtor®, this is a professional within the real estate industry who helps people buy, sell, or lease properties. Real estate agents typically work with multiple clients and help them find homes that meet their needs. They may also help clients negotiate prices and terms of sale.
A home loan that allows homeowners 62 and older to tap into their home equity without having to make monthly mortgage payments. The loan is repaid when the borrower dies, sells the home, or moves out of the home. Reverse mortgages are a type of home equity loan.
Right of Recession:
The legal right of a party to cancel a contract within a specified period of time after it has been signed. This right is typically included in contracts for the sale of goods or services. The right of recession may be limited by certain conditions, such as the payment of a fee by the party exercising their right to cancel.
Payments made by the seller of a property to the buyer in order to help with the costs of the purchase. Concessions can cover items such as closing costs, repairs, or appliances. They are typically offered when the seller is motivated to sell quickly and wants to make the deal more attractive to buyers. Concessions can be negotiable, so it’s important to discuss them with your real estate agent before making an offer on a property.
Settlement Costs / Fees:
The fees and expenses associated with the purchase of a home, including mortgage origination fees, title insurance, and escrow fees. Settlement costs can vary depending on the type of loan used to finance the home purchase. For example, VA loans have a cap on settlement costs that limits how much borrowers can be charged. Settlement costs are also known as closing costs.
A sale of a property in which the proceeds from the sale are less than the outstanding loan balance owed on the mortgage. A short sale is typically used as a way to avoid foreclosure. The mortgage lender must agree to the short sale for it to take place.
An inspection from a licensed surveyor of a piece of property that includes information about the boundaries, structures, and features of the land. A property survey is typically conducted by a licensed surveyor and is used to help determine the value of the property, as well as to establish ownership boundaries.
Also known as a mortgage term, this is the length of time over which a mortgage loan is repayable. The most common mortgage terms are 15 years and 30 years. A mortgage term may be anywhere from 1 to 40 years, although terms shorter than 15 or 20 years are less common. Longer mortgage terms typically result in lower monthly payments, but also mean that more interest will be paid over the life of the loan.
A legal document that proves ownership of a property. The title includes the names of the owner or owners, and any restrictions on the use of the property. Titles are typically issued by the government, and they can be registered with a land registry office. House titles are used to transfer ownership of a property from one person to another. They can also be used as collateral for loans.
A business that specializes in searching for and ensuring the accuracy of titles to real property. Title companies are typically involved in the home buying and selling process, as they are responsible for making sure that the property being purchased has a clean title. In other words, the title company ensures that there are no outstanding liens or claims on the property. The title company may also provide title insurance, which protects the buyer or lender against loss if there are any problems with the title to the property.
Also referred to as Lenders Title Insurance, this is a type insurance that protects the lender against problems with the title and potential loss if there legal claims made against the title to the property.
A home loan that is insured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The loan is made by a private lender, such as a bank, credit union, or mortgage company and typically has very favorable interest rates, terms and a $0 down payment requirement. The USDA guarantee means that the lender is protected against loss if the borrower defaults on the loan.
A special home loan for service members and their spouses that is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The loan is made by a private lender, such as a bank, credit union, or mortgage company and typically has very favorable interest rates, terms and a $0 down payment requirement. The VA guarantee means that the lender is protected against loss if the borrower defaults on the loan.
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