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Earnest Money: Funds that are included with an offer to show good faith in following through with the transaction.

Equity: The current market value of a home minus outstanding mortgage balance(s).

Escrow: The period between the date the purchase contract is signed and the date of the loan closing.

Escrow Account: A special account set up by the lender to collect and hold monthly payments towards annual property taxes and homeowners insurance. Also called “impound account.”

Fair Housing Act: A federal law that prohibits discrimination in housing and real estate transactions.

Fair Market value: The price a buyer will pay and a seller will accept for real property.

FHA Loan: A type of mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a department of the federal government.

FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation): A system of scoring credit reports and the company that developed the system.

Finance Charge: The total dollar amount charged to use credit, which includes interest and other costs.

First Mortgage: A home loan that has priority over the claims of subsequent lenders for the same property in the event of default.

Fixed Expense: An expense that does not change from month to month, such as loan payments or rent.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage: A loan on which the interest rate remains the same over the life of the loan.

Flexible Expense: Expenses that change from month to month, like the cost of groceries, entertainment and personal items.

Flood Insurance: A policy required by a lender if a buyer’s house is located in a flood zone.

Forbearance: An agreement by the lender to allow a delinquent borrower to skip one or more payments completely and make them up later through a payment plan.

Foreclosure: The legal process used to force the payment of debt secured by collateral whereby the property is sold to satisfy the debt.

Gross Income: Money earned before taxes and other deductions.

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