What is a Mortgage?

What is a Mortgage?A mortgage represents a loan or lien on a property/house that has to be paid over a specified period of time. Think of it as your personal guarantee that you'll repay the money you've borrowed to buy your home. Mortgages come in many different shapes and sizes, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you select the mortgage that is right for you, your future plans, and your financial picture.

What is an amortization schedule?

The month-by-month allocation of your monthly payment to the loan's interest and principal is called an amortization schedule. With most loans you pay off the interest on the loan before you pay off the principal (or the actual amount you borrowed). Your lender will provide an amortization schedule to show you how the percentage of your principal paid off increases with every payment, while the percentage of interest decreases. See an example of an amortization schedule [PDF 10K].

Choosing the right mortgage.

Once you decide on the mortgage you want, do your homework. Different lenders offer different rates, points, and fees. Ask around and compare.

Understanding the benefits of different mortgage offerings can be a complex process. How do you figure it all out?

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