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Adjustable interest rate mortgage:
A mortgage where both the interest rate and the monthly payments vary based on changes in the market rates. 

The period of time required to completely pay off a mortgage if all conditions are met and all payments are made on time.

A form used to apply for a mortgage. It includes all of the relevant personal and financial information of the person applying.

An estimate of the current market value of a home.

A certified professional who carries out a home appraisal.

An increase in the value of a home or other possession from the time it was purchased.

Approved lender:
A lending institution, such as a bank, that the Government of Canada authorizes to make loans under the terms of the National Housing Act. Only approved lenders can offer CMHC-insured mortgages.

Assumption agreement:
A legal document that requires a person buying a home to take over the mortgage of the builder or the previous owner.

Blended payment:
A regular mortgage installment that includes payments toward both the mortgage principal and the interest.

A person or company that builds homes.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC):
 As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.

Certificate of status (or “estoppel certificate”):
A certificate that outlines the financial and legal status of a condominium corporation. (This doesn’t apply in Quebec.)

Certificate of location (or “survey”): A document that shows the legal boundaries and measurements of a property, specifies the location of any buildings and states whether anyone else has the right to cross over the property for a specific purpose.

Closed mortgage:
A mortgage that can’t normally be paid off or renegotiated before the end of the term without the lender’s permission and a financial penalty. Some closed mortgages allow for extra or accelerated payments, but only if specified in the mortgage agreement.

Closing costs:
The legal fees, transfer fees, disbursements and other costs that must be paid when buying a home. These are in addition to the down payment and the GST, PST and HST if applicable. Closing costs are due on the day the buyer officially takes ownership of the home, and they usually range from 1.5% to 4% of the purchase price.

Closing date:
The date when the sale of the property becomes final and the new owner takes possession of the home.

Commitment letter (or “mortgage approval):
A written notification from a lender to a borrower that says a mortgage loan of a specific amount is approved under specific terms and conditions.

Compound interest: Interest that is calculated on both the original principal and the interest that has already been earned (or “accrued”) on that principal.

Conditional offer: An offer to purchase a home that includes one or more conditions (for example, a condition that the buyer is able to get a mortgage) that must be met before the sale can be officially completed.

Condominium (or “strata”): A type of homeownership 

A person who is responsible for the construction or renovation of a home, including scheduling, workmanship and managing subcontractors and suppliers.

Conventional mortgage:
A mortgage loan equal to or less than 80% of the value of a property. (That is, where the down payment is at least 20%.) Conventional mortgages don’t usually require mortgage loan insurance.

An offer made by the seller of a home after rejecting an offer by a potential buyer. The counteroffer usually changes something from the original offer, such as the price or closing date.

Credit bureau: A company that collects information from various sources on a person’s borrowing and bill-paying habits. They provide this information to lenders to help them assess whether or not to lend money to that person.

Credit history (or “credit report”): The report a lender uses to determine if a person should get a mortgage.

Curb appeal: How attractive a home looks from the street, including features like landscaping and a well-maintained exterior.

Deed: A legal document that transfers ownership of a home from the seller to the buyer.

Failing to make a mortgage payment on time or to otherwise abide by the terms of a mortgage loan agreement. If borrowers default on their mortgage payments, their lender can charge them a penalty or even take legal action to take possession of their home.

Delinquency: Failing to make a mortgage payment on time.

Money that a buyer places in trust to show they are serious when they make an offer to purchase a home. The deposit is held by the real estate agent or lawyer (or notary in Quebec) until the sale is complete, and then it’s transferred to the seller.

Depreciation: A decrease in the value of a home or other possession from the time it was purchased.

Down payment:
The portion of the home’s purchase price that is not financed by a mortgage loan. The buyer must pay the down payment from their own funds (or other eligible sources) before securing a mortgage.

A building that contains two separate and complete single-family homes located either adjacent to each other or one on top of the other.

A legal interest in a property owned by another person or company for a specific limited purpose.

For example, a public utility company may have an easement that lets them pass through a property.

Emergency fund:
Money that a homeowner regularly sets aside to pay for emergencies or major repairs.
Owners should usually save around 5% of their monthly income for emergencies.

The cash value that a homeowner has in their home after subtracting the amount of the mortgage or other debts owed on the property.
Equity usually increases over time as the mortgage loan is gradually paid.
Changes in overall market values or improvements to a home can also affect the value of the equity