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Friday, December 26, 2008


Hello, I’m Shataa Whittle, “Your Local Realty Partner”and thank you for visiting my real estate blog. I am a Licensed Professional Listing, Buyer and Sales Agent in the District of Columbia -DC & Maryland- MD. I am a Licensed Real Estate Agent / Realtor and a Native Washingtonian. Finding the perfect house, condo or housing complex does not have to be difficult. As a Licensed Real Estate Professional, I can assist you with locating your Dream Home. Luxury Condo, Apartments in DC / MD, New Development Projects, Newly Constructed Developments, and Luxury Apartment Homes are also accessible to me thru the MLS. If you are in the market and looking to find that perfect Loft, Single Family Homes, Multi Family Properties, Commercial Rental and For Sale Property, Co-op Developments, Investment properties I can assist you with locating any one of these properties also. Foreclosures, REO Bank Owned Properties, Luxurious Town homes, Water Front Properties, and / or finding land to build your new dream house, then I am your agent. As a Licensed Realtor, It does not matter if you are looking for city life / urban communities, suburban / country areas, or Historic Locations, I can help you find it. Our office have been called by many of our clients, “A One Stop Real Estate Shop”, and I am dedicated to taking a stand for the best interests of my clients.

You have truly found a professional Real Estate Agent that is going to consider you a client and work in your best interest, rather than just another commission check. With all the different local brokerage companies to choose from ( i.e.GRM , Remax, Long & Foster, Exit, Keller Williams, Century 21, Fairfax Realty, Coldwell Banker, Prudential etc…) and all the different factors to choose you are truly in good professional care when you allow me to represent you as my client. You can rest assure that as your Licensed Real Estate Professional, I will work in your best interest, in which it is very important during any real estate transaction. My mission is to provide sound and educated advice that will lead to a successful purchase and or sale of your home. I am looking forward to meeting with you and discussing the sale and or purchase of your new home or investment property. Click on the link below, and allow me to put to work my real estate experience for you!

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Please fee free to review the most commonly used terminology within the real estate industry that every new home buyer should be familiar with. This is just another step that I have taken to provide information to clients and provide helpful resources. If you have any additional questions or would like to take advantage of my Free Property Analysis and CMA, Listing Services, or if you need Buyer Representation, Please feel free to Contact Me , and I will be happy to render my professional real estate services to you. If you are a new home buyer, you may want to consider attending my New Home Buyer Seminar .

Glossary Terms


ADDITIONAL SECURITY: Security offered to a lender that would be different from the primary security property.
This might include an additional piece of real property or a savings account, in addition to the down payment,
in order to convince a lender to grant a mortgage loan.

ADJUSTABLE RATE MORTGAGE (ARM): A mortgage loan in which the interest rate periodically changes according to terms and conditions specified in a mortgage note. The changing interest rate is based upon the upward and downward movement of an index, such as the current U.S. Treasury Securities, and a fixed margin above that index. An adjustable rate mortgage is also called an adjustable mortgage loan (AML).

A.L.T.A. POLICY: An acronym for American Land Title Association. It is a title insurance policy insuring the lender against losses sustained due to lien priority. This policy protects the lender from claims which might have been recorded but may not have been identified by title search and examination. It also protects the lender from defects which might not have been recorded at the time the search was completed. The borrower
may pay all, a part or none of this cost, depending on the terms of the sales contract or local custom.

AMORTIZATION: The reduction of a mortgage debt, according to a set schedule spelled out in the mortgage note, to a zero balance over a certain number of years.

APPLICATION FEE: A fee charged by a lender for initiating a loan application.

APPRAISAL: The valuation of real property, based upon current market conditions, by a certified, independent appraiser to determine if the value of the property is sufficient to secure the loan. The appraiser inspects the house and the neighborhood, and considers the selling prices of comparable houses and other factors in determining the value. The appraisal will provide the factual data upon which the appraiser bases the appraised value.

APPRECIATION: An increase in property value beyond the original purchase price.

ASSESSED VALUATION: The dollar value assigned to real property by a local government for the purpose of assessing taxes.

BORROWER: A person who obtains a loan in order to take ownership of real property. The borrower is responsible for the repayment of that loan according to the terms and conditions of the mortgage note.

BUY DOWN: A provision granted by a lender that allows the borrower to pay additional points to lower a given interest rate.

BUY UP: A provision granted by a lender that allows the borrower to pay fewer points, which results in a higher interest rate.


CAPS: Limits, set by the lender, on the upward (ceiling) or downward (floor) rate changes permitted on an adjustable rate mortgage at each adjustment period.
Capital Gain Exclusion: Ex. As long as you have lived in your home for two of the past five years, you can exclude up to $250,000 for an individual or $500,000 for a married couple of profit from capital gains. You do not have to buy a replacement home or move up. There is no age restriction, and the "over-55" rule does not apply. You can exclude the above thresholds from taxes every 24 months, which means you could sell every two years and pocket your profit--subject to limitation--free from taxation.
CITY INSPECTION: An inspection of the property required by some cities. The seller is required to meet specific property standards established by the city. Properties that meet these standards may be issued a certificate of occupancy.

CLOSING COSTS: Costs paid by a buyer or seller or both in order to purchase, sell or transfer real property.

COLLATERAL: Real property and/or other security pledged to a lender as an inducement for granting a loan. If the borrower defaults, the lender has the legal right to seize and sell the collateral in order to collect repayment of the debt.

COMMITMENT FEE: A fee charged by a lender for extending the period of time to which the lender will commit to approval of a specific interest rate and/or loan amount.

CONVENTIONAL MORTGAGE: A residential mortgage loan that is not insured or guaranteed by an agency of the government, payable in monthly installments over a specified period of time.

CONVERSION CLAUSE: An arrangement within an adjustable rate mortgage note that permits the borrower to change an adjustable rate loan to a fixed rate loan within a certain period of time and under certain specified conditions.

CONVEYANCE: A transfer of ownership in real property from one party to another party.

CONVEYANCE FEE: This is the fee paid to a county recorder to log the transfer of title from the seller to the buyer. This fee is set by the local government and is based on the selling price of the property.

CO-SIGNER: One who signs for another, thereby accepting full responsibility for repayment of a debt in the event of default.

CREDIT REPORT: A detailed summary of an individual’s credit history prepared by a credit-reporting agency.


DEBT-TO-INCOME RATIO: A way of evaluating a borrower’s ability to repay a loan based upon current debt and income levels.

DEED: An instrument used to transfer ownership of real property. There are three types of deeds: A general warranty deed is a guarantee from the seller that good title is being conveyed. A joint tenancy or joint survivorship deed allows two or more persons to hold real estate jointly for life, with the survivor(s) taking the interest of the one who dies.
A tenancy in common deed allows ownership of real property to be granted to two or more persons, each holding separate title in the same estate. There is no right of survivorship with tenancy in common, so if one tenant dies, his or her undivided interest in the estate passes to his or her heirs rather than the remaining tenants in common.

DOWER: The interest in the real property of a homeowner allowed to the non-title holding spouse.

DOWN PAYMENT: The cash that a buyer pays toward the purchase of a house. The down payment/equity represents the difference between the mortgage amount and the purchase price, and includes the earnest money (escrow deposit) and secondary financing.


EARNEST MONEY (ESCROW DEPOSIT): Money given by a buyer, to a seller or a seller’s agent, in order to secure the purchase of real property and to show that the buyer’s offer is being made in good faith.

EQUITY: The difference between the current value of the real property and the outstanding balances on any mortgages attached to the property.

ESCROW: The holding of funds and documents of buyers and sellers by a disinterested third party until contractual conditions, specified by a purchase agreement, are satisfied.

ESCROW ACCOUNT: Funds included in the monthly real estate loan payment to accumulate the amounts necessary for the future payment of county taxes and any of the following, when applicable: PMI, homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, mortgage life insurance and disability insurance. Using the funds in the escrow account, the lender makes these payments as they become due.

ESCROW AGENT: An impartial third party responsible for overseeing the transfer of real property according to conditions set forth in the purchase agreement and any attached addenda.

ESCROW DELETION LETTER: A letter, signed by both buyer and seller, which deletes the escrow agent listed in the purchase agreement and names a new escrow agent.

ESCROW FEE: A fee paid to the escrow agent for overseeing the transfer of real property.

FINANCE CHARGE: The cost of interest and other charges involved in borrowing money to build or purchase real estate.

FLOOD INSURANCE: A federal insurance plan required for any property purchased in a certain flood hazard area identified by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). If your property is within such an area, you may be required by federal law to carry flood insurance on your home. Such insurance may be purchased in participating communities under the National Flood Insurance Act.

GOOD-FAITH ESTIMATE: A calculation offered by a lender, usually at the time of application, that provides a breakdown of estimated closing costs.

GROSS INCOME: Total income from all sources for all borrowers on a loan. This is the income before any deductions, including taxes, 401k contributions, insurance premiums or charitable deductions.

HOMEOWNER’S (HAZARD) INSURANCE: Insurance protecting a house against certain hazards including loss from fire, certain natural causes and vandalism, and guaranteeing payment to the insured in cases of such loss.


INDEX: A base indicator for the interest rate of an adjustable rate mortgage. A typical index is the 1-year Treasury Bill averaged to a constant maturity, plus the margin. Another typical index would be the prime interest rate.

INTEREST: The cost of borrowing money from a lender.

INTEREST RATE: The rate used to perform interest calculations and establish the monthly mortgage payment.


JUDGMENT: The decree of a court which produces a lien against the real property of a debtor as a result of the court’s award of money to a creditor.


LIEN: A security claim on property until a debt is satisfied. A mortgage lien is evidenced by an executed mortgage which the lender files with the county recorder. A tax lien is a lien filed by a tax agency for non-payment of taxes. A mechanic’s lien is a lien filed by a contractor, laborer or material supplier for non-payment for work that has been performed or for materials supplied.

LOAN COMMITMENT: A guarantee by a lending institution to a borrower to lock in an interest rate for a certain
number of days.

LOAN-TO-VALUE (LTV): A percentage representing the mortgage amount divided by the appraised property value or selling price of the property (whichever is less). For example, if the market value of a house is $100,000, and the amount of the loan is $80,000, the LTV is 80%.

LONG-TERM COMMITMENT: A rate and/or loan amount guarantee by a lending institution which is longer than its basic commitment period.

MARGIN: The percentage that a lender adds to a base index to create adjustments on adjustable rate products.

MARKET VALUE: The most likely price at which a property will sell in a competitive and open market.

MORTGAGE: A debt instrument by which a borrower (mortgagor) gives a lender (mortgagee) security interest in real property in return for a loan. When the debt is paid in full, the mortgage is cancelled and the lien on the secured property is released.

MORTGAGE DISABILITY INSURANCE: Optional insurance which, under circumstances spelled out in the
insurance policy, makes payments on a mortgage loan when the borrower is injured, ill or disabled.

MORTGAGE LIFE INSURANCE: Optional insurance which pays off a mortgage loan or a significant part of a mortgage loan in the event of the death of the insured. The coverage decreases as the mortgage balance declines.

MORTGAGEE: A lender that accepts a debt instrument as a security interest in real property in return for granting a loan.

MORTGAGOR: The person (borrower) providing a debt instrument to the lender.

NET WORTH: The value of all assets minus the amount of all liabilities. It is often used as a measure of financial strength.


ORIGINATION FEE: A fee charged by a lender or loan originator to offset the costs involved in processing a loan request.

OWNER’S FEE POLICY: A title insurance policy guaranteeing that the buyer of a property enjoys free and clear title at the time the deed is filed for record. This policy goes beyond the title guarantee by protecting the buyer against defects which might not have been of record at the time the title search was performed. In some areas, it is customary for the seller to provide the buyer with an owner’s policy and for the seller to
pay for this policy. In other areas, if the buyer desires an owner’s policy, he or she must pay for it. It shows the location of the land, its dimensions and any improvements on the land. It also checks for easements of record, encroachments and building line violations.


PITI: An acronym for the components of a monthly mortgage payment. It stands for principal, interest, taxes and insurance.

POINT FORM: A form signed by whoever is paying the purchaser’s points and/or costs.

POINTS: A one-time charge used to “buy down” the interest rate on a loan. Each point is equal to 1% of the mortgage amount. For example, if a lender charges one point on an $80,000 loan, this amounts to a charge of $800.

PRE-APPROVAL: An approval for a certain loan amount granted to an applicant who has not signed a purchase agreement at time of application.
PREPAID INTEREST: Interest due on the full amount of the principal for the period from the date of settlement to the beginning of the period covered by the first monthly payment.

PREPAYMENT: The payment of a mortgage loan before it is due.

PREPAYMENT PENALTY: A penalty charged by a lender to a borrower for paying off a mortgage loan before maturity.

PRIME RATE: The interest rate charged by commercial banks to their best, most secure corporate customers. It is regarded as a yardstick for general trends in interest rates.

PRINCIPAL: The amount of money borrowed from the lender.

PRINCIPAL PAYMENT: The portion of a loan payment which goes to reduce the outstanding balance of the loan.

PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE (PMI): A generic name for mortgage insurance granted to a lender. The insurance is written by a private company, and it protects the lender against loss if the borrower defaults on the mortgage.

PURCHASE AGREEMENT (CONTRACT): A written document in which the purchaser agrees to buy certain real estate and the seller agrees to sell under stated terms and conditions.

REAL ESTATE SETTLEMENT PROCEDURES ACT (RESPA): A federal law requiring lenders to send an estimate of settlement costs to the borrower within three business days after accepting a completed loan application. This act also places limits on the amount lenders may hold in an escrow account and further requires a disclosure
of settlement costs to buyers and sellers within a reasonable period of time after settlement.

RECORDING FEES: The charges for recording documents with public agencies.


SECONDARY FINANCING: Financing provided by a second lender that will accept a second lien position. This includes seller financing or financing provided by communities or organizations to further community housing goals.
SETTLEMENT: The final closing in which real property is transferred and proceeds are disbursed.

SETTLEMENT STATEMENT: The financial disclosure, often called the HUD-I Settlement Statement, which includes an itemized list of the services provided to you and the fees charged to you. This form (developed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) is filled out by the settlement agent who will conduct the settlement. In parts of the country where the settlement agent does not require a meeting, the statement will be mailed or delivered as soon as practical after settlement. No advance inspection is required.

SURVEY (LOCATION SERVICE): A lot drawing performed by a surveyor which locates the house and other buildings on the lot described in the legal description of the property. It shows the location of the land, its dimensions and any improvements on the land. It also checks for easements of record, encroachments and building line violations.


TAX PRORATION: The distribution of seller’s proceeds to the buyer to cover county taxes which are owed but not payable at the time of the title transfer.

TAX RESERVES: Funds, collected as part of the monthly mortgage payment, which are held by the lender on behalf of the borrower. These funds are used by the lender to pay the borrower’s semi-annual real estate taxes.

TERM: The amount of time between the start date and the termination date of a note, mortgage or other legal document.

TITLE: The right of ownership, control and possession of property.

TITLE GUARANTEE: The guarantee to a purchaser by an independent title company performing a title search that there are no liens of record which would cloud the title to a newly acquired real property.

TITLE INSURANCE: A policy that protects the purchaser, mortgagee or other party against losses due to defects in title.

TITLE SEARCH: A search by an independent title company for liens or encumbrances which could affect passing clear title from the seller to the buyer.

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