A rule that lenders use to determine whether a person’s alimony and/or child support income can be used to help them qualify for a loan. The rule states that the support income must have been paid consistently for the past six months, and will continue to be paid to the spouse for a minimum of 36 months from the date of the loan application.
A chart that shows how mortgage payments will affect mortgage debt over time. It outlines how much of a given mortgage payment will go toward principal and interest (PI) at the start of the loan, as well as outlining the changes in how those payments will be applied as the mortgage matures. Learn more about amortization.
Performed by a certified appraiser, an appraisal is the detailed, official property evaluation required by most lenders before they will issue final approval for a loan. It includes physical measurements of the land and structures, sometimes includes permit and zoning research, and always contains detailed information about the suitability and value of the home. See also: What does an appraiser do?
A mortgage loan that carries a variable interest rate. The rate can (and usually does) vary throughout the term of the loan, making the monthly amount due unpredictable. Learn more about the different types of ARMs at Investopedia.
Performed by an electronic algorithm, these assessments are based almost entirely on public information and comparables. AVM products do not account for the actual condition or location of the property, zoning, or any past upgrades, unless they are listed on public record. Zillow’s Zestimate is an example of an AVM.
Figuratively, a body of attorneys (as opposed to a “bench,” which is a body of judges). Bars are regulated by local bar associations which are committed to promoting and maintaining the practice of law by developing and enforcing ethical guidelines and rules, providing ongoing training and seminars, and providing a social and professional network for attorneys.
Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert: a real estate agent who has been specially trained and certified to navigate complicated and/or contentious real estate transactions while the homeowners are embroiled in a divorce. The CDRE may or may not be court-appointed.
Any document or claim that calls to question the right of a person or persons to the sole ownership of a property’s title. For instance, a cloud will appear on title if a construction lien is placed against a property for the purpose of collecting payment for work performed on that property. Learn more about title problems that can snag your home closing.
An estimate provided by a real estate agent. The assessment is based primarily on comparable properties and information found in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). It may or may not include a cursory visual inspection of the property, and typically does not include measurements, permits or zoning research. Learn more about CMAs.
A scale that measures the tension in a divorcing couple’s relationship. Learn more about the Conflict Spectrum.
A clause that allows a buyer or seller to cancel a real estate contract if certain conditions are/are not met. For instance, an inspection contingency means that the buyer is willing to buy the house if the home inspection results are satisfactory to the buyer. A seller might include a contingency to find a replacement home. This allows the seller time to find a new home, and if they cannot find one within the alloted time frame, then the seller could have the right to back out of the contract. Learn more about mortgage contingencies.
Repairs that must be made before a purchase contract can close. Repair contingencies typically include major repair items that could put the value of the home at risk or threaten the health and safety of the occupants. Examples of contingent repairs required for FHA, VA, and USDA-backed loans.
The ownership transfer of real property from one party to another, such as through a deed. Learn more about conveyances: Learn more about conveyance.
The measure of a person’s current income vs. the amount of debt they carry. This comparison is used to measure a buyer’s ability to afford a loan. Learn more about how your debt-to-income ratio can affect your ability to keep your home after divorce.
The official document that transfers ownership of a property from one party to the next. There are several types of deeds, but the one most commonly used in a divorce proceeding is the quitclaim deed. Learn about the different types of real estate deeds.
The value of a home minus any monies that need to be paid when the property is sold. More information on calculating equity
A sum paid by a seller to a buyer—or a buyer to a seller—to cover certain repair bills or closing costs. Escrow credits are built into a real estate contract and don’t change the agreed-upon selling price of the property. Learn more about how credits work.
Communication with a judge that excludes the opposing party or their attorney. It can also describe communication by one attorney to the opposing party without that party’s counsel present. In the case of a CDRE, ex parte communication would be any case-related communication that takes place between that agent and only one spouse which would be relevant to, but excludes, the other spouse.
FMV is the price buyers are actually willing to pay for a property, regardless of the property’s official valuation. Learn more about fair market value.
Federal National Mortgage Association: A government-sponsored enterprise that helps low- to moderate-income buyers obtain mortgages by buying and guaranteeing mortgages from large retail banks through the secondary mortgage market. Learn how Fannie Mae works.
A type of government loan that helps low-income buyers and buyers with low credit scores, short sales, foreclosures, or bankruptcies in their history to acquire their first homes. FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Learn more about FHA loans.
A type of credit score that is used to determine a borrower’s ability to repay a loan. When determining creditworthiness, FICO scores incorporate the following buyer behaviors: payment history, debt level, types of credit used, length of credit history, and number of new credit accounts opened. FICO scores are used by the three largest credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.
One person’s responsibility to act in the best interest of another. In real estate, an agent’s fiduciary duty typically involves selling a client’s property for the best possible price, or helping a client buy a property for the lowest possible price. In each case, the agent is expected to adhere to the highest ethical standards and operate with the utmost care, integrity, honesty and loyalty. More information on fiduciary duty.
a contract clause that resolves both parties of liability or obligation when an unforeseeable event or circumstance occurs that is beyond the control of the parties involved. A force majeure can be either an act of God or an act of man, as long as the event could not be avoided by due diligence and care.
Fair Market Rent, or Fair Market Rental Value, is the estimate of what a property might be worth in terms of rental income. Fair market value can be determined by the property owner, but a list is also calculated and published by HUD.
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation: A government-sponsored enterprise that helps low- to moderate-income buyers obtain mortgages by buying and guaranteeing mortgages from small thrift banks through the secondary mortgage market. Learn more about Freddie Mac.
Home Energy Renovation Opportunity: A financing program geared toward helping homeowners make energy- and water- efficient improvements to their homes. HERO loans are attached to the mortgage as a tax lien, which means that the balance either needs to be paid off at the time of sale, or passed on to the new homeowner. HERO is a type of PACE loan. Things to know about buying or selling a PACE property.
An organization dedicated to teaching real estate professionals how to support family law attorneys through effective management of divorce real estate transactions. The Ilumni Institute issues the CDRE designation to Realtors who have successfully completed the training. Learn more about the Ilumni Institute.
An official code of responsibility that all attorneys must adhere to, especially when representing clients. See also: The State Bar of California’s Rules of Professional Conduct.
A claim against property designed to secure a debt. For instance, a home remodeler might place a mechanic’s lien on your home so that he can recoup costs if you fail to pay his final invoice (he recoups costs by inserting himself into the equity stream of your home). Once his invoice is paid, the lien is released via a written waiver. Other common liens include tax liens, mortgage liens, HOA liens, and judgment liens. More information on real estate liens.
When an attorney represents a client for only one part of a legal matter, but not the entire matter. Examples of when you might use limited scope representation.
A feature of some loan products that results in an increase in principal balance over time. Negative amortization happens when scheduled monthly payments are not sufficient to cover interest, so the interest owed is tacked onto the principal balance. Learn more about negative amortization.
Property Assessed Clean Energy programs: A series of clean energy renovation loans. PACE loans are attached to the mortgage as a tax lien, which means that the balance needs to be paid off at the time of sale or passed on to the new homeowner. Things to know about buying or selling a PACE property.
The four elements that make up the total value of a mortgage payment with impounds: principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. Buyers and lenders both review PITI to determine whether a buyer is a good risk for a loan. Things to know about PITI…
Qualified Domestic Relations Order/Domestic Relations Order/Court Order Acceptable for Processing: All of these refer to court orders that split one spouse’s pension or retirement funds between both spouses. Learn more about COAP.
A document that terminates a person’s interest in (or claim to) a property. A quitclaim is typically used to transfer ownership within a family, often from one spouse to another during divorce. With a quitclaim, the person is literally quitting their claim to any rights to the property.
The official document that describes the manner in which ownership of a property is held. See also: Common methods of holding title.
Investopedia defines underwriting as, “…the process through which an individual or institution takes on financial risk for a fee. The risk most typically involves loans, insurance, or investments.” Learn more about underwriting.
A type of government loan that helps veterans acquire homes at favorable rates and with no down payment. VA loans are partially insured by the Department of Federal Affairs. Learn more about VA loans.
A written regulation that defines how property in specific geographic zones can be used. Learn more about zoning ordinances.