Commercial Mortgage Loan Real Estate Glossary
Adjustable Rate Mortgage
: Mortgage where the interest
rate adjusts periodically up or down through a set index. Also called
a floating rate mortgage.
Adjusted Gross Income: Gross income of a building
if fully rented, less an allowance for estimated vacancies.
Adjustment Interval: The period of time between
changes in the interest rate for an adjustable-rate mortgage. Typical
adjustment intervals are one year, three and five years.
Amortization: The process of paying the principal
and interest on a loan through regularly scheduled installments.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): This is the actual
rate of interest your loan would be if you included all of the other
associated costs such as closing costs and points.
Apartment Conversion: When a rental apartment
building is converted to individually owned units.
Apartment Rehabilitation: Extensive remodeling
of an older apartment building.
Appraisal: An estimate of the value of a property,
make by a qualified professional called an appraiser.
ARM: See Adjustable Rate Mortgage.
Assumable Loans: Loans that can be transferred
to a new owner if a home is sold.
Balloon (Payment) Mortgage: Usually a short-term
fixed-rate loan which involves small payments for a certain period
of time and one large payment for the remaining principal balance,
due at a time specified in the contract.
Basis Points (BP): 1/100th of 1% expressed as
margin over index rate.
BC & D Lender or Loan: The term BC & D
is a rating of the loan. We refer to BC & D as "problem
or troubled" credit rather than using these letters.
Bond Financing: Type of financing that is a promise
to repay the principal along with interest on a specified date.
Buydown: the process of paying additional points on the loan to
reduce the monthly mortgage. There are typically two specific types:
a Permanent Buydown, and a Temporary Buydown. In a Permanent Buydown,
a sufficient amount of interest is prepaid to lower the rate permanently.
In a Temporary Buydown, only a sufficient interest is paid to lower
the payment for the first three years. The reason to Temporarily
Buydown, a loan is to lower the current payments thereby more easily
qualifying for the loan. This usually makes sense because income
will usually continue to increase as the interest does. The most
common Temporary Buydown is called 3-2-1, meaning three percent
lower the first year, tow percent lower the second year, and one
percent lower the third year.
Bridge Loan: Financing which expected to be paid
back relatively quickly, such as by a subsequent longer - term loan.
Also called a swing loan.
Cap: The maximum which an adjustable-rate mortgage
may increase, regardless of index changes. An interest rate cap
limits the amount the interest can change, while a payment cap limits
the increase in monthly payment to a specific dollar amount.
Cap Rate: A net yield set by an investor to determine
the value of an income producing property.
Capital Expenditures: Line items on a profit and
loss statement that would not be expensed on an annual basis. This
category would include replacement of major building systems, such
as roofs, driveways, etc.
Capitalization Rate: A method used to estimate
the value of a property based on the rate of return on investment.
Closing: The meeting between the buyer, seller
and lender (or their agents) where the property and funds legally
change hands. Also referred to as "settlement".
Closing Costs: The cost and fees associated with
the official change in ownership of the property and with obtaining
the mortgage, that are assessed at the closing or settlement.
Commercial Conduit: Direct link to an institutional
Comparative Market Analysis: An estimate of the
value of a property based on an analysis of sales of properties
with similar characteristics.
Conduit: The financial intermediary that sponsors
the conduit between the lender(s) originating loans and he ultimate
investor. The conduit makes or purchases loans from third party
correspondents under standardized terms, underwriting and documents
and then, when sufficient volume has been obtained, pools the loans
for sale to investors in the CBMS markets.
Convertible: An option available on some adjustable
rate mortgages (ARM's) that allows the loan to be converted to fixed
rate mortgage. Conversion usually involves paying a one-time fee
and conversion may be limited to within a certain time - frame.
Cosigner: Someone who is willing to sign mortgage
loan obligation with you in case you default on your monthly payments.
Normally, the cosigner is required to go through the same application
and approval process as the original signer of the loan.
Credit Company: A lending organization that obtains
it source of funds from the commercial market.
Credit Enhancements: A loan to provide improvements
to the property.
Credit Report: A search through your existing
credit history by a qualified credit bureau to determine if, and
the number of times, you may have been delinquent making monthly
payments on previous debts. Even when a credit report is for the
most part positive, many lenders require written explanation for
any negative comments within the credit report. This type of report
is usually required to obtain a mortgage loan.
Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSC): A 1.0 means
breakeven. The ratio is calculated by taking the net operating income
and dividing it by the mortgage payments. Most lenders look for
a ratio of 1.25 or higher.
Debt Service: The periodic payments (principal
and interest) made on a loan.
Debt Ratio: One of several financial calculations
performed by your lender to determine if you can afford a particular
monthly payment. The debt ratio (also known as the obligations ratio)
is the sum of all your monthly debt payments including your total
monthly mortgage payment divided by your total monthly income. Typically
acceptable debt ratios for Conventional Loan are 36 - 38%, FHA Loans
are 41 - 43%, and VA Loans Are 41%.
Discount Rate: Many lenders may offer you a lower
"teaser" rate on an adjustable rate mortgage for the first
adjustment period. After this period is over, the lender will adjust
your loan according to the normal lenders margin rate.
Down - Payment: The amount of money you put down,
normally anywhere from 5 - 25%.
Due Diligence: The legal definition: a measure
of prudence, activity or assiduity, as is properly to be expected
from, and ordinarily exercised by, a reasonable and prudent person
under the particular circumstances. In CMBS: due diligence is the
foundation of the process because of the reliance securities investors
must place on the specific expertise of the professionals involved
in the transaction.
Engineering Report: Report generated by an architect
or engineer describing the current physical condition of the property
and its major building systems, i.e., HVAC, parking lot, roof, etc.
The report also determines an amount for calculating replacement
reserves, if needed.
Environmental Report: Report generated by an qualified
environmental firm to determine potential environmental hazards
in a building's region or within the building itself.
Environmental Risk: Risk of loss of collateral
value and of lender liability due to the presence of hazardous materials,
such as asbestos, PCB's, radon or leaking underground storage tanks
(LUSTS) on a property.
1.The difference between the fair market value and current indebtedness,
also referred to as "owner's interest".
2. The difference between the amount owed on the loan and the current
purchase price of the home or property
Equity Capital: Capital raised from owners. In
a commercial real estate case, a lender will also provide equity
capital for a percentage of ownership.
1. A special account set up by the lender in which money is held
to pay for taxes and insurance.
2. A third party who carries out the instructions of both the buyer
and seller to handle the paperwork at the settlement.
Fair Market Value: An appraisal term for the price
which a property would bring in a competitive market, given a willing
seller and willing buyer, each having a reasonable knowledge of
all pertinent facts, with neither being under any compulsion to
buy and sell.
Fannie Mae: A congressionally chartered corporation
which buys mortgages on the secondary market from Banks, Savings
& Loans, Etc; pools them and sells them as mortgage-backed securities
to investors on the open market. Monthly principal and interest
payments are guaranteed by FNMA but not by the U.S. Government.
FHA: Federal Housing Administration, a government
Fixed Rate Mortgage: A mortgage with an interest
rate that remains constant for the life of the loan. The most common
fixed-rate mortgage is repaid over a period of 30 years; 15-year
fixed-rate mortgage are also available.
Floating Rate Mortgage: See Adjustable Rate Mortgage.
Floor - To - Area Ratio (FAR): The relationship
between the total amount of floor space in a multi - story building
and the base of that building. FAR's are dictated by zoning laws
and vary from one neighborhood to another, in effect stipulating
the maximum number of stories a building may have.
Foreclosure: The process by which a lender takes
back a property on which the mortgagee had defaulted. A servicer
may take over a property from a borrower on half of a lender. A
property usually goes in to the process of foreclosure if payments
are no more than 90 days past due.
Forward Commitment: A written promise from a lender
to provide a loan at a future time.
Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation): Entity
buys loans from conventional lenders and packages them for sale
to investors as securities.
Government Loans: One of two loan types called
FHA or VA loan. These loans are partially backed by the government
and can help veterans and low-to-moderate income families afford
homes. The advantages of these types of loans in that they often
have a lower interest rate, are easier to qualify for, have lower
down-payment requirements, and can be assumed by someone else if
the home is sold. Many mortgage bankers can obtain these type of
loans for you.
Graduated Payment Mortgages: A type of mortgage
where the monthly payments start low but increases by a fixed amount
each year for the first five years. The payment shortfall or negative
amortization is added to the principal balance due on the loan.
The advantages if this type of loan is a lower monthly payment at
the beginning of the loan term. This disadvantages are typically
a slightly higher rate than traditional fixed rate mortgage loan
and lenders usually require a larger down payment. In addition,
the negative amortized amount increases the balance due on the total
loan which can be a problem if the value of the home declines.
Gross Income: Total income, before deducting taxes
and expenses. The scheduled (total) income, either actual or estimated,
derived from a business or property.
Growing Equity Mortgage: A type of mortgage where
the monthly payments start low but increase by a fixed amount each
year for the entire life of the loan as compared to five years with
a Graduate Payment Mortgage. The advantage of this type of loan
is that the loan can usually be paid off in a short duration than
a traditional fixed rate loan. This disadvantage of this loan is
that the payment continues to go up irrelevant of the income of
Hard Equity: High interest rate financing.
Housing Ratio: One of several financial calculations
performed by your lender when applying for a conventional loan to
determine if you can afford a particular monthly payment. The housing
ratio(also known as the income ratio) is your total monthly payment
including taxes and insurance divided by your total monthly income.
Typically acceptable housing ratios for Conventional Loans are 28
- 33% and FHA Loans are 29 - 31%.
HUD: Housing and Urban Development, a federal
Index: An economic indicator, usually a published
interest rate, that determines changes in the interest rate of an
adjustable - rate mortgage. ARM rates are adjusted to reflect changes
in the index. The margin is the amount a lender adds to the index
to establish the actual interest rate on an ARM.
Interest: The sum paid for borrowing money, which
pays the lender's costs of doing business.
Interest Rate: The sum charged for borrowing money,
expressed as a percentage.
Interest Rate Cap: Limits the interest rate or
the interest rate adjustment to a specified maximum. This protects
the borrower from increasing rates.
Interest Shortfall: The aggregate amount of interest
payments from borrowers that is less than the accrued interest on
Investment Banker: An individual or institution
which, acts as an underwriter or agent for corporations and municipalities
issuing securities, but which does not accept deposits or make loans.
Most also maintain broker/dealer operations, maintain markets for
previously issued securities, and offer advisory services to investors
also called investment banker. See also bank, commercial bank, and
Jumbo (Non - Conforming) Loans: A mortgage loan
that exceeds the amount that is acceptable by the government if
the loan were to be resold (on the secondary market) to Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac. Usually, loans with a face value greater than $227,150
(as of 1/1/98).
Lease Assignment: An agreement between the commercial
property owner and the lender that assigns lease payments directly
to the lender.
Leasehold Improvements: The cost of improvements
for a leased property. Often paid by the tenant.
Lender Margin: This is simply the profit the lender
expects to receive from the loan. You can ask your lender what the
margin is on an adjustable rate mortgage. Typically, lenders use
a discount rate initially as a "teaser" rate. You must
be sure to get the normal margin after the discount period is over.
Lines of Credit: An arrangement in which a bank
or vendor extends a specified amount of unsecured credit to a specified
borrower for a specified time period.
Loan origination Fee: The fee charged by a lender,
to prepare all the documents associated with your mortgage.
Lock - In: The process of fixing the interest
rate for a specific period of time irrelevant of future or impending
economical changes to the interest rate. This process may require
a fee or premium as it reduces your risk that the monthly payments
will change while the loan paperwork is filed.
Lock - Out Period: A period of time after loan
origination during which a borrower cannot prepay the mortgage loan.
London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR): The short
- term rate (1year or less) at which banks will lend to each other
in London. Commonly used as a benchmark for adjustable - rate financing.
LTV: Loan to Value: Proposed loan amount divide
by the value of the property.
Margin: The amount that is added to an index rate
to determine the total interest rate.
1. The termination period of a note (e.g., a 30 - year mortgage
has maturity of 30 years.)
2. In sales law, the date a note becomes due.
Mezzanine: Late-stage venture capital financing.
Miniperm: Short term permanent financing, usually
3 to 5 years.
Mortgage Banker: An entity that makes loans with
its own money and then sells the loan to other lenders.
Mortgage Broker: An entity that arranges loans
Mortgage Insurance: A type of insurance changed
by most lenders to offset the risk of your loan when your down payment
is less than 20% of the value of the home.
Mortgage Reduction Programs: A type of Accelerated
payment program whereby payments are made more frequently usually
bi - weekly or weekly rather than the traditional monthly payment.
Making more frequent and accelerated payments reduces the amount
of principal more quickly which interest accumulation is based on.
The net effect can be a savings on the total interest paid
Multi - Family Property Class A: Properties are
above average in terms of design, construction and finish; command
the highest rental rates; have a superior location, in terms of
desirability and / or accessibility; generally are professionally
managed by national or large regional management companies.
Multi - Family Property Class B: Properties frequently
do not possess design and finish reflective of current standards
and preferences; construction is adequate; command average rental
rates; generally are well maintained by national or regional management
companies; unit sizes are usually larger than current standards.
Multi - Family Property Class C: Properties provide
functional housing; exhibit some level of deferred maintenance;
command below average rental rates; usually located in less desirable
areas; generally managed by smaller, local property management companies;
tenants provide a less stable income stream to property owners than
Class A and B tenants.
Negative Amortization: Occurs when interest accrued
during a payment period is greater that the scheduled payment and
the excess amount is added to the outstanding loan balance (e.g.,
if the interest rate on ARM exceeds the interest rate cap, then
the borrower's payment will be sufficient to cover the interest
accrued during the billing period - the unpaid interest is then
added to the outstanding loan balance).
Net Effective Rent: Rental rate adjusted for lease
Net Operating Income (NOI): Total income less
operating expenses, adjustments, etc., but before mortgage payments,
tenant improvements and leasing commissions.
Net - Net Lease (NN): Usually requires the tenant
to pay for property taxes and insurance in addition to the rent.
Notice of Default (NOD): To initiate a non - judicial
foreclosure proceeding involving a public sale of the real property
securing the deed of trust. The trustee under the deed of trust
records a Notice of Default and Election to Sell ("NOD")
the real property collateral in the public records.
Non - Recourse: A finance term. A mortgage or
deed of trust securing a note without recourse allows the lender
to look only to the security (property) for repayment in the event
of default, and not personally to the borrower. A loan not allowing
for a deficiency judgment. The lender's only recourse in the event
of default is the security (property) and the borrower is not personally
Operating Expense: Periodic expenses necessary
to the operation and maintenance of an enterprise (e.g., taxes,
salaries, insurance, maintenance). Often used as a basis for rent
Participation: A type of mortgage where the lender
receives a percentage of the gross revenue in addition to the mortgage
Percentage Lease: Commonly used for large retail
stores. Rent payments include a minimum or "base rent"
plus a percentage of the gross sales "overage." Percentages
generally vary from 1% to 6% of the gross sales depending on the
type of store and sales volume.
Phase I: An assessment and report prepared by
a professional environmental consultant who reviews the property
- both land and improvements - to ascertain the presence or potential
presence of environmental hazards at the property, such as underground
water contamination, PCB's, abandoned disposal of paints and other
chemicals, asbestos and a wide range of other potentially damaging
materials. This Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) provides a review
and makes a recommendation as to whether further investigation is
warranted (a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment). This latter
report would confirm or disavow the presence of an mitigation efforts
that should be undertaken.
PITI: Principal, interest, taxes and insurance.
Your calculated estimated of monthly payments.
Points: Loans fee paid by the borrower. One point
is 1% of the loan amount.
Prepayment Penalty: A Change for paying off a
loan before it is due.
Pre - qualification: The process of determining
the amount of money a particular lender will let you borrow. You
should strive to obtain pre-qualification with at least two or three
Prime Rate: An artificial rate set by commercial
bankers. Many banks will use the Wall Street Prime rate. This is
a rate set by the top lending banks in the country.
1. The amount of debt, not including interest, left on a loan.
2. The face amount of the mortgage.
Property Appraisal: A report showing exactly how
much the particular home
Property Classification: Most lenders will classify
a property by its age and needed maintenance. As an example many
insurance companies will only loan on properties that are class
A, meaning that the properties age is 10 years old or less and is
not in need of repair.
Property Tax: Taxes based on the market value
of a property. Property taxes vary from state to state.
Rate Index: An index used to adjust the interest
rate of an adjustable mortgage loan (e.g., the changes in U.S. Treasury
securities (T-bill) with 1-year maturity. The weekly average yield
on said securities, adjustable to a constant maturity of 1 year,
which is the result of weekly sales, may be obtain weekly from the
Federal Reserve Statistical Release H.15 (519). This changes in
interest rates is the "index" for the change in a specific
Adjustable Mortgage Loan).
Recourse: A loan for which the borrower is personally
liable for payment is the borrower defaults.
REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust): Pooled funds
that purchase and hold commercial real estate.
Refinance: The renewal of an existing loan by
the some borrower.
Rent Step - Up: A lease agreement in which the
rent increases every period for a fixed amount of time or for the
life of the lease.
Replacement Reserves: Monthly deposits that a
lender may require a borrower to a reserve in an account, along
with principal and interest payments for future capital improvements
of major building systems; i.e., HVAC, parking lot, carpets, roof,
Reserve Funds: A portion of the bond proceeds
that are retained to cover losses on the mortgage pool. A form of
credit enhancement (also referred to as "reserve accounts").
Residual Income: The amount of money left over
after you have paid all of your ordinary and necessary debts including
the mortgage. This calculation is typically used with VA loans.
Sale / Lease Back: When a lenders buys a property
and leases it back to the seller for an extended period of time.
Savings & Loans: A federally or state charted
financial institution that takes deposits from individuals, funds
mortgages, and pays dividends.
SBA: Small Business Administration, a federal
Second Mortgage: A mortgage on real estate, which
has already been pledged as collateral for an earlier mortgage.
The second mortgage carries rights, which are subordinate to those
of the first.
Secondary Financing: A loan secured by a mortgage
or trust deed, in which the lien is junior, or secondary, to another
mortgage or trust deed.
Secondary Mortgage Market: The buying and selling
of first mortgages or trust deeds by banks, insurance companies,
government agencies, and other mortgagees. This enables lenders
to keep an adequate supply of money for new loans. The mortgages
may be sold at full value ("par") or above, but are usually
sold at a discount. The secondary mortgage market should not be
confused with a "second mortgage."
Spread: Number of basis points over a base rate
Standby Commitment: A formal offer by a lender
making explicit the terms under which it agrees to lend money to
a borrower over a certain period of time.
Structural Report: (see Engineering Report)
Tax & Insurance Impound: Monthly deposits
that a lender may require to be included with principal and interest
payments for the payment of taxes and insurance.
Tenant Improvements (TI): The expense to physically
improve the property to attract new tenants to new or vacated space
which may include new improvements or remodeling. May be paid by
tenant, landlord, or both. Typically, tenants are provided with
a market rate TI allowance ($/sq. ft.) that the owner will contribute
towards improvements. The tenant must pay for amounts above the
TI allowance desired by the tenant.
Term: The length of a mortgage.
Title: The actual legal document conferring ownership
of a piece of real estate.
Title Insurance: An insurance policy which insures
you against errors in the title search - essentially guaranteeing
your, and your lender's, financial interest in the property.
Triple - Net Lease: A lease that requires the
tenant to pay for property taxes, insurance and maintenance in addition
to the rent (also referred to as " Net Net Net Lease").
Underwriting: The process of deciding whether
to make a loan based on credit, employment, assets and / or other
Uniform Residential Loan Application (1003): This
application, also called a URL - 1003 is the standard loan application
used by all lenders.
Underwriter: The underwriter is the lender or
company who actually provides the money for you loan. A mortgage
broker "brokers" and represents several different underwriters
and depending on your situation they choose the "best"
underwriter for you and your lender.
Upfront Fees: Generally refer to fees charges
to pay for third party costs like appraisals.
VA (Veterans Administration) Loan: A type of government
loan administered by the Veterans Administration. Eligibility for
VA loan is restricted and limited to qualifying veterans, and to
certain home types. You need to check with the VA to determine if
you qualify. The maximum VA Loan is $184,000.
Workouts: Attempts to resolve a problematic situation,
such as a bad loan.
Yield Maintenance: A prepayment premium that allows
investors to attain the same yield as if the borrower made all scheduled
mortgage payments until maturity. Yield maintenance premiums are
designed to make investors indifferent to prepayments and to make
refinancing unattractive and uneconomical to borrowers.
Yield To Average Life: Yield calculation used,
in lieu of "Yield to Maturity" or "Yield to Call,"
where books are retired systematically during the life of the issue,
as in the case of a "Sinking Fund," with contractual requirements.
Because the issuer will buy its own bonds on the open market to
satisfy its sinking fund requirement if the bonds are trading below
Par, there is, to that extent, automatic price support for such
bonds; they therefore tend to trade on a yield - to - average -
Yield To Maturity (YTM): Concepts used to determine
the rate of return an investor will receive if a long - term, interest
- bearing investment, such as a bond, is held to its maturity date.
It take into account purchase price, redemption value, time to maturity,
coupon yield and the time between interest payments. Recognizing
time value of money, it is the discount tare at which the present
value of all future payments would equal the present price of the
bond (also referred to as "internal rate of return").
It is implicitly assumed that coupons are reinvested at the YTM
rate. YTM cam be approximated using a bond value table (also referred
as a "bond yield table") or can be determined using a
programmable calculator equipped for bond mathematics calculations.