New Construction in Rancho Mission Viejo just south of Ladera Ranch

New Home Construction, Orange County

Click the slide show below to see photos of some of the beautiful homes.

There are many projects underway in Orange County.  Some in the beginning stages some in the latter stages.  All the builders are offering great products and the information on the web is extremely vague and sometimes misleading.  The main reason for this is that they want you to visit the properties.  Buying new construction has a tremendous upside but, it requires patience and time to find your best fit solution.

My favorite project is Rancho Mission Viejo. A beautifully designed master planned community off Ortega Highway and Antonio Parkway just south of Ladera Ranch.

What is going on with Foreclosures in Orange County

The influence of foreclosures and short sales on the housing market is minimal.

Distressed: foreclosures and short sales make up only 5% of the overall inventory in Orange County.

It is amazing how often people ask about foreclosures. Buyers want to buy a foreclosure. Investors want to buy foreclosures. Shadow inventory? Empty foreclosures intentionally held off the market? When’s the wave?

The reality is that as the interest in distressed homes has grown exponentially, the number of foreclosures and short sales placed on the market has dropped dramatically. Buyers and investors wishes for more distressed sales have become nothing more than wishful thinking. The more they ask, the less they find.

New 3 Bedroom Home in Woodbury Irvine, CA

Just Listed 3 Bedroom Home Irvine, CA

New 3 Bedroom Home in Woodbury Irvine, CA.  Beautiful Model Perfect Home with designer upgrades in the highly sought after Woodbury Community of Irvine! This property is located on a cul-de-sac and features 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and includes Master Bedrooms downstairs and upstairs. Beautiful hardwood floors leads you to the Kitchen highlighting granite counter tops, a breakfast bar, and stainless steel appliances including a double oven. The Living Room includes a built in media center, double sided fireplace and whole house surround sound system. Down stairs the Master Suite features a large walk-in closet, a relaxing jetted Jacuzzi tub, and plenty of space. The upstairs loft is ideal for a second family room and kids play area. Woodbury’s amenities are unparalleled boasting 7 pools, a clubhouse, football and baseball fields, beach volleyball, tennis and basketball courts, BBQs and fire pits. Woodbury Elementary is one of Irvine’s top schools and is only a short distance away.

Rancho Santa Margarita Open House

Open House Saturday and Sunday

10/9/13 and 10/10/13 from 1-4pm

Rancho Santa margarita Open House.  Recently upgraded 2 bedroom 2 bath corner unit in the in the wonderful Belfora community of RSM.  Great spacious floor plan with nearly 20k in upgrades including matching granite counters and travertine floors in the kitchen and baths.  Plenty of light offered with its numerous windows or enjoy privacy with the California Shutters.  Relax on the patio surrounded by trees with no other buildings in front or on the side of you.  Well kept complex with recently painted exteriors. Monthly HOA dues includes Association pools, tennis courts, Basketball Courts, RSM lake, Beach Club, Club House, Man made beach, skate park, dog park, and more. The property is close to the RSM lake, shopping, schools, parks, hiking, parks & recreation. Centrally located to freeway & toll road.

Aliso Viejo Open House Saturday

4 Bedroom Open House Saturday

October 26th 1-4pm


4 Bedroom Home in Aliso Viejo Open House Saturday.  Highly upgraded home, great condition in the Tiburon Community. This home is Must see! one of the  Largest models in the tract, Upgraded  Gourmet Kitchen Open To the Family Room with a huge living room nice and bright. gorgeous back yard with hot tub, waterfall, flagstone decking around spa and built in barbecue. 4th bedroom currently used as a loft/office.

Buyer Optimism is Way Up for Orange County Real Estate

Home Buyer Optimism

Buyer optimism is up.

So what does that mean?

  • For starters main street is coming around.  After 1 year of getting outbid by cash purchasers, buyers have an opportunity at getting in a home they desire.(obviously at higher prices)
  • This does not mean it is too late.  It is just too late if you plan on buying a home only to resell in a couple months to a couple years.  Those big profits would have been 2 years to about 8 months ago.

Just Listed 4 Bedroom Home in Aliso Viejo

4 Lanterna Aliso Viejo – $645,000

This model perfect home in Aliso Viejo has been beautifully upgraded throughout. The custom porcelain wood accented flooring leads to a gorgeous eat in kitchen with granite counter tops, brand new stainless steel appliances, and a center Island with seating for up to six people. Open the windows and enjoy the coastal breeze that comes in from the canyon, or take advantage of the California Shutters to provide an intimate environment. The upstairs has a laundry room with open hallways leading to four bedrooms, including a spacious master suite with a Jacuzzi tub. The home has been freshly painted inside and out and the brand new vinyl fencing provides privacy in the backyard. Relax in the quaint community laying out by the large pool or unwind in the hot tub. Around the corner you will find breathtaking views of the Aliso Wilderness Park, where you can hike or mountain bike to Laguna Beach.

How to purchase a home in Orange County

Below are the last steps(4 and 5) on how to purchase a home in Orange County.

Negotiate the Offer

Buyers sometimes make the mistake of comparing the sales price of a home to other homes they have seen. It’s a mistake to compare sales prices among homes for sale. That’s because sellers can ask any price they want. It doesn’t mean the home will sell at that price.

  • An agent can provide comparable sales and examine the pending sales. Comparable sales are similar type homes in the same condition and location that have sold within the past 3 months
  • Pending sales will become the comparable sales by the time your home closes.

You may need to pay over list price in a seller’s market(Orange County is experiencing a very aggressive Sellers’ market) , many buyer are bidding on the same property.  This will bring bidding wars and bring in offers above asking and even above market prices.

  • Your agent can give you a reasonable price range and help to manage your expectations.
  • A good buyer’s agent knows there is always more to an offer than its price, but price is paramount.

Do a Home Inspection

In CA a home inspection is a contract contingency.

  • A contract contingency means a buyer has the right to cancel the contract.
  • You might not want to be locked in to buying a home that has a faulty foundation, for example
  • This can be waived but is unadvisable.  REOs and Short Sales are sold “AS IS” meaning you can still perform an inspection and back out of the contract, but the Bank will not do the repairs
  • Contingencies will be released once both parties have been satisfied with the offer(for the seller) and the home condition(for the buyer)
  • When contengencies are released you have a mutually and fiscal measures can be taken

Sellers are generally not required to make repairs if problems are discovered during a home inspection. A home inspection is for the buyer’s edification. However, sometimes when a buyer gives a Request for Repair to the seller, rather than blow the deal, the seller will often agree to make a repair.

In Orange County the sellers are refusing almost all request because they know the can most likely get a even higher price if the buyer backs out.  The reason for this is Orange County has seen a 30% year over year appreciation in homes since June of 2012.  That is an average of nearly 3% a month and possibly more in the most recent months.  The largest wave of appreciation has happened since the beginning of the year.

This is just the simplified version of purchasing a home and I hope that this can give you potential future holders of the American Dream a plan of action.  I am always available so fell free to call or email me.

Patrick Parry



How to Buy a home in Orange County

This is going over steps 2 and 3 of purchasing a home.

2. Find a Home to Buy

Buying a home can be an overwhelming process and emotionally draining. Finding the right home is not always an easy task.

  • I advise buyers to look at a maximum of 7 homes at a time because any more than that will make a buyer’s head spin.
  • Most buyers conduct a lot of research online before ever stepping foot in a home.
  • Buyers spend an average of 6 to 8 weeks, according to the National Association of REALTORS, trying to figure out where they want to live.
  • But once the neighborhood is selected, most buyers end up buying a home after 2 or 3 home tours.

Orange County Food Drive Thursday 5/9/2013

RED Day (Renew, Energize and Donate) is an initiative dedicated to celebrating Keller Williams Realty’s year-round commitment to improving our local communities. Each year, on the second Thursday in May, tens of thousands of associates from across the United States and Canada participate in a wide range of projects, devoting our time to renewing and energizing aspects of the neighborhoods in which we serve.

This year, your local agents from Keller William’s Mission Viejo are asking for your support in our RED Day food drive!  This food drive, sponsored by Second Harvest Food Bank, is geared towards helping the whopping 400,000 people within Orange County who are at risk of hunger.

How to Purchase a Home in Orange County, CA

There are really only 5 basic steps to buying a home. You can do these 5 steps in any order you want.  In this I will go over the first step.  The next steps will be covered in later post.

dreaming of a home

Hire an Agent

Because I am an agent, I believe in hiring a buyer’s agent first. But you don’t have to if you prefer to go to open houses and look through a large list of homes online. Mostly, an agent will save you time.  Interview agents ask questions find out what sets them apart in this challenging market.

How to conduct a For Sale by Owner in Orange County

Though it’s the exception rather than the rule, selling a house without an agent can be done. With some hard work and good research, you may be able to save a lot of money — up to 7 percent in some cases. Keep in mind that those savings can be hard to achieve and are very market dependent, especially if brokers are cutting their rates.

How to Find a Real Estate Agent in Orange County

It’s probably best to find an agent who belongs to the National Association of Realtors and the local Orange County Association of Realtors, so you know that he or she is bound by a code of ethics. Ask people you know who have dealt with realtors for a referral. Pay attention to the listings in your area and to how quickly those homes sell. Going to an open house will also allow you to meet the agent personally and “pre-screen” him or her.

Once you find an agent, don’t sign a contract immediately. First, take time to interview the agent to see if this is a person you want working for you. You want an agent who asks you questions and appears interested in your home, so you should treat this like a job interview. Here are some good questions to ask a prospective agent:

How to Sell a House in Orange County

How to Sell a House in Orange County

Selling a house is a complicated process, no matter how good the real estate market is. Whether you’re a first-time home seller or not, you’ll probably have a bunch of questions. Do I need a real estate agent? What’s “closing”? How much paperwork am I going to have to fill out? How can I get the best price for my house? How can I sell my house and buy a new one at the same time?

There are two main ways to sell your home — with an agent or without one. Before we discuss and weigh each option, let’s go over some general tips that all sellers should know.

Do I Need a Real Estate Agent?

Though the Internet has made it easier to sell your home without an agent, about 93 percent of home sales are still done with some type of real estate agent. An agent can work independently or for a company that acts as the broker. The broker signs the agreement with the seller. Top agents receive 100 percent of the commission and pay a fee to the broker while less experienced agents get 30 percent to 40 percent of the commission.  The Orange County market has shown to be consistently one of the most competitive markets in the Nation with prices averaging in the top 1% of the United States.  For this reason many Realtors have started to work as a team creating a business structure that brings unsurpassed value to the home owner and each team member.

There are many reasons why hiring an agent can be helpful:

  • Education and experience – A good realtor understands the complex procedure and paperwork involved in selling a home.
  • Saves time and energy – You won’t have to spend time scheduling and conducting tours of your home, which cut into your work and weekends.
  • Gauging offers – An agent can help discern serious buyers from those who are simply looking
  • The market – A good realtor knows the market and understands trends, which can help your bottom line.  The Orange County market is experiencing low inventory levels and buyers are extremely motivated right now.  A good Realtor will help you take advantage of this and utilize the current market to get you a price you probably did not think you could.
  • Negotiation – An agent has the negotiating skills to help you get a good price.
  • Professional contacts – Your agent’s contacts with other realtors and with contractors, inspectors, landscapers and the like can help you find a solution for any problem you may encounter.
  • Sale price –  A good realtor will get you top dollar and the end figure after the commission will more times than not exceed the figure that you could have gotten on your own.  In some cases, buyers will offer less money to someone who’s not using an agent, believing the seller is trying to save money by not paying commission.

A key tool for real estate agents is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a massive online database, which 900,000 agents subscribe to, that contains listings of 90 percent of properties for sale across the United States.  Buyers can access the service for free at however the information is not updated and can be inaccurate and misleading.

With all of the benefits that come with using an agent, there are some drawbacks.

  • Most importantly, it’s very expensive. Commissions can run up to 6 percent of the house’s sale price, though many agents are willing to negotiate commission, especially in a good housing market
  • Working with an agent also requires a certain degree of trust, a willingness to place your most valuable possession in a stranger’s
  • That, along with letting go of any sentimental attachments you may have to your house, is part of a home sale



processSilverman, Jacob. “How Selling a House Works” 06 December 2006. <> 28 March 2013.

Local Schools

Our team often receives inquiries regarding local schools. Below is a list of the local schools and a link to their websites.

Private Schools
There are many private schools throughout Orange County. We have found a web page that has more information on a long list of available private schools. These private schools are broken down by area.VIEW LIST OF PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN ORANGE COUNTY
Schools and Districts
Anaheim City Laguna Beach Unified
Anaheim Union High La Habra City
Brea-Olinda Unified Los Alamitos Unified
Buena Park Lowell Joint
Capistrano Unified Magnolia
Centralia Newport-Mesa Unified
Cypress Ocean View
Fountain Valley Orange Unified
Fullerton Placentia-Yorba Linda
Fullerton Joint Union High Saddleback Valley Unified
Garden Grove Unified Santa Ana Unified
Huntington Beach City Savanna
Huntington Beach Union High Tustin Unified
Irvine Unified Westminster
Charter Schools
Journey School – Aliso Viejo
Higher Education – Community Colleges and Universities
Coast Community College – Costa Mesa Santiago Canyon College – Orange
Coastline Community College – Fountain Valley Cal State University Fullerton – Fullerton
Cypress College – Cypress Chapman University – Orange
Fullerton College – Fullerton Concordia University – Irvine
Golden West College – Huntington Beach Soka University – Aliso Viejo
Irvine Valley College – Irvine University of California, Irvine – Irvine
Orange Coast College – Costa Mesa University of Redlands – Santa Ana
Saddleback College – Mission Viejo Vanguard University – Costa Mesa
Santa Ana College – Santa Ana
This information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. This information is provided by a third party. Information provided is subject to change without notice.

City Information

My team and I have put together a list of valuable links related to the Cities of Orange County, CA. These links include information about the city such as weather, city census and statistical data as well as businesses. Additionally, we have included links to all of the city websites. Some cities listed are actually part of another city and the links will go to the parent city in the case where the listed city does not have its own city information or website. The document column contains available documents with more information on each city. These documents are coutesy of California Title Company. You may get more information from

County Name Website Weather Data Document
Orange County Visit N/A Get Data none
City Name Website Weather Data Document
Aliso Viejo Visit View Get Data none
Anaheim Visit View Get Data none
Brea Visit View Get Data none
Buena Park Visit View Get Data none
Corona Del Mar Visit View Get Data none
Costa Mesa Visit View Get Data none
Coto de Caza Visit View Get Data Available
Cypress Visit View Get Data none
Dana Point Visit View Get Data Available
Dove Canyon Visit View Get Data none
Foothill Ranch Visit View Get Data none
Fountain Valley Visit View Get Data none
Fullerton Visit View Get Data none
Garden Grove Visit View Get Data none
Huntington Beach Visit View Get Data Available (N) (S)
Irvine Visit View Get Data Available
La Habra Visit View Get Data none
La Palma Visit View Get Data none
Ladera Ranch Visit View Get Data none
Laguna Beach Visit View Get Data Available
Laguna Hills Visit View Get Data Available
Laguna Niguel Visit View Get Data Available
Laguna Woods Visit View Get Data none
Lake Forest Visit View Get Data Available
Los Alamitos Visit View Get Data none
Mission Viejo Visit View Get Data Available
Monarch Beach Visit View Get Data none
Newport Beach Visit View Get Data Available
Orange Visit View Get Data none
Placentia Visit View Get Data none
Rancho Santa Margarita Visit View Get Data Available
San Clemente Visit View Get Data Available
San Juan Capistrano Visit View Get Data Available
Santa Ana Visit View Get Data none
Seal Beach Visit View Get Data none
Stanton Visit View Get Data none
Trabuco Canyon Visit View Get Data none
Tustin Visit View Get Data none
Villa Park Visit View Get Data none
Westminster Visit View Get Data none
Yorba Linda Visit View Get Data none
This information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. This information is provided by a third party. Information provided is subject to change without notice.

Neighborhood Information

Our team often receives inquiries regarding neighborhood information including detailed demographics data. Below is a link to a powerful system that allows you to search by street and city to get a detailed report on everything from population to unemployment to school information. This information is provided through a third party to The Orange County Association of Realtors. The Orange County Association of Realtors has additional information available for consumers. If you are interested in more information about the Orange County Association of Realtors, you may visit their website:


Real Estate Dictionary

Our team often receives inquiries regarding the meaning of various terms used in the Real Estate Industry. Below is a list of definitions of common real estate terms compiled by the California Association of Realtors. If you are interested in more consumer information from the California Association of Realtors, you may visit their website:

7/23 and 5/25 Mortgages Mortgages with a one-time rate adjustment after seven years and five years, respectively.
3/1, 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 ARMs Adjustable-rate mortgages in which the rate is fixed for three-year, five-year, seven-year and 10-year periods, respectively, but may adjust annually after that.
Acceleration The right of the mortgagee (lender) to demand the immediate repayment of the mortgage loan balance upon the default of the mortgager (borrower), or by using the right vested in the due-on-sale clause.
Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM) A loan on which the monthly payments will increase or decrease over time, based on changes in the ARM?s interest rate index. ARM payments typically are adjusted every six months or once a year. Common indices to which ARMs are tied include the 11th District Cost of Funds, one-year T-note and six-month T-bill.
Adjusted Basis The cost of a property plus the value of any capital expenditure for improvements to the property minus any depreciation taken.
Adjustment Date The date that the interest rate changes on an adjustable-rate mortgage.
Adjustment Interval The interval between changes on an adjustable-rate mortgage in the interest rate and/or monthly payment; typically one, three or five years depending on the index.
Adjustment Period The period elapsing between adjustment dates for an adjustable-rate mortgage.
Affordability Analysis An analysis of a buyer?s ability to afford the purchase of a home. Reviews income, liabilities and available funds. Considers the type of mortgage you plan to use, the area where you want to purchase a home and the probable closing costs.
Amortization The gradual repayment of a mortgage through monthly (e.g. installment) payments. In the early years of a mortgage, most of the monthly payment goes toward interest. Later in the mortgage, more of the payment goes toward reducing the loan?s principal balance.
Amortization Term The length of time required to amortize the mortgage loan expressed as a number of months. For example, 360 months is the amortization term for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) The annual cost of a mortgage, including interest, loan fees and other costs, stated as a percentage of the loan amount.
Appraisal/Appraised Value An opinion of the market value of a home expressed by a real estate appraiser.
Arbitration The term used to describe a form of dispute resolution that occurs outside of the court system, usually by private agreement between parties. Basically, arbitration is a dispute resolution system where the parties submit arguments and evidence to a neutral person, known as the arbitrator, who then renders a decision, called an award, based upon the evidence and arguments presented.
Assessment A local tax levied against a property for a specific community purpose, such as a sewer or streetlights.
Assignment The transfer of a contractual interest or obligation from one person to another such as, but not limited to, a transfer of a mortgage obligation. Assignment is a legal term used to transfer interest from one contract to another.
Assumable Mortgage An assumable mortgage can be transferred from the seller to the new buyer. Generally requires a credit review of the new borrower and lenders may charge a fee for the assumption. If a mortgage contains a due-on-sale clause, a new buyer may not assume the mortgage.
Assumption The agreement between buyer and seller where the buyer takes over the payments on an existing mortgage from the seller. Assuming a loan can usually save the buyer money by acquiring an existing mortgage debt, instead of obtaining a new mortgage where closing costs and market-rate interest charges will apply.
Assumption Fee The fee paid to a lender (usually by the purchaser of real property) when an assumption takes place.
Balloon Mortgage A loan that is amortized for a longer period than the term of the loan. Usually this refers to a 30-year amortization and a five-year term. At the end of the term of the loan, the remaining outstanding principal on the loan is due.
Balloon Payment The final lump sum paid at the maturity date of a balloon mortgage.
Biweekly Payment Mortgage A plan to make mortgage payments every two weeks (instead of the standard monthly payment schedule). The 26 (or 27) biweekly payments are each equal to one-half of the monthly payment required if the loan were a standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The result for the borrower is a substantial saving in interest.
Blanket Mortgage A mortgage covering at least two pieces of real estate as security for the same mortgage.
Borrower (Mortgager) One who applies for and receives a loan in the form of a mortgage with the intention of repaying the loan in full.
Bridge Loan A second trust for which the borrower?s present home is collateral, allowing the proceeds to be used to close on a new house before the present home is sold. Also known as a “swing loan.”
Broker An individual who assists with arranging funding or negotiating contracts for a client but who does not loan the money himself or herself. Brokers usually charge a fee or receive a commission for their services.
Buy-down When the lender and/or the homebuilder subsidize a mortgage by lowering the interest rate during the first few years of the loan. While the payments are initially low, they will increase when the subsidy expires.
Caps Provisions of an adjustable-rate mortgage limiting how much the interest rate can change at each adjustment period (e.g., every six months, once a year) or over the life of the loan (rate cap). A payment cap limits how much the payment due on the loan can increase or decrease.
Cash Flow The amount of cash derived over a certain period of time from an income-producing property. The cash flow should be large enough to pay the expenses of the income-producing property (mortgage payment, maintenance, utilities, etc.).
Certificate of Eligibility The document given to qualified veterans entitling them to VA-guaranteed loans for homes, businesses and mobile homes. Certificates of eligibility may be obtained by sending form DD-214 (Separation Paper) to the local Veterans Affairs office with VA form 1880 (request for Certificate of Eligibility).
Certificate of Reasonable Value (CRV) An appraisal issued by Veterans Affairs showing the property?s current market value.
Certificate of Veteran Status The document given to veterans or reservists who have served 90 days of continuous active duty (including training time). It may be obtained by sending DD 214 to the local Veterans Affairs office with form 26-8261a (request for certificate of veteran status; this document enables veterans to obtain lower downpayments on certain FHA-insured loans).
Change Frequency The frequency (in months) of payment and/or interest rate changes on an adjustable-rate mortgage.
Closing The meeting at which a home sale is finalized. The buyer signs the mortgage, pays closing costs and receives title to the home. The seller pays closing costs and receives the net proceeds from the home sale.
Closing Costs Expenses in addition to the price of the home incurred by buyers and sellers when a home is sold. Common closing costs include escrow fees, title insurance fees, document recording fees and real estate commissions.
COFI An adjustable-rate mortgage with a rate that adjusts based on a cost-of-funds index, often the 11th District Cost of Funds.
Construction Loan A short-term interim loan to pay for the construction of buildings or homes. These are usually designed to provide periodic disbursements to the builder as he or she progresses.
Consumer Reporting Agency (or Bureau) An organization that handles the preparation of reports used by lenders to determine a potential borrower?s credit history. The agency gets data for these reports from a credit repository and other sources.
Contingency A condition that must be fulfilled before a contract is binding.
Contract Sale or Deed A contract between purchaser and seller of real estate to convey title after certain conditions have been met. It is a form of installment sale.
Conventional Mortgage A loan not guaranteed, insured or made by the federal or state government.
Conversion Clause A provision in an adjustable-rate mortgage allowing the loan to be converted to a fixed-rate mortgage at some point during the term. Usually conversion is allowed at the end of the first adjustment period. The conversion feature may cost extra.
Counteroffer An offer in response to an original offer.
Credit Report A report documenting the credit history and current status of a borrower?s credit standing.
Credit Risk Score A credit risk score is a statistical summary of the information contained in a consumer?s credit report. The most well-known type of credit risk score is the Fair, Isaac or FICO score. This form of credit scoring is a mathematical summary calculation that assigns numerical values to various pieces of information in the credit report. The overall credit risk score is highly relative in the credit underwriting process for a mortgage loan.
Default Failure to meet legal obligations in a contract, specifically, failure to make the monthly payments on a mortgage.
Deferred Interest When a mortgage is written with a monthly payment that is less than required to satisfy the note rate, the unpaid interest is deferred by adding it to the loan balance.
Delinquency Failure to make payments on time. This can lead to foreclosure.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) An independent agency of the federal government that guarantees long-term, low- or no-downpayment mortgages to eligible veterans.
Debt-To-Income (DTI) Ratio The ratio of monthly debt payments to monthly gross income. Lenders use a housing DTI ratio (house payment divided by monthly income) and a total DTI ratio (total debt payments including the house payment divided by monthly income) to determine whether a borrower?s income qualifies him or her for a mortgage.
Deed A legal document conveying ownership of property.
Downpayment The portion of the home?s purchase price the buyer pays in cash.
Due-on-Sale-Clause A provision in a mortgage or deed of trust that allows the lender to demand immediate payment of the balance of the mortgage if the mortgage holder sells the home.
Earnest Money The deposit given by a buyer to a seller to show that the buyer is serious about purchasing the home. Earnest money usually is refundable to homebuyers in the event a contingency of the sales contract cannot be met.
Entitlement The Veterans Affairs home loan benefit (i.e., entitlement for a VA-guaranteed home loan). This is also known as eligibility.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) A federal law requiring lenders and other creditors to make credit equally available without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, or receipt of income from public assistance programs.
Equity The difference between a home?s value and the mortgage amount owed on the home.
Escrow The holding of documents and money by a neutral third party prior to closing.
Escrow Disbursements The use of escrow funds to pay real estate taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance and other property expenses as they become due.
Escrow Payment The part of a mortgager?s monthly payment that is held by the servicer to pay for taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, lease payments and other items as they become due.
Exclusive Right to Sell Listing A contract giving an agent the exclusive right to market a property under a certain time frame.
Exclusive Agency Listing A contract giving the broker the right to market an owner?s property for a certain period of time, but also allowing the owner to sell the property during that period without paying a commission.
Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) Provides financing to farmers and other qualified borrowers who are unable to obtain loans elsewhere.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) A division of the Department of Housing and Urban Development whose main activity is insuring residential mortgage loans made by private lenders. FHA also sets standards for underwriting mortgages.
Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) A privately owned corporation created by Congress that purchases and sells conventional residential mortgages as well as those insured by Federal Housing Administration or guaranteed by Veterans Affairs. This institution, which provides funds for one in seven mortgages, makes mortgage money more available and more affordable. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the key secondary mortgage-market agencies.
FHA Loan A loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration open to all qualified home purchasers. While there are limits to the size of FHA loans, they are generous enough to handle moderately priced homes almost anywhere in the country.
FHA Mortgage Insurance Requires a fee (up to 2.25 percent of the loan amount) paid at closing to insure the loan with FHA. In addition, FHA mortgage insurance requires an annual fee of up to 0.5 percent of the current loan amount, paid in monthly installments. The lower the downpayment, the more years the fee must be paid.
Firm Commitment A promise by Federal Housing Administration to insure a mortgage loan for a specified property and borrower. A promise from a lender to make a mortgage loan.
First Mortgage The primary lien against a property.
Fixed Installment The monthly payment due on a mortgage loan, including payment of both principal and interest.
Fixed-Rate Mortgage (FRM) A loan on which the interest rate and monthly payment do not change.
For Sale By Owner (FSBO) The owner sells his or her home without a REALTOR® to avoid paying a sales commission.
Foreclosure A legal process by which the lender or the seller forces a sale of a mortgaged property because the borrower has not met the terms of the mortgage. Also known as a repossession of property.
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) A quasi-governmental, privately owned agency that purchases conventional mortgage from insured depository institutions and HUD-approved mortgage bankers. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the key secondary mortgage-market agencies
Fully Amortized ARM An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) with a monthly payment that is sufficient to amortize the remaining balance, at the interest accrual rate, over the amortization term.
Graduated-Payment Mortgage (GPM) A type of flexible-payment mortgage where the payments increase for a specified period of time and then level off. This type of mortgage has negative amortization built into it.
Growing-Equity Mortgage (GEM) A fixed-rate mortgage that provides scheduled payment increases over an established period of time. The increased amount of the monthly payment is applied directly toward reducing the remaining balance of the mortgage.
Guaranty A promise by one party to pay a debt or perform an obligation contracted by another if the original party fails to pay or perform according to a contract.
Guarantee Mortgage A mortgage that is guaranteed by a third party.
Hazard Insurance A form of insurance in which the insurance company protects the insured from specified losses, such as fire, windstorm and the like.
Homeowner?s Warranty A policy that covers certain repairs (e.g. plumbing or heating) of a newly purchased home for a certain period of time.
Housing Expenses-to-Income Ratio The ratio, expressed as a percentage, which results when a borrower?s housing expenses are divided by his or her gross monthly income.
HUD-1 statement A document that provides an itemized listing of the funds that are payable at closing. Items that appear on the statement include real estate commissions, loan fees, points and initial escrow amounts. A separate number within a standardized numbering system represents each item on the statement. The totals at the bottom of the HUD-1 statement define the seller?s net proceeds and the buyer?s net payment at closing.
Impound Account An account established by a lender to collect a borrower?s property tax and insurance payments. Impound accounts are normally required on mortgages with down payments of 10 percent or less.
Index A published interest rate against which lenders measure the difference between the current interest rate on an adjustable rate mortgage and that earned by other investments (such as one-, three- and five-year U.S. Treasury security yields, the monthly average interest rate on loans closed by savings and loan institutions, and the monthly average costs-of-funds incurred by savings and loans), which is then used to adjust the interest rate on an adjustable mortgage up or down.
Indexed rate The sum of the published index plus the margin. For example if the index were 9 percent and the margin 2.75 percent, the indexed rate would be 11.75 percent. Often, lenders charge less than the indexed rate the first year of an adjustable-rate mortgage.
Initial Interest Rate This refers to the original interest rate of the mortgage at the time of closing. This rate changes for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). It?s also known as “start rate” or “teaser.”
Installment The regular periodic payment that a borrower agrees to make to a lender.
Insured Mortgage A mortgage that is protected by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or by private mortgage insurance (MI).
Interest The fee charged for borrowing money.
Interest Accrual Rate The percentage rate at which interest accrues on the mortgage. In most cases, it is also the rate used to calculate the monthly payments.
Interest Rate Buydown Plan An arrangement that allows the property seller to deposit money to an account. That money is then released each month to reduce the mortgagor?s monthly payments during the early years of a mortgage.
Interest Rate Ceiling For an adjustable-rate mortgage, the maximum interest rate as specified in the mortgage note.
Interest Rate Floor For an adjustable-rate mortgage, the minimum interest rate as specified in the mortgage note.
Interim Financing A construction loan made during completion of a building or a project. A permanent loan usually replaces this loan after completion.
Investor A money source for a lender.
Lease-Purchase Mortgage Loan An alternative financing option that allows low- and moderate-income homebuyers to lease a home with an option to buy. Each month?s rent payment consists of principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI) payments on the first mortgage plus an extra amount that accumulates in a savings account for a downpayment.
Liabilities A person?s financial obligations. Liabilities include long-term and short-term debt.
Lien A claim upon a piece of property for the payment or satisfaction of a debt or obligation.
Lifetime Payment Cap For an adjustable-rate mortgage, a limit on the amount that payments can increase or decrease over the life of the mortgage.
Lifetime Rate Cap For an adjustable-rate mortgage, a limit on the amount that the interest rate can increase or decrease over the life of the loan.
Listing A property placed on the market by a listing agent.
Loan A sum of borrowed money (principal) that is generally repaid with interest.
Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratio The ratio of the amount of money owed on a home to the home?s value. The LTV ratio for a $100,000 home financed with a $90,000 mortgage would be 90 percent, for example.
Lock Lender?s guarantee that the mortgage rate quoted will be good for a specific number of days from day of application.
Margin The amount a lender adds to the index on an adjustable-rate mortgage to establish the adjusted interest rate.
Market Value The highest price that a buyer would pay and the lowest price a seller would accept on a property. Market value may be different from the price a property could actually be sold for at a given time.
Maturity The date on which the principal balance of a loan becomes due and payable.
Mediation A process used to resolve disputes. In mediation, the parties to the dispute are assisted by a neutral third person called a mediator. The mediator is not empowered to impose a settlement or decision on the parties; rather, the mediator facilitates discussions and negotiation between the parties with the goal of assisting the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable settlement of their dispute.
MIP (Mortgage Insurance Premium) Insurance from FHA to the lender against incurring a loss on account of the borrower?s default.
Monthly Fixed Installment That portion of the total monthly payment that is applied toward principal and interest. When a mortgage negatively amortizes, the monthly fixed installment does not include any amount for principal reduction and doesn?t cover all of the interest. The loan balance therefore increases instead of decreasing.
Mortgage A legal document that pledges a property to the lender as security for payment of a debt.
Mortgage Banker A company that originates mortgages for sale into the secondary mortgage market (e.g., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).
Mortgage Broker An individual or company that arranges mortgage financing between a borrower and a lender.
Mortgagee The lender.
Mortgage Insurance Money paid to insure the mortgage when the down payment is less than 20 percent.
Mortgage Life Insurance A type of term life insurance specifying that in the event that the borrower dies while the policy is in force, the debt is automatically paid by insurance proceeds.
Mortgage Interest Deduction The ability of mortgage borrowers to deduct the interest paid on a home loan for purposes of federal and state income taxes.
Mortgager The borrower or homeowner.
Multiple Listings Service (MLS) The service combines the listings for all available homes in an area, except for For-Sale-By-Owner properties, in one directory or database.
Negative Amortization Occurs when monthly payments are not large enough to pay all the interest due on the loan. This unpaid interest is added to the unpaid balance of the loan. The danger of negative amortization is that the homebuyer ends up owing more than the original amount of the loan.
Net Effective Income The borrower?s gross income minus federal income tax.
Net Listing A listing agreement in which the broker?s commission consists of the amount above a net price set by the owner. If the net price is not met, a commission is not earned.
Non-assumption Clause A statement in a mortgage contract forbidding the assumption of the mortgage without the prior approval of the lender.
Note A legal document that obligates a borrower to repay a mortgage loan at a stated interest rate during a specified period of time.
One-year Adjustable Mortgage whose annual rate changes yearly. The rate is usually based on movements of a published index plus a specified margin chosen by the lender.
Open Listing A property marketed by more than one agent at a time.
Origination Fee A fee charged by a lender for making a mortgage.
Owner Financing A property purchase transaction in which the party selling the property provides all or part of the financing.
Payment Change Date The date when a new monthly payment amount takes effect on an adjustable-rate mortgage or a graduated-payment mortgage. Generally, the payment change date occurs in the month immediately after the adjustment date.
Periodic Payment Cap A limit on the amount that payments can increase or decrease during any one adjustment period.
Periodic Rate Cap A limit on the amount that the interest rate can increase or decrease during any one adjustment period, regardless of how high or low the index might be.
Permanent Loan A long-term mortgage, usually 10 years or more. Also called an “end loan.”
PITI Principal, interest, taxes and insurance — the primary components of a monthly mortgage payment.
Pledged-account Mortgage (PAM) Money is placed in a pledged savings account and this fund plus earned interest is gradually used to reduce mortgage payments.
Points One point equals 1 percent of the mortgage amount. Points are charged by lenders to increase the lender?s return on the mortgage. Typically, lenders may charge anywhere from zero to two points. Loan points are tax-deductible.
Power of Attorney A legal document authorizing one person to act on behalf of another.
Pre-approval The process of determining how much money you will be eligible to borrow before you apply for a loan.
Prepaid Expenses Necessary to create an escrow account or to adjust the seller?s existing escrow account. Can include taxes, hazard insurance, private mortgage insurance and special assessments.
Prepayment A privilege in a mortgage permitting the borrower to make payments in advance of their due date.
Prepayment Penalty Money charged for an early repayment of debt. Prepayment penalties are allowed in some form (but not necessarily imposed) in many states.
Primary Mortgage Market Lenders, such as savings-and-loan associations, commercial banks and mortgage companies, who make mortgage loans directly to borrowers. These lenders sometimes sell their mortgages to the secondary mortgage markets.
Principal The loan amount borrowed or still owed.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Insurance issued by private insurers that protects lenders against a loss if a borrower defaults on a mortgage with a low downpayment (e.g., less than 20 percent).
Qualifying Ratios Calculations used to determine if a borrower can qualify for a mortgage. They consist of two separate calculations
Rate Lock A commitment issued by a lender to a borrower or other mortgage originator guaranteeing a specified interest rate and lender costs for a specified period of time.
Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) A consumer protection law that requires lenders to give borrowers advance notice of closing costs. RESPA is a federal law that, among other things, allows consumers to review information on known or estimated settlement cost after application and prior to or at settlement. The law requires lenders to furnish the information after application only.
REALTOR® A real estate broker or agent who, as a member of a local association of REALTORS®, a state association of REALTORS® and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (link to, adheres to high standards of professionalism and a strict code of ethics.
Recission The cancellation of a contract by putting all parties back to the position before they entered the contract. In some mortgage financing situations involving equity in the home as security, the law gives the homeowner three days to cancel a contract.
Recording Fees Money paid to the lender for recording a home sale with the local authorities, thereby making it part of the public records.
Refinance Obtaining a new mortgage loan on a property already owned. Often to replace existing loans on the property.
Renegotiable Rate Mortgage A loan in which the interest rate is adjusted periodically.
Reverse Annuity Mortgage (RAM) A form of mortgage in which the lender makes periodic payments to the borrower using the borrower?s equity in the home as collateral for and repayment of the loan.
Revolving Liability A credit arrangement, such as a credit card, that allows a customer to borrow against a pre-approved line of credit when purchasing goods and services.
Satisfaction of Mortgage The document issued by the mortgagee when the mortgage loan is paid in full. Also called a “release of mortgage.”
Second Mortgage A mortgage made subsequent to another mortgage and subordinate to the first one.
Secondary Mortgage Market The place where primary mortgage lenders sell the mortgages they make to obtain more funds to originate more new loans. It provides liquidity for the lenders.
Security The property that will be pledged as collateral for a loan.
Seller Carry-back An agreement in which the seller provides financing, often in combination with an assumable mortgage.
Seller Financing A financing agreement in which a seller provides part (or all) of the financing needed by a buyer to purchase the seller?s home.
Servicer An organization that collects principal and interest payments from borrowers and manages borrowers? escrow accounts. The servicer often services mortgages that have been purchased by an investor in the secondary mortgage market.
Servicing All the steps and operations a lender performs to keep a loan in good standing, such as collection of payments, payment of taxes, insurance, property inspections and the like.
Shared-Appreciation Mortgage (SAM) A mortgage in which a borrower receives a below-market interest rate in return for which the lender (or another investor such as a family member or other partner) receives a portion of the future appreciation in the value of the property. May also apply to a mortgage where the borrower shares the monthly principal and interest payments with another party in exchange for part of the appreciation.
Simple Interest Interest that is computed only on the principle balance.
Standard Payment Calculation The method used to determine the monthly payment required to repay the remaining balance of a mortgage in substantially equal installments over the remaining term of the mortgage at the current interest rate.
Step-Rate Mortgage A mortgage that allows for the interest rate to increase according to a specified schedule (i.e., seven years), resulting in increased payments as well. At the end of the specified period, the rate and payments will remain constant for the remainder of the loan.
Survey A measurement of land, prepared by a registered land surveyor, showing the location of the land with reference to known points, its dimensions, and the location and dimensions of any buildings.
Sweat Equity Equity created by a purchaser performing work on a property being purchased.
Third-Party Origination When a lender uses another party to completely or partially originate, process, underwrite, close, fund or package the mortgages it plans to deliver to the secondary mortgage market.
Title A legal concept relating to ownership of property.
Title Insurance Insurance to protect the buyer and lender against losses arising from disputes over the ownership of a property.
Title Search An examination of public records to determine the legal ownership of property. Usually the records are recorded with the County Recorders office. The search is usually performed by a title company using computerized records.
Total Expense Ratio Total obligations as a percentage of gross monthly income including monthly housing expenses plus other monthly debts.
Truth In Lending Act A federal law requiring disclosure of the annual percentage rate to homebuyers shortly after they apply for the loan. Also known as Regulation Z.
Two-Step Mortgage A mortgage in which the borrower receives a below-market interest rate for a specified number of years (most often seven or 10), and then receives a new interest rate adjusted (within certain limits) to market conditions at that time. The lender sometimes has the option to call the loan due with 30 days notice at the end of seven or 10 years.
Underwriting The process of evaluating a loan application to determine if it meets the lender?s standards.
Usury Interest charged in excess of the legal rate established by law.
VA Loan A long-term, low- or no-downpayment loan guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Restricted to individuals qualified by military service or other entitlements.
VA Mortgage Funding Fee A premium of up to 1.5 percent (depending on the size of the downpayment) paid on a VA-backed loan. On a $75,000 fixed-rate mortgage with no down payment, this would amount to $1,406 either paid at closing or added to the amount financed.
Verification of Deposit (VOD) A document signed by the borrower?s financial institution verifying the status and balance of that person?s financial accounts.
Warehouse Fee Many mortgage firms must borrow funds on a short-term basis in order to originate loans that are to be sold later in the secondary mortgage market or to investors. When the prime rate of interest is higher on short-term loans than on mortgage loans, the mortgage firm has an economic loss that is offset by charging a warehouse fee.
Wraparound Mortgage Results when an existing assumable loan is combined with a new loan, resulting in an interest rate somewhere between the old rate and the current market rate. The payments are made to a second lender or the previous homeowner, who then forwards the payments to the first lender after taking the additional amount off the top.
This information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. This information is provided by a third party. Information provided is subject to change without notice.

About Title Insurance

Our team often receives inquiries regarding Title Insurance. Below is a directory of documents to answer some of your questions. These documents have been created and provided to us by our preferred title insurance provider, California Title Company. California Title Company has additional resources available. If you are interested in more information about California Title Company, you may visit their website:

Why You Need Title Insurance What Is A Payoff?
20 Reasons For Title Insurance Reconveyance Of Title
Common Ways To Hold Title In CA What Is An Easement?
About Title Insurance About Property Encroachments
50 Ways To Lose Your Property About “Right Of Survivorship”
Comparison Of Title Coverage Why Refinancing Requires Insurance
The life Of A Title Search Bankruptcy And Judgement Liens
About Preliminary Title Reports Why Documents Get Rejected
Common Title Obstacles Undisclosed And Missing Heirs
Closing & Title Costs Sub Escrow As A Service Of Title
Sell With A Binder To Insure A Sale About Statements Of Information
Requirements For Insuring Living Trusts Statement of Facts
ALTA Residential Policy Information About A “Section Of Land”
This information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. This information is provided by a third party. Information provided is subject to change without notice.