Mortgage Dictionary


Mort-gage ( môr 'gĭj) n.

A document in which the owner pledges his/her/its title to real property to a lender as security for a loan described in a promissory note. Mortgage is an old English term derived from two French words "mort" and "gage" meaning "dead pledge."

mortgage broker Canada(A)

Abandonment of Property
To vacate a property with a definite intention never to return.

Accelerated Weekly Payment
A mortgage repayment plan in which the borrower makes 52 payments per year instead of 48 which would be required if the payment plan called for four payments per month. The extra four payments each year have the effect of “accelerating” the repayment of the mortgage.

Acceleration Clause
A clause in a mortgage which provides that where default has occurred in making any mortgage payment, the outstanding mortgage amount becomes due.

The offeree’s consent to enter into a contract and to be bound by the terms of the offer.

Accredited Appraiser Canadian Institute (AACI)
The highest level of designation bestowed by the Appraisal Institute of Canada . It allows the holder to conduct appraisals and consultations on various types of property.

Accrued Interest
The interest charged for the period of time that has elapsed since the last interest date.

Action for Possession
A legal remedy available to a lender when a mortgage is in default. It allows the lender to take possession of the mortgage property.

Action of Receiver
A legal remedy available to a lender when a mortgage is in default, asking the courts to appoint a receiver who takes possession of the property

Action on the Covenant for Payment
A legal remedy available to a lender when a mortgage is in default. It gives the lender the right to sue the borrower, even if the borrower has since sold the property.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage
See variable rate mortgage .

Adjustment on Sale
A pro-rated division and distribution of prepaid or accrued taxes, prepaid insurance premiums, prepaid rents and other income and expenses. This adjustment usually occurs when a property is sold and is the manner of determining the amounts due to and from the parties.

Adverse Possession
The right by which someone occupying a piece of land might acquire title against the real owner, if the occupant’s possession has been actual, continuous, hostile, visible, and distinct for a statutory period. Adverse possession is not possible under Land Titles or when Crown property is involved.

A statement or declaration in writing and sworn to or affirmed before some officer who is authorized to administer an oath or affirmation, such as a notary public, or commissioner of oaths.

An agency relationship is created when one person, called the principal, authorizes another person, called the agent, to act on behalf of and subject to the control of the principal.

One who is authorized to represent and act on behalf of another person or business, the principal in transactions involving a third party. Unlike an employee who merely works for the principal, an agent works in place of the principal.

Agreement of Purchase and Sale
A written agreement between vendor and purchaser in which the purchaser agrees to buy certain real property and the vendor agrees to sell upon terms and conditions as set out in that agreement.

Alienation Clause
A type of acceleration clause that demands payment of the entire debt upon sale or other transfer of the title.

Amending Agreement
An agreement between the lender and borrower by the lender in which the terms of the registered mortgage are changed. The amending agreement may or may not be not be registered on title.

This refers to the process of paying off a mortgage in regular payments composed of both interest and principal.

Amortization Period
The time over which the mortgage is to be completely repaid, assuming equal payments. This means that when looking, for example, at a mortgage with a 25-year amortization period, it would take 25 years to reduce the balance to zero, if all regular payments were made on time and the terms (payment, interest rate) remained the same.

Amortization Schedule
A table showing the amounts of principal and interest which make up each of the periodic level payments and the outstanding principal balance of the loan after each level payment is made.

Amortized Mortgage
A mortgage requiring regular payments which include both principal and interest sufficient to fully repay the loan by maturity.

Anniversary Date
The same date in each calendar year during the term of the mortgage. The first anniversary date occurs one year from the date interest is adjusted and the periodic repayments begin.

Appointment of a Receiver
A legal remedy available to a lender when a mortgage is in default. The receiver takes possession of the property, collects rents, and pays any expenses as required.

An independent, unbiased report that uses various analysis techniques and market research to determine the realistic value of a property.

Appraisal Report
An independent assessment of a property by a qualified individual. A statement giving an opinion of value of an adequately described property, as at a specific date and supported by pertinent data.

An appraiser determines the market value of a house based on its condition and the selling price of comparable houses recently sold in the area. The licensing requirement for real estate appraisers varies from province to province.

Arm’s Length Transaction
A transaction between unrelated parties. A transaction freely arrived at in the open market unaffected by abnormal pressures as might be the case in a transaction between related parties.

The determination of a dispute by a disinterested third party.

An overdue payment (in reference to a mortgage for the purposes of this text).

Assessment (assessed value)
A value placed upon property (land and buildings) for taxation purposes.

Assessment Roll
An annual list of the assessed values of all properties in a municipality. The assessment roll includes the name of the property owners or tenants and their addresses. Assessment rolls are usually delivered to a municipality before the end of the year. The term “roll” comes from ancient times and refers to the way information used to be stored – on paper or parchment, rolled up into cylinders.

Goods of value, either tangible or not, that a borrower or business owns.

One who takes the rights or title of another by assignment .

The act of transferring rights held by one party, the assignor , to another party, the assignee .

Assignment of Lease
The absolute or conditional transfer of the rights of either party to a lease.

Assignment of Mortgage
The transfer of ownership of a mortgage from one party to another.

Assignment of Rentals
A contract in which the borrower grants the lender the right to collect future rents on a given occurrence, normally default. This assignment is normally taken as additional security on rental loans.

One who transfers or assigns the rights or title to another.

Assumable Mortgage
An existing mortgage that can be taken over (assumed) by the buyer of a property when that property is sold.

Assumption of Mortgage
The act of assuming liability for an existing mortgage on a property by the purchaser of that property. With builders’ loans, the assumption is usually evidenced by written agreement.

The seizure of property by court order.

Atonement of Rents
A legal action available upon default of a mortgage. As a result, tenants are directed to pay their rents to the lender.



Balance Sheet
Also known as the Statement of Financial Position or Statement of Assets and Liabilities. The Balance Sheet is a listing of the assets, liabilities (debts), and owners’ equity of a business enterprise at a specific point in time. The assets must equal the liabilities plus the owners’ equity.

Balloon Payment
Any payment of principal over and above the regular payment.

Bank Act
The Canadian Bank Act regulates all Canadian banking activity conducted through a federally chartered institution. This includes banks, trust companies, loan companies, and insurance companies.

Bank Rate
The rate at which the Bank of Canada charges loans to the chartered banks. This is the rate on which lending institutions base their prime lending rate.

Basis Point
One one-hundredth of one percent. Used to describe the amount of change in yield in money debt instruments, including mortgages.

Beacon Score
The name given to the credit score published by Equifax.

Binder Insurance
A temporary agreement where one party agrees to insure another party while awaiting receipt of, and final action on, the application for insurance.

Blanket Mortgage
A single mortgage registered against two or more individual parcels of real property.

Blended Payments
Regular equal mortgage payments combining, or blending, interest and principal components in one constant payment.

Blended Rate
The rate that results from the blending of an existing mortgage and a new mortgage with differing interest rates into one consolidated mortgage. The calculation to determine the final rate takes into account both the interest rates and the amount of principal for each of the component loans.

Bona Fide
In good faith, with valuable consideration and with absence of notice of any problems.


  • A sum paid by the borrower, or retained by the lender, from the advance of mortgage money as part of the consideration for the making of the loan.
  • A sum paid by the borrower to the lender as consideration for prepayment of all or part of the principle outstanding.

Book Value
The capital amount at which an asset is shown on the books of an account. Usually it is the original cost, less reserves for depreciation.

Book Value of a Mortgage
The mortgage amount outstanding on a mortgage at any given point in time. The book value is determined by deducting the amount of principal repayment from the original principal amount.

Borrowing By-laws
A document providing proof that a corporation has the power to borrow under its company charter.

Breach of Contract
Failure, without legal reason, to perform any promise that forms the whole or part of the agreed terms contained in the contract.

Bridge Financing
A loan provided to borrowers to provide financing for purchase, pending closing of the sale of their existing property.

Bridge Loan
A bridge loan is a short-term, high interest loan intended to offset financial hardship until a long-term loan is secured.

The aspect of business concerned with bringing parties together for the transaction of business and the execution of contracts. Brokerage involves sales, exchanges and rentals.

One who acts as an intermediary between parties in a transaction. A broker, for a fee or other consideration, arranges a transaction (a sale) by a seller to the buyer.

Builder’s Loan
A loan designed for borrowers who need financing for construction projects. These differ from normal loans as the funds are received in stages (also known as draws) during the building process to protect the lender from construction abandonment.

Builder’s Risk Insurance
Fire and extended coverage insurance for a building under construction. Coverage increases automatically as the construction progresses and terminates at completion.

Building Code
A set of minimum regulations respecting the safety of buildings with reference to public health, fire protection and structural sufficiency.

Building Scheme
A group of restrictive covenants attached to two or more lots. These covenants are set by a vendor or landlord. They detail restrictions for use and are agreed to by the purchasers or tenants as part of the purchase or lease.

Bundle of Rights
Legal rights with respect to real estate ownership which include the right to use, sell, lease, enter, or to give away the property, plus the right to refuse to take any of these actions.

Buy Down
A lump sum payment as consideration for the reduction in the interest charged on a loan from that which would normally be charged.



Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
A Crown Corporation which was initially created to administer the National Housing Act and is Canada’s only public sector mortgage insurer. CMHC is charged with administering government housing initiatives and works with community organizations, the private sector, non-profit agencies and all levels of government to help create innovative solutions to today’s housing challenges.

Canada Mortgage Bonds  
Canada Mortgage Bonds (CMBs) are similar to Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) in that Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation guarantees the timely payment of interest and principal. However, an MBS has a disadvantage to investors since borrowers of the underlying mortgages can make partial or full prepayments of their mortgage principal. While consumers (borrowers) like this flexibility, investors do not like this unpredictability. The Canada Mortgage Bond program eliminates this cash flow uncertainty to investors, as CMHC guarantees both semi-annual interest payments, and the repayment of principal on a specified maturity date.

Canadian and British Insurance Company Act
The federal statute that governs federally incorporated insurance companies.

Canadian Code of Advertising Standards
These are administered by Advertising Standards Canada. The goal of the standards is to promote the professional practice of advertising, by setting criteria for what is or is not acceptable practice.

Canadian Residential Appraiser (CRA)
This designation is awarded by the Appraisal Institute of Canada and grants those with the designation the right to valuate individual, undeveloped residential sites.

Capacity (5 Cs of Credit)
The ability of a borrower to repay a loan.

Capital (5 Cs of Credit)
The amount of money the borrower has invested into the property.

Capital Reserve Requirements
Specified amount of capital that is necessary for lenders to hold to back up the loans they grant. The amount is determined by government regulations.

Capped Rate Variable Mortgage
A variable rate mortgage on which the lender has set a limit to interest rate increases or decreases.

Cash Back
A mortgage feature that provides the borrower with cash back, as a percentage of the mortgage principal. It is generally used to cover closing costs.

A notice registered on title by a person claiming to have a proprietary interest (i.e. a right to call for or receive a transfer of charge) in land or in a charge (mortgage) of which he or she is not the registered owner. Cautions are registered to protect their interests. As a result, the registered owner of the land or charge cannot deal with the land or charge without consent of the cautioner.

Caveat Emptor
“Let the buyer beware”. Buyers must examine the goods or property they are buying since they buy at their own risk.

Central Bank
A body established by a national government to regulate currency and monetary policy on a national / international level. In Canada, it is the Bank of Canada; in the United States, the Federal Reserve Board; in the U.K., the Bank of England.

Certificate of Occupancy (Permit)
A certificate provided by the municipality that a property has been constructed under the authority of the issued building permit, has met the requirements of the building code, and is now suitable to be occupied.

Cessation of Charge
A discharge of a mortgage registered under the Land Titles Act.

Chain of Title
Chain of title refers to who has owned the land in the past. It is uncovered through the lawyer’s search. See extent of title.

Character (5 Cs of Credit)
The overall opinion on a borrower’s credibility to repay a loan; the borrower’s length of employment is a key measurement.

The name given to a mortgage document when title is registered under the Land Titles System. Also known as Certificate of Charge.

Movable possessions, personal property (generally items that may be removed without injury to the freehold estate).

Chattel Mortgage
A mortgage given on chattels. This type of mortgage is usually given as collateral security to a mortgage on real estate. As an example, there may be a chattel mortgage on refrigerators and stoves in an apartment building.

Closed Mortgage
A mortgage agreement that cannot be repaid, refinanced or renegotiated until maturity, unless otherwise stated in its terms.

Closing Date
The date on which a sale becomes final, funds are transferred from the purchaser to the vendor, and the new owner takes possession of a property.

Closing Process
The procedure of finalizing the sale, once the lender receives an accepted commitment.

One of two or more people applying together for a loan.

A sharing of risk between insurer and insured which depends on the relationship of the amount of the insurance carried versus the amount of insurance required at the time of the loss.

Collateral (5 Cs of Credit)
Guaranteed support for a loan, generally consisting of funds or real estate, that ensures added security to the lender. Collateral can also take the form of guarantees provided by third parties, i.e. guarantors.

Collateral Mortgage
The mortgage registered to document collateral security.

Collateral Security
Security given in addition to the direct security and subordinate to it.

Commercial Properties
Properties that are utilized for commerce or trade (e.g. stores, office buildings).

A letter / document issued by a lender reciting the basic terms of a loan which, when accepted by the borrower, forms a binding contract. The commitment may have conditions attached to it which must be met before the contract can be finalized.

Common Law
A legal system of principles and rules of action based on customs and common usages. It forms a major part of the law in many countries, especially those with a history as British territories, such as Canada. Common law developed from rulings by judges based on tradition, custom and precedent, with the idea being that there was a legal framework common to all cultures throughout time.

Common Mistake
Both parties make the same mistake in a term of the contract.

Completion Loan
The single disbursement of the total loan following satisfactory completion of the property.

Comparable Properties
Properties that contain similar characteristics to the subject property in an appraisal. Appraisals typically require three comparable properties. Comparables should have sold recently, be from the same or similar neighbourhood, be of the same style/age/condition, be of similar size and on similar lots. See Comparative Method of Appraisal.

Comparative Method of Appraisal
A method of appraisal that bases the value of the property on that of comparable properties.

Compound Interest
Interest charged not only on the principal sum but also on interest amounts charged, but not paid, in preceding periods that accumulate as new principal.

A clause or statement in the contract, which must be met to fulfil an obligation in the agreement.

Condition Precedent
Clause in a contract that lays down factors and/or events that must occur for the agreement to be binding.

Ownership of property whereby the owners hold negotiable title to their own unit. At the same time they share with fellow owners the title and cost of operation of the balance of the property (common elements) making up the condominium.

Consideration means “some right, benefit or profit accruing to the promisor or some forbearance, detriment, loss or responsibility suffered by the promissee”. In other words, when dealing with contracts, the party trying to enforce the contract must have provided some benefit in return for the promise to complete the contract.

A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more capable people for consideration or value, to do or not do some lawful and genuinely intended act.

Contract of purchase and sale
A contract involving the sale of a property that outlines the complete duties of the promisor and the promissee in the real estate transaction.

The transfer of an interest in property from one person to another.

Conventional Mortgage
A loan based on the credit of the borrower and on the collateral for the mortgage. A conventional mortgage does not exceed 75% of the market value of the property. This means that the borrower must have 25% or more available for the down payment.

Convertible Rate
Mortgages with a convertible rate feature allow borrowers to fix the rate of their variable rate mortgage at any time with no penalty.

A form of multiple ownership of real estate in which a corporation or business trust holds title to a property. Individual unit holders have the exclusive right to occupy their unit by lease but their investment in the corporation is by way of shares.

The idea that a property (present or future) can be held at the same time by several persons. The most common types of co-ownership are joint tenancy and tenancy-in-common.

A separate legal entity which exists apart from a person but has the rights and liabilities of an individual.

Cost of Goods Sold (Income Statement)
The costs of purchasing or producing and manufacturing items sold.

Counter Offer
A new offer made in response to an offer received. This has the effect of rejecting the original offer and placing the counter offer on the table for consideration.

An agreement in writing (in Common Law must be under seal) contained in a deed and creating an obligation. It may be positive, stipulating the performance of some action. It may be negative or restrictive, forbidding the commission of some act.

Credit (5 Cs of Credit)
The repayment history of the borrower.

Credit Report
A detailed description of the applicant’s credit records. This includes information provided by lenders concerning credit card payments and loans repayment history.

Credit Score
A single number that represents the information found in a borrower’s credit history. Equifax’s credit score is known as the Beacon Score, while TransUnion’s score is called the Empirica Score.

Credit Unions
Credit unions are lending institutions owned by their members. Membership is often based on a common bond of association such as employment or ethnic background.

One to whom a debt is owed.

Cross Default Clause
Mutual clauses in two or more mortgages, which state that a default under one mortgage constitutes a default under the other(s).

Current Assets
Goods that can easily be turned into cash, sold or consumed within a year’s time.

Current Liabilities
Debts and obligations that are expected to be paid within a year, e.g. account payable, expenses, taxes.

Current Ratio
A measure that shows the ability of a firm to pay its current liabilities. It is calculated by dividing current assets by current liabilities.



A financial solution determined by a court to compensate one party for injury by another party. Damages are intended to restore the parties to the state that would have existed if the contract had been performed.

Debt Service Ratios
Ratios that are used to compare borrowers’ debts to their incomes to determine if they can afford loans

Debt-to-Assets Ratio
This ratio identifies how much of a company’s operations are funded through borrowing. It is calculated by dividing total liabilities by the total assets.

Debt-to-Equity Ratio
Another ratio (see debt-to-assets) which assesses how much of a company’s operations are funded through borrowing, compared to the amount of money provided by the owners. It is calculated by dividing total liability by owners’ equity.

One who owes a debt.

The granting of land by the owner for some public use and its acceptance for such use by authorized public officials.

A legal document in writing, duly executed and delivered, that conveys title or an interest in real property.

Failure to fulfill contractual obligations.

Deficiency Judgment
A court order to pay the balance owed on a loan or mortgage if the proceeds from the sale of the security are insufficient to pay off the loan.

Deficiency Settlement
A monetary settlement by a mortgage lender or insurer when the net proceeds under a Power of Sale or Judicial Sale is less than the lender’s total claim.

Demand Letter
A letter sent by the lender to the borrower demanding immediate payment of all arrears, together with costs.

Characteristics of a population such as size, growth, age, etc.

The loss of value of an asset over time.

Direct Comparison
This type of appraisal, also referred to as the market data approach, bases property value on the current selling prices of similar properties.

Discharge Document
Once the receipt (acknowledging the completion of payment) has been processed and registered to the title, it becomes the discharge document.

Discharge of Mortgage / Charge
A legal document executed by the lender, and given to the borrower when a mortgage loan has been repaid in full, releasing him or her from all obligations and covenants contained in the mortgage.

Disclose Defects
To make known current or past imperfections. Failure to disclose defects will not affect consent, but will have the same effect as a misrepresentation.

Disclosure Statement
A written statement disclosing information about a specific loan and potential conflicts of interest required under various consumer protection acts.

Doctrine of Estates
It is the concept that specifies the various rights to land ownership in common law countries.

Doctrine of Privity
Also known as the “third party rule”. The doctrine of privity states that only parties to a contract are entitled to enforce a contract; third party beneficiaries do not have the right to take action.

Dollar Adjustments
These are estimates of the dollar amount allocated to each factor being compared to the subject property in an appraisal. For example a dollar adjustment would reflect how much extra a buyer would pay for a home with a finished basement compared to one with an unfinished basement. See percentage adjustment.

Dominant Tenement
The land which derives benefit from an easement over a servient tenement, as in a Right-of-way.

Double Up Option
A clause that may be included as part of an open mortgage contract, giving the borrower the opportunity to double the scheduled principal and interest payments.

Draft Mortgage Document
The foundation of the document is to specify all terms and conditions of the agreement. A lawyer must ensure its contents accurately list loan amounts, interest rates, proper legal descriptions, repayment contract and other factors that affect the loan agreement. The draft mortgage document is a last check on the mortgage required by some lenders.

The stages in which the borrower receives a partial loan disbursement in a builder’s loan.

The threat of force, false imprisonment or threats upon individuals to result in action or lack of action contrary to their wishes or interests. If duress is used to enter a contract, courts may find the agreement void and null.



Easement (Servitude)
A right enjoyed by one landowner over the land of another.

Economic Life
The estimated period over which it is anticipated that a property or asset may profitably be used.

Economic Obsolescence
A loss of value over time resulting from external determinants such as heavy traffic, crime and unfavourable non-residential land uses.

Effective Gross Income (Income Property)
The annual income from a property, if fully leased, less an annual allowance for vacancies and bad debts.

Effective Interest Rate (for Mortgages)
The actual rate that the borrower must pay on a loan after the effects of compounding are considered. It is also known as the true rate. It differs from the nominal interest rate.

Going out (access to exit).

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT )
The automatic transfer of funds from one account to another. Mortgage repayments can be made electronically directly to the lender.

Emili by CMHC
The automated mortgage insurance evaluation system of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

An improvement such as a wall, fence, or building that intrudes illegally upon another’s property.

Outstanding claim or lien recorded against property, or any legal right to the use of the property by a person who is not the owner.

Equity (for Mortgages)
The difference between lending value (the purchase price or market value) and indebtedness.

A court system that applied the principle of equity to decisions, emphasizing fairness and de-emphasizing technicalities.

Equity Financing (Lending)
Investment in the equity in leveraged or unleveraged real estate by investors. These investors are usually institutional and may or may not have provided the mortgage financing.

Equity of Redemption
The right of a borrower to repay a loan that was in default and retain possession of the property.

Error and Omissions Insurance
Insurance for professionals with respect to claims regarding mistakes and absences that occur when acting on behalf of a consumer.

Securities, instruments, money or other property deposited by two or more people with a third person, to be delivered on performance of a certain event.

An abstract legal right. Estates are interests and rights of ownership.

Estoppel Certificate
Legal certificate usually issued by a condominium corporation. It indicates details of the project and is given to the lender / purchaser or tenant. Delivery of the certificate prevents anyone from claiming a different set of facts at a later date.

Excel by Genworth Financial Canada
The automated mortgage insurance evaluation system of Genworth Financial Canada.

Existing Mortgage
A mortgage loan that is already in-place when the property is being sold. The buyer may have the option of taking over assuming the mortgage or taking out a new one, depending on whether or not the mortgage is assumable.

This is a feature available in some mortgages. It allows the borrower to increase or expand the principal on a first mortgage at the lender’s agreed upon interest rate.

Expropriation involves taking private property for public use, with fair compensation to the owner, through the exercise of the right of eminent domain.

Extended Coverage Endorsement
An endorsement that may be attached to fire insurance policies. It generally includes coverage against the peril of windstorm, hail, explosion, riot, civil commotion, damage by aircraft or vehicles and smoke.

Extension Agreement
An agreement extending a loan past the original maturity date.

Extent of Title
The quantitative factors that determine and affect ownership of land. They include boundaries, improvements, area of land, etc. See chain of title.

Exculpatory Clause
A clause in a contract holding one party harmless in the event of some default.



Face Rate
The contractual interest rate stated in a mortgage document or other financial instrument. Also known as the nominal rate.

Face Value
The face value of the loan is the amount of money the borrower promises to repay (at the contract rate of interest).

Fair Market Value
Fair market value, also known as market value, is the highest price reasonably expected for an interest in land when sold by a willing seller to a willing buyer after adequate time and exposure to the market.

The right of ownership of a property. In real estate, this is an inheritable estate in land.

Fee Simple
The highest estate or absolute right in real property. In common practice, fee simple is thought of as absolute ownership.

Fellow of the Real Estate Institute (Appraisal Specialist)
Awarded by the Real Estate Institute, the FRI(A) signifies quality and experience in appraisals and valuation of properties up to triplexes.

An individual or a trust institution charged with the duty of acting for the benefit of another party as to matters coming within the scope of the relationship between them. The relationship between a trustee and a beneficiary is an example of a fiduciary relationship. The implication in this type of relationship is that the fiduciary must act solely for the other person’s benefit, because of the trust placed in him or her.

Final Order of Foreclosure
A judgment which extinguishes the borrower’s (defendant’s) equity of redemption and beneficial title goes over to the lender.

Financial Institutions Commission of British Columbia (FICOM)
An agency of the British Columbia provincial government that administers the Real Estate and Mortgage Brokers Department, the Credit Unions and Trust Companies Department, the Insurance Department and the Pensions Department.

Finder’s Fee
A fee or commission paid by a lender to a mortgage professional for referring a mortgage loan.

First Mortgage
A mortgage registered before all others on title.

Fiscal Year
A business’ operating year. Some companies do not use the calendar year for their bookkeeping but run over a 12 month cycle, beginning and ending at another point in the year.

Five Cs of Credit
The ability and willingness of a borrower to pay is determined by five criteria:

  • Capacity – The ability of a borrower to repay a loan
  • Capital – The amount of money the borrower has invested into the property
  • Character – The overall feeling regarding a borrower’s credibility to repay a loan; the borrower’s length of employment is a key measurement
  • Collateral – Guaranteed support for a loan, generally consisting of funds or real estate, that ensures added security to the lender. Collateral can also take the form of guarantees provided by third parties, i.e. guarantors.
  • Credit – The repayment history of the borrower

Fixed Assets
Fixed assets are typically long term in nature. The value of fixed assets to a company lies in their use in producing goods and services, rather than in their sale value. Fixed assets wear out over time or otherwise lose their usefulness.

Fixed Rate Mortgage
In a fixed rate mortgage the interest is determined and is set for the term of the mortgage. Fixed rate mortgages are most desirable when current interest rates are low.

Chattels that have been attached to the land or building so as to lose their character as chattels.

The waiving of a covenant in a mortgage document.

A legal remedy available to a lender when there is default under any of the covenants in the mortgage. It deprives the borrowers of their equitable right to redeem.

In law, a foreigner refers to an individual who cannot read or speak the language of the contract. Foreigners are bound to agreements if they understand the nature of them. However, if an agreement is fraudulently interpreted by another party, then the contract is void.

Freehold Estate
An estate, or interest, in land or real property of uncertain duration, which is either of inheritance or for the life of the tenant. There are three (3) freehold estates, or interests: fee simple, fee tail and life estate.

When unexpected events occur that render the contract impossible to be performed, the frustrated party is allowed to rescind the contract without penalty.

Full Review
The most comprehensive type of appraisal, it includes a review of both the internal and external features of the property as well as an assessment of neighbourhood factors.

Fully Amortized Mortgages
A mortgage that requires the constant regular payments, including both principal and interest components, for the life of the mortgage.

Fully Open Mortgage
An open mortgage that allows principal payments to be made in any amount, at any time, in addition to regular mortgage payment, without penalty.

Functional Obsolescence (in Real Estate)
A loss of value over time due to some characteristic(s) of a building becoming less valuable as styles change. A building with no central air conditioning will suffer from functional obsolescence as air conditioning becomes “the norm” for new buildings.



Gale Date (for Mortgages)
The date on which interest is charged or compounded on the loan.

The legal attachment of a debtor’s wages, cash flow or assets by creditors. The party served with notice must comply with the Garnishee Order and forward funds to the creditor(s) named.

Genuine Consent
For genuine consent both parties must have a clear understanding of the details of the contract in question. Lack of genuine consent can void an agreement.

Good Title
A proof of ownership that is free of any legal holds or claims.

Technical term used in deeds of conveyance to indicate a transfer of an interest or estate in land.

The party to whom an interest in real property is conveyed (the buyer).

The person who conveys an interest in real estate by deed (the seller).

Gross Area
The total floor area of a building, measured from the outside of the exterior walls.

Gross Debt Service Ratio (GDS)
The percentage of the borrower’s income that is needed to make all payments for costs associated with housing. There is a maximum amount associated with this ratio to ensure that borrowers can afford to carry the debt.

Gross Income (Single Family)
The total annual personal income before deductions used in the calculation of an applicant’s debt service ratios.

Gross Leasable Area
The total floor area designed for tenant occupancy and exclusive use and that area on which tenants pay rent. This does not include common areas.

Gross Profit (Income Statement)
Total revenue of a business minus the cost of goods it sold.

Ground Lease
Contract for the rental of land, usually for a long term.

One who promises to pay a debt or perform an obligation contracted by another in the event the original borrower fails to pay or to perform as contracted.



High Ratio Mortgage
A mortgage is considered high ratio when the loan-to-value is 75% or more. This occurs when the borrower’s down payment is 25% or less of the property value.

Highest and Best Use
This is the most probable, legally allowable, financially feasible use for the property in question. The appraiser includes an opinion on this as part of the appraisal report.

The withholding of or non-advancement of a portion of a mortgage loan to maintain adequate security,
1. pending achievement of a performance requirement, or
2. as protection against liens.

Home Equity Financing
A type of mortgage refinancing in which the mortgage amount is increased to take advantage of the increased equity in a home.

The appropriate civil law term that corresponds to the common law concept of ‘mortgage’.



Illegal Contract
A contract that requires criminal acts and is thus void. The parties involved have no standing in court.

In law, an illiterate refers to an individual who cannot read or speak English. Illiterate individuals are bound to an agreement if they understand its nature. However, if it is fraudulently interpreted by another party, then the contract is void. See foreigner.

Immovable Property
The term used for real property (as opposed to personal property) in civil law.

Refers to the inability of people to make or engage in certain binding dispositions of their rights, such as entering into contracts.

Income Property
Real property that is used, or is capable of being used, for the production of annual income through leasing of the property.

Income Statement
Summarizes the findings of calculations between a company’s revenues and expenses. The income statement can be reported annually, quarterly or monthly. The income statement is generally broken down as follows:

  • Revenue or Sales – Earnings from day-to-day operations of the business
  • Cost of Goods Sold -The costs of production and manufacturing
  • Gross Profit – Total revenue of a business minus the cost of goods it sold
  • Operating Expenses -The total costs of the day-to-day operations
  • Net Income from Operations – The amount that is remaining when you subtract all costs and taxes from total sales

Incorporated Companies
A form of business ownership in which the business is set up as a separate legal entity under the laws of the jurisdiction it operates in (provincial and/or federal). When an incorporated company is a party to a contract it is important to determine if the company exists, and if it has the capacity to become a party to the contract.

That which cannot be forfeited or done away with.

Industrial Property
Property that contains units that are designed for manufacturing, production and warehousing.

Going in; right of entrance.

An order of a court of equity prohibiting an act or compelling an act to be done.

A formal written legal document.

Insurable Interest
An interest of such a nature that the occurrence of the event insured against would cause financial loss to the insured. Such interests, for example, may be that of an owner, a lender, a lessee or a trustee.

Insurable Value
The term is used conventionally to designate the amount of insurance that may be carried on destructible portions of a property to indemnify the owner in the event of loss.

Intangible Assets
Non-physical goods that have value to a business. Most common forms are business goodwill or legal rights to market a product.

An amount, expressed as a percentage, which a borrower agrees to pay on borrowed money, at a certain frequency as per an agreement with the lender.

Interest Accruing Loan
In this type of loan no payments on interest or the principal are paid until the end of the term. Only when the mortgage contract has expired are the payments due.

Interest Adjustment
The process of calculating compound interest payable on the amount borrowed between the day the loan is disbursed and the day the amortization period starts.

Interest Adjustment Date
The date from which interest is calculated at the rate and compounded at the frequency set out in the mortgage contract. It is normally the first day of the month following the closing of the mortgage transaction.

Interest Factor
The decimal equivalent for an interest rate on a unit amount for a certain period of time, calculated as the interest rate divided by the number of days in a year, times the number of days accrued.

Interest Only Loan
A loan in which the borrower only pays regularly scheduled payments on the interest to the lender and the principal remains the same during the life of the loan. The principal is repaid in full at the end of the loan’s term.

Interests Less than Estates , or Interests Less than Full Ownership
These describe the situation when a fee simple owner divides ownership according to the kind of use permitted or restricted upon the land.

Interest Plus Specified Principal Loan
Also known as a straight-line principal reduction loan. In this type of loan an equal amount of principal is repaid at every interest compounding period in addition to the interest that must be paid for that period.

Interest Rate
Interest rate is the percentage charged on outstanding loan balances.

Interest (Unities)
All joint tenants must have the same interest (extent, nature, duration) in the land.

Interim Financing (Construction Financing)
Interim loans are used to provide construction financing until the permanent loan can be funded.

Internal Rate of Return
That rate at which the present worth of all present and future investment costs equals the present worth of all present and future investment benefits.

Investment Property
Property which is rented out to individuals who do not own the property, and pay rent to the owner of that property. The opposite of an owner occupied property .

Invitation to treat
It is an action by one party inviting others to make an offer. It is not a contract. An invitation to treat may be seen as a request for expressions of interest.



Joint Tenancy
An ownership of property by two or more people, each of whom has an undivided interest subject to the right of survivorship.

Joint Venture
An arrangement under which two or more people or businesses go into a single venture as partners.

The official and authentic decision of a court of justices upon the respective rights and claims of the parties to an action or suit being litigated and submitted to its determination.

Judicial Sale
A legal remedy available to a lender when a mortgage is in default. With this remedy any excess money from the sale of the property over and above the mortgage debt is distributed to the borrower.

Junior Mortgage
A mortgage that is subsequent to the claims of the holder of a prior (senior) mortgage.



Known Defects
Problems associated with the title that are known before the policy is taken out.



Includes not only the ground or soil, but also everything that is attached to the earth, whether by course of nature, such as trees and herbage, or by the hand of man, such as houses and other buildings. It includes not only the surface of the earth but everything under it and over it. Condominium Acts divide land horizontally thereby limiting the vertical ownership.

Land Titles System
This is a system of land registration under which the registrar, or master of titles, passes on the validity of the mortgage instrument, determines its legal effect, and the Government guarantees title.

Land-use Regulations
Municipal level regulations that restrict and regulate the types of buildings and uses allowed on a property.

Late Charge
An additional charge a borrower is required to pay as penalty for failure to pay a regular installment when due.

Latent Defects
Present or potential imperfections or blemishes that are not readily evident.

Lawyer’s Report (or Opinion) on Title
The Lawyer’s Report outlines the mortgage details, including the results of the title search, tax details, fire insurance and any other related insurance coverage details, verification that title insurance has been obtained (if applicable), and any other relevant facts (i.e. easements, restrictions, liens).

Lead Lender (Mortgages)
A financial institution that heads up a financial consortium or syndicate of two or more lenders to provide funds for a mortgage.

A contract between landlord (lessor) and tenant (lessee) for the occupation or use of the landlord’s interest in a property by the tenant for a specified period of time and for a specified consideration (rent).

Lease Guarantee Insurance
Insurance that protects the owner of leased commercial and industrial real estate from loss of rental income through the failure of a tenant to make rental payments.

An estate or interest in an estate in real property held by virtue of a lease for a term of years. A leasehold is considered personal property.

Leasehold Mortgage
A mortgage given by lessees on the security of their leasehold interests in the land.

Legal Description

The written geographical description of a property (metes and bounds) as described in the land register.

Legal Intent
This means that for an individual to be bound by a contract, that person has intended to create a commitment.

Lending Value
The property value for mortgage purposes. Usually, the lesser of appraised value or sale price.


Letter of Instruction
A letter of instruction will call for the lawyer to act for the lender and administer the distribution of the mortgage loan.

A business’ or a borrower’s debts and legal obligations.

A claim on real or personal property for the payment of some undischarged debt or duty.

Life Estate or Interest
An interest in land that gives exclusive possession of the land for a lifetime only.

Limited-Restricted Appraisal
A type of appraisal that provides only an exterior inspection for transactions that are somewhat riskier than standard, e.g., in a new or unknown market, or in mixed use neighbourhoods but not high risk. Also known as a drive-by appraisal.

The readiness or ease with which an asset can be converted to cash.

Listing Agreement
The listing agreement is a contract between a seller and a real estate agent or broker. It sets out the conditions of the listing. A listing agreement generally includes, but is not limited to, the following: the length of the listing period, the desired sales price and the amount of the commission.

Loan Companies Act
A federal act regulating loan companies.

Loan Qualification
Also known as qualifying the borrower. Loan qualification is the process of analyzing the buyer’s eligibility for financing.

Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV)
The amount of the mortgage loan compared to the value of the property. This ratio is calculated by the lender prior to providing the loan. The results of this calculation help to determine whether or not the applicant will qualify for a loan and whether the application, if approved, will be for a conventional loan or a high ratio loan.

Long Term Investments
These investments are similar to fixed assets but typically do not depreciate in value.

Long Term Liabilities
Debts and obligations that must be repaid over a long period of time, e.g. mortgages.

Lump Sum Payment Option
A clause that may be included in an open mortgage allowing the borrower to prepay a portion of the principal if desired and in accordance with the specific terms of the contract.



Marketable Title
A title that may not be completely clear but has only minor objections that a well-informed and prudent buyer of real estate would accept.

Market Data Approach
One type of appraisal. See direct comparison and methods of appraisal.

Market Value Appraiser (MVA)
A designation awarded to practicing realtors who meet specific experience and education requirements by the Canadian Real Estate Association, the MVA demonstrates an acute sense of local markets and values that enables them to provide realistic residential appraisals to lenders.

The end of the mortgage’s term.

Maturity Date
The final day of the term of the mortgage, on which the balance of the mortgage owing becomes due.

Maximum Loan Amount
The maximum dollar that a lender is willing to fund. It is expressed as a percentage of the value of the property to be purchased when using the loan to value ratio.

Methods of Appraisal
There are three methods of appraisal:

  1. Direct Comparison
    Also known as market data approach. Direct comparison generates a property value based on the current selling prices of similar properties.
  2. Cost Approach
    An estimation of land value and the cost of replacing the building less the depreciation of the property in question.
  3. Income Method
    This method is used for valuating income-producing properties such as apartment complexes, plazas and commercial units.

Mill Rate
A rate which, when multiplied by each one thousand dollars of property assessment, gives the annual real estate taxes.

A statement of false facts, generally occurring during negotiations prior to contract creation. Misrepresentation typically induces the other party to enter the agreement.

Moratorium (Mortgage)
A period during which a borrower is granted the right to delay fulfillment of an obligation.

A legal method by which a borrower can pledge property to a lender as security for a debt. In Quebec, this is referred to as a hypothec.

Mortgage Agent
An individual authorized to deal in mortgages on behalf of a mortgage broker.

Mortgage Averaging
A method of determining a weighted mortgage rate. Mortgage averaging is used when calculating an “average” rate for a first and second mortgage, each of which has a different mortgage rate.

Mortgage Banker
One who originates mortgages with the intent to sell them to permanent investors. The mortgage banker does so under the understanding that it will service these loans for the investor.

Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS)
An MBS represents an undivided interest in a pool of insured residential first mortgages. As mortgages, these financial instruments are secured by the value of the underlying real estate. NHA MBS carry the CMHC Timely Payment Guarantee and represent an obligation of the Government of Canada.

Mortgage Bond
In recent years, there has been an increased activity in mortgage bonds, mainly for larger loans. When a very large loan is required, the number of potential lenders is limited. A loan in the category of $50,000,000 for instance, is usually made by the mortgage bond method that is really a device for dividing up the loan. A bond could be issued for an amount as low as $100,000 and sold to various pension funds through investment dealers on a public issue, or more commonly sold as a private placement issue.

Mortgage Broker
An individual authorized to deal in mortgage and lend money using real estate as a security.

Mortgage Brokers Act
A piece of legislation that regulates the activities of mortgage brokers across Canada. In Ontario, for example, the Mortgage Brokers Act regulates the activities of mortgage brokers in that province.

Mortgage Brokers Association of British Columbia (MBABC)
A non-profit association of mortgage brokers serving British Columbia.

Mortgage Consultant
See mortgage agent.

Mortgage Creditor Insurance
This type of insurance protects the borrower, by relieving the borrower of the need to make mortgage payments should unforeseen circumstances make it impossible for them to do so (e.g. serious illness or death).

Mortgage Default Insurance
A type of insurance which protects the mortgage lender in case the borrower defaults on the mortgage payments.

Mortgage Fraud
Any material misstatement, misrepresentation or omission relied upon by a lender or insurer to underwrite, approve, fund or insure a mortgage loan.

Mortgage Impairment Insurance
A master insurance policy carried by mortgage lenders that provides them with insurance proceeds in the event of an otherwise uninsured loss of a property securing their debt. Some policies also insure losses resulting from the borrower’s failure to pay real estate taxes.

Mortgage Originator
A mortgage professional engaged in the acceptance, completion and/or submission of the mortgage loan applications to an underwriting lender.

Mortgage Portfolio
The aggregate of mortgage loans held by an investor.

Mortgage Refinancing
The replacement of current mortgage financing with new financing, usually to take advantage of different interest rate or financial conditions or the existing equity in the property.

Mortgage Representative
Employees of a financial institution who originate mortgages. Unlike originators operating outside of lending institutions and are regulated provincially, institutional originators, if working for federally incorporated lenders, are governed under the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).

Mortgage Servicing
The process of managing the administrative duties resulting from the mortgage contract.

Mortgage Specialist
See mortgage agent.

Mortgage Term
The length of time the interest rate is guaranteed for a mortgage. Mortgage terms normally range from 6 months to 5 years or more, after which time the borrower can either repay the balance of the principal owing or re-negotiate the mortgage at current rates.

Mortgaged Out
The situation existing when the total mortgage debt equals or exceeds the market value or cost of the property.

The lender or creditor.

The borrower or debtor.

Movable Property
The term used for personal property (as opposed to real property) in civil law.



National Housing Act (NHA)
A federal act, administered by CMHC, which seeks to assist the private market in producing affordable housing to meet the needs of most Canadians.

Net Income/Net Loss from Operations (Income Statement)
The amount that is remaining when you subtract all costs and taxes from total revenues.

No Cost Switching of Payment Option
This option allows the borrower to change the payment schedule (to either monthly/semi-monthly/bi-weekly/weekly) in an open mortgage at no charge.

Refers to ‘no document necessary’ when confirming past income earnings.

Title insurance claims are paid on a no-fault basis, which means that the insurer cannot argue negligence in order to deny coverage.

Nominal Interest Rate
Also known as the stated rate. This is the interest rate used to calculate interest payments. It differs from the effective interest rate.

Non-Conforming Use
A property that is being used in contravention of current zoning by-laws but is permitted to remain because it pre-dates the enactment of these zoning by-laws.

Non-Disturbance Agreement
An agreement that permits a tenant under a lease to remain in possession despite any action by a lender.

Non Est Factum
Latin for “it is not my deed”. A claim of ‘non est factum’ means that the signature on the contract was signed by mistake or without knowledge of its meaning.

Notes to Financial Statements
The part of a financial statement that includes an auditor’s or accountant’s opinion on the statements and other relevant notes pertaining to the company’s operations and the specific methods of accounting used.



Offer to Purchase
A written contract outlining the terms under which the buyer agrees to purchase the property. There may be conditions attached to the offer, for example, the offer may be conditional on the buyer arranging mortgage financing or selling a current home.

The individual or group who receives an offer to enter into a contract.

The individual or group who presents something to another for acceptance or rejection.

Open Mortgage
An open mortgage allows a borrower to repay any amount of the principal at any time without notice or penalty. Mortgages may be partially open, having clauses that allow partial pre-payment at specified times, or in specified ways. For example,

  • Double Up Option
    The opportunity to double the scheduled principal and interest payments.
  • Lump Sum payment Option
    The choice to prepay a portion of the principal.
  • No Cost Switching of Payment Option
    This option allows the borrower to change the payment schedule (monthly/semi-monthly/bi-weekly/weekly).
  • Skip Payment Option
    This alternative grants the borrower the ability to skip a monthly payment without the mortgage going into default.

Operating Expenses (Income Statement)
The total costs of the day-to-day operations of a business.

Operational Costs (Mortgage Fraud)
Costs associated with collections, legal commitments and foreclosure, property repair, management, and resale of homes. See reputational costs and public costs.

Option Agreement
This is an agreement in which the seller has the right, but not the obligation, to undertake an action. This act allows the offer to be kept open for a period of time under a separate contract.

Owner Occupied
The owner of the land also resides in that property. The opposite of an investment property.

Owner’s Equity
The amount left over for the firm’s owner(s) if the company’s assets were used to pay off all its liabilities.



An expression used when a mortgage is sold or purchased for the outstanding balance without premium or discount.

Pari Passu
“On an equal basis”. When mortgages are syndicated, the lenders participate equally. No one party has preferential access to gains or is able to opt out of losses. In company stock, it refers to equal ranking of a company’s preferred shares.

Partial Discharge
A release from the mortgage of a definite portion of the mortgaged lands. A partial discharge may be given after the borrower has prepaid a specific portion of the mortgage debt.

Partially Amortized Mortgage
A mortgage that protects both borrowers and lenders from the risk of unexpected interest rate fluctuations. The loan matures on a short term basis, at which time the full amount of the outstanding amount must be either repaid or refinanced at current interest rates.

Income Participation: The lender’s right to share in the annual income produced by the property over the term of the mortgage, in addition to receiving debt repayments on the mortgage.

Equity Participation: Partial ownership of income or investment property given by the owner to the lender as part of the consideration for making the loan. There may be an indefinite term and may endure beyond the maturity of the loan. It need not involve any equity investment by the lender beyond the amount of the mortgage loan.

A business co-owned by two or more people. This form of ownership is less common than a sole proprietorship or a corporation. Like a sole proprietorship, a partnership does not exist as a separate legal entity. Each partner is taxed on his or her share of any profits.

The actions required by a contract or agreement to fulfill one’s obligations. The contract is considered completed following the last act of performance.

Percentage Adjustments
These are estimates of differences between each factor being compared to the subject property, expressed as a percentage of the sales price in an appraisal. For example, a buyer might pay 10% more (calculated as a percentage of the selling price) for a home with a finished basement compared to one with an unfinished basement. See dollar adjustment.

Perfecting Title
The elimination of any claims against title.

Performance Bond
A bond issued by a duly incorporated surety company. It covers faithful performance of the contract and payment of all obligations arising under the contract

Permanent Loan
An amortizing loan on completed property, intended to remain on that property over the full amortization period. The terms and conditions of the loan usually change during that period.

Personal Liability
The borrower’s personal assets are pledged, or subject to claim, in addition to a primary security.

Personal Property
Alternatively referred to as ‘chattels’. Personal property is more temporary and more destructible than real property.

The four costs included in the calculation of the gross debt service ratio, namely principal, interest, taxes, and heat.

Plot Plan
A drawing showing a layout of improvements on a site, including their location, dimensions and landscapes. It is generally a part of the architectural plans.

Portable Mortgage
A mortgage with an option that allows a buyer to transfer a current mortgage to a new property (typically subject to credit approval and a property appraisal).

Possession (Unities)
Each interest is an undivided interest in the whole of the property.

The deferment of a prior charge on title to another.

Power of Attorney
A written instrument, duly signed and executed by an individual, that authorizes someone to act on his or her behalf, to the extent indicated in the instrument.

Power of Sale
A clause generally inserted in mortgages giving the lender the right and power, on default by the borrower, to sell the mortgaged property by public auction, private contract or tender.

Pre-Authorized Cheques
Direct withdrawals of payments due from a borrower’s bank account in accordance with authority granted by the borrower.

The amount, often stated as a percentage, paid in addition to the face value of a mortgage when a mortgage is being purchased.

Prepayment Clause
A clause inserted in a mortgage that gives the borrower the privilege of paying all or part of the mortgage debt in advance of the maturity date.

Prepayment Penalty
The sum of money (usually equal to an amount of interest) a lender may require from a borrower to repay all or part of any outstanding principal in advance.

Prime Rate
The interest rate at which financial institutions lend to their best customers.

The amount upon which interest is paid.

Principal Risk
A risk to the lender associated with interest only loans. This risk is a result of market fluctuations. If the market value of a property falls, it might be less than the principal amount of the loan due at the end of the mortgage term. The lender might not be able the entire principal.

Prior Charge
An encumbrance ranking in priority over other, subsequent charges.

Private Mortgages
Mortgages provided by private corporations and individuals.

Profit Margin
A calculation of how effectively a firm is using its resources, calculated by dividing net income after taxes by revenues.

The person who can enforce the promise in a contract is called the promissee.

The person who makes the promise in a contract is called the promisor.

Property Valuator
This automated valuation model from Landcor Data Corp. produces estimates of current market value based on data from the British Columbia Assessment Authority.

Pur Autre Vie
A life estate, or interest, measured by the life of a third person rather than that of the person enjoying the property.



Qualifying the Borrower
Also known as loan qualification. This is the process of analyzing the buyer’s eligibility for financing.

Quick Ratio
A measure of a firm’s ability to pay current assets quickly, calculated by dividing current assets (minus inventories) by current liabilities.

Quiet Enjoyment
The right of a lessee (tenant) to use the leased property without interference from the lessor (owner).

Quiet Possession
The right granted by a lender to the borrower to use the property without interference by the lender until there is default.

Quit Claim
In conveyancing, to release or relinquish a claim. In mortgages, a form of title transfer of ownership from the owner to the lender. A quit claim is a default remedy.



Real Estate
The physical land and appurtenances including structures affixed on it.

Real Estate Act
In Alberta, an amalgamation of the Mortgage Broker’s Regulation Act and the Real Estate Licensing Act. It is administered by the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA).

Real Estate Automated Valuation System (reavs)
A system that provides an estimation of the value of residential property based on sales data and the nature of the property in relation to its neighbourhood.

Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
An investment trust that specializes in investing in real estate related investments, including mortgages, construction loans and real property in varying combinations.

Real Property
Often called “property”, “real estate”, or “land”. Real property is defined as the interests, benefits, and rights inherent in the ownership of physical real estate. It does not include personal property. In civil law, real property is referred to as immovable property.

The process of creating a new base for property taxation by updating assessments to reflect more current values.

A document acknowledging the completion of the repayment agreement under the terms of the contract and the release of the lender’s interest in the property.

Receiver (Mortgages)
An appointee of a court, requested by a lender when the borrower is in default, to receive and account for the rents and profits from mortgaged premises.

The duty of a lender, on being paid the principal, interest and costs due by the borrower, to hand to the borrower the title deeds together with an executed reconveyance of the mortgage property.

Registry System
The system of land registration in which all interests in land are recorded in chronological order. The registrar assumes no responsibility for the legal effect of the document.

Release of Covenant
An agreement by a lender to terminate the personal obligation of a borrower, usually upon sale of a property to a new purchaser who is acceptable to the lender, and who has signed an assumption agreement or other appropriate legal documents releasing a guarantor whose covenant is no longer required.

Renewal Agreement
An agreement through which the lender may agree to extend the mortgage loan, possibly on revised terms as to principal repayments and interest rate.

Periodic payments made by the lessee or tenant to the lessor or landlord in exchange for the use of their property.

Replacement Cost (Real Estate)
The cost of replacing a subject property with one having exactly the same utility.

Replacement Reserve
A cash reserve for the future replacement of fixed assets.

Reputational Costs (Fraud)
Costs associated with potential damage to the reputations of the mortgage professional, lending organization, and mortgage industry. See operational costs and public costs

The act of rescinding; the cancellation of a contract and the return of the parties to the state in which they would have been if the contract had not been made.

Restrictive Covenant
A contract between neighbouring landowners restricting the use of one of the properties. It must be negative in nature.

Return on Equity
A measure of how much income is generated by each dollar of equity, calculated by dividing net income after taxes by the owners’ equity.

Reverse Mortgage
This type of mortgage allows older consumers to convert their home equity into monthly cash payment(s), generally for living expenses. A homeowner’s equity is gradually drawn down by a series of monthly payments from the lender to the homeowner – the borrower. At the end of the loan period, or upon the death of the borrower, the loan balance is due, which is usually settled by the heirs who sell the property to meet the outstanding obligation.

A right to future possession retained by an owner at the time of the transfer of his or her interest in real property.

Right of Survivorship (Real Estate)
The right of survivorship comes into effect when land is held in undivided portions by co-owners and one of them dies. In this instance, the deceased’s interest in the land passes to the surviving co-owner, rather than to the deceased’s heirs.

The right to pass over another’s land according to the nature of the easement.



Sale Holdback
A percentage of the principal amount of the mortgage held back by the lender until the property in question has been sold to a party satisfactory to the lender and until this party has assumed the responsibility of the mortgage by the appropriate legal document.

Sale Leaseback
A technique in which a seller deeds property to a buyer and the buyer simultaneously leases the property back to the seller, usually on a long-term basis.

Earnings from day-to-day operations of the business.

Sales Data Report
A quick, no-inspection based appraisal that estimates a value for good quality real estate in low risk neighbourhoods. It provides important information but lacks in-depth details that other appraisals provide. The value estimate is based on MLS sales and listing data.

Schedule I, II and III Banks
Schedule I banks, as defined by the Bank Act, have shares that are widely held. Schedule II banks are more closely held. Schedule III banks are foreign bank branches of foreign institutions.

Seasonal Deficiencies
Work necessary to finish a property that cannot be completed immediately because of seasonal or climatic conditions.

Secondary Financing
Financing real estate with a loan, or loans, subordinate to a first mortgage.

Secondary Mortgage Market
A market where existing mortgages are bought and sold.

Second Mortgage
A mortgage placed on real property which is already encumbered with one mortgage. Determination of first, second, third mortgage, etc. is determined by priority of registration (time and date).

Servient Tenement
The parcel of land over, or through which, an easement runs.

The term for easement in Quebec.

Severance (Real Estate)
The subdivision of a parcel of land.

A shareholder, also referred to as a stockholder, is someone who legally owns one or more shares of stock in a company. The shareholders are the owners of the company.

Shareholder’s Equity
The difference between the assets and liabilities of a corporation, sometimes called net worth.

Sheriff’s Certificate
A signed statement from the sheriff’s office certifying that there are no judgments against the specific land.

Simple Interest
The cost of borrowing money, calculated by applying the interest rate to the original principal amount only. In contrast to compound interest, interest is not charged on interest.

Skip Payment Option
This is an example of a mortgage clause that may be added to an open mortgage. If this clause is part of the mortgage agreement, the borrower has the ability to skip a monthly payment without the mortgage going into default.

Sole Proprietorship
A business owned by a single person and not registered as a corporation. The sole proprietorship has unlimited liability.

Specific Performance
An equitable remedy to compel performance of a real estate or mortgage contract according to the specific terms of the contract.

Standby Commitment
An agreement by a lender to provide a certain amount of takeout mortgage financing on specific terms in the future. This commitment enables the borrower to arrange construction financing from other sources. The commitment is issued for a fee and the lender is willing to disburse the committed funds in the event that a permanent loan on more favourable terms is not obtained.

Standby Fee
A sum of money given by the borrower to the lender to hold a mortgage commitment for a certain period of time. The fee is normally non-refundable.

Standing Mortgage
A mortgage that provides for equal, regular lump-sum payments of principal, usually quarterly, plus accrued interest.

Standing Offers
Proposals which are made to the general public and can be accepted by anyone. Once one person has accepted a standing offer, no one else can accept it unless more than one acceptance was contemplated in the offer.

Starter Home
A small, inexpensive home generally bought by singles or newlyweds, with the intent to sell in a few years.

Statement of Changes in Financial Position
A financial statement that shows how a company obtains and uses its cash.

Statement of Retained Earnings
A financial statement that indicates the amount of earnings that have been kept in the business, either in the form of cash equity or invested in new assets for the company.

Statute Law
Law that has been passed by an Act of Parliament or by a provincial legislature.

Statutory Right of Way
A special type of easement granted by provincial legislation that permits a land owner, crown corporations or municipalities, to use another’s land. One example of such a right of way is the right of a water authority to lay water pipe under an individual’s land.

Step Mortgage
A mortgage product that attaches a mortgage loan to a line of credit in one package.

Subject Property
The property that is being appraised.

Subject to, or junior to.

The act of one party acknowledging by written recorded instrument that a debt due is inferior to the interest of another in the same property. Subordination may apply not only to mortgages but also to leases, real estate rights, and any other type of debt instrument.

Subprime Transactions
Classification of lending based on the payment risk that the lender faces. Subprime deals (also known as B and C deals) face a higher risk that the amount of money lent will not be repaid, compared to prime deals (also known as A deals).

Replacing one person with another in regard to a legal right, interest, or obligation. An example of this would be a mortgage holder’s selling his rights and interest to another.

Submortgage Broker
The term used in British Columbia to describe a licensed individual employed by a broker and working as a mortgage originator.

Subscription Policy (Insurance)
A single insurance policy that states that two or more insurance companies are sharing the risk.

The guarantee given for the performance of someone else.

A survey sets out the legal description of a mortgaged property, allowing confirmation that any building sits within the described boundaries of the land. Land boundaries, areas and improvements are determined and plotted on the survey. Surveys are also used for identifying easements.

Surveyor’s Certificate
A formal statement signed, certified, and dated by a surveyor giving the pertinent facts about a particular property and any easements or encroachments affecting it. Such certificates are no longer available in Ontario.

A group of lenders that share in the principal disbursement of a large loan to spread risk or to comply with statutory restrictions on loan size.



Take-out Loan
A first mortgage loan that is committed and expected to be made upon completion of a property with the loan proceeds to be used to repay an interim or construction loan.

Target Market
The clients or customers that are sought after by a business. They typically share similar demographic characteristics.

Tax Certificate
A certificate from the appropriate taxing authority giving the status of real estate taxes or other assessments affecting the property.

Tenants in Common
An ownership of property by two or more people, each of whom has an interest in the property. Tenants in common may have different shares in the property. Unlike the case in joint tenancy, a tenancy in common does not end because one party chooses to sell his or her interest. Instead, the purchaser simply becomes the new tenant in common.

In a mortgage, term is the actual length of time for which the money is loaned. The term is usually shorter than the amortization period. At the end of the term the outstanding debt must either be refinanced at current market rates or paid off in full.

Term Mortgage
A non-amortizing mortgage under which the principal is paid in its entirety at the maturity date. A term mortgage is sometimes called a straight loan.

Third Mortgage
A mortgage placed on real property which is already encumbered with a first and second mortgage. Determination of first, second, and third or subsequent mortgage is by priority of registration (time and date).

Time (Unities)
All joint tenants must receive their interests at the same time.

The legal evidence that shows the rightful owner of land.

Title (Unities)
All joint tenants must obtain their interest from the same document.

Title Fraud
A range of fraudulent activity regarding the ownership of property. One form of title fraud involves taking out a mortgage against a home that the fraudster does not own. The fraudster assumes the homeowner’s name and credit history, but absconds with the loan proceeds.

Title Insurance Policy
A contract by which the insurer, usually a title insurance company, agrees to pay the insured a specific amount for any loss caused by insured defects to title of a property, for which the insured has an interest as purchaser, lender or otherwise.

Title Search
An examination of public records to determine the state of title.

Torrens System
The Land Titles System as originated in Australia by a Mr. Torrens in 1858. The Torrens system is a system for the registration of land title, indicating the state of the title, including ownership and encumbrances, without the necessity of an additional search of the public records.

Total Debt Service Ratio (TDS)
One of the ratios used to determine whether or not a borrower is able to carry the debt load for a mortgage. The ratio is calculated as the percentage of annual income required to cover housing costs (GDS) plus any other loans that an individual has, such as those resulting in credit card and car payments. There is a maximum amount associated with this ratio to ensure that borrowers can afford to carry the debt.

Trading Down
Typically, ‘empty nesters’ or aging people sell their existing homes and buy smaller homes with the aim reducing the cost of home ownership and helping to fund retirement.

Trailer Fee (Mortgage Financing)
A fee that a lender may pay to a mortgage originator for sourcing a mortgage with that lender. The fee is paid annually and continues for as long as the borrower keeps the mortgage with that lender. This practice is relatively new to the mortgage industry but has a long standing history in the mutual fund industry.

Transfer of Charge
Assignment of a mortgage.

Trust Company
A commercial bank or other corporation that manages, holds, or invests assets for the benefit of others.

Trust Companies Act
A federal act regulating trust companies.

Trust Deed
A written instrument duly executed, sealed, and delivered, conveying or transferring property to a trustee. A trust deed usually, but not necessarily, covers real property.

An individual who is given legal responsibility to hold property in the best interest of or “for the benefit of” another.



Unconscionable Transactions
Similar to Undue Influence. This situation occurs when there is a disproportion of power between individuals, with the weaker individual in the control of the stronger individual, and acting under that person’s direction in an unreasonable or unfair manner.

This is the process undertaken by lenders and insurers to verify the mortgage application information and supporting documentation submitted, make an assessment of risk on both the applicant(s) and the property, and approve or decline the mortgage loan.

Undue Influence
Unlike duress, undue influence has subjective boundaries; it occurs when one party suffers pressure (non-physical force such as manipulation or persuasion) to enter a contract against his or her wishes or interests. Evidence of such control may result in invalidation of the agreement by the courts.

Unenforceable Contract
Similar to void contracts, unenforceable contracts cannot be acted upon. Typically oral contracts are unenforceable.

Unilateral Mistake
One party is mistaken while the other party is aware of it and makes no attempt to rectify it.

In common law, unities are the four conditions required to create and maintain joint tenancy. They are time, title, interest and possession.
All joint tenants must obtain their interest from the same document.
All joint tenants must receive their interests at the same time.
Each interest is an undivided interest in the whole of the property.
All joint tenants must have the same interest (extent, nature, duration) in the land.

Usury Rate
The maximum legal rate for interest, discounts, or other fees that may be charged for the use of money.



Valuation Date
The date used for establishing the assessed value for all properties in a jurisdiction; formerly called a “base year”.

Variable Rate Mortgage
is type of mortgage, also referred to as adjustable rate mortgage, is the opposite of a fixed rate mortgage. The interest rate on this loan may change during the term of the mortgage reflecting changes in the current market rates.

Vendor Take-Back Mortgage (or Seller Take-Back Mortgage)
A mortgage in which the vendor uses his or her own equity to provide some or all of the mortgage financing in order to sell the property.

Vendor’s Lien
A notice registered on title by the vendor, protecting the vendor for the unpaid balance of the purchase price. It is usually collaterally secured by a mortgage.

Vendor’s Warranty
A guarantee that implies a home will be built in the appropriate way so that it is suitable for human habitation. If this guarantee is not met, the purchaser is entitled to damages for warranty violation.

Vicarious Performance
The subcontracting or delegating of a contractual obligation to a third party.

Void Contract
A contract or agreement that has no legal force or validity.

Voidable Contract
A contract that has the capability of being made void by one of the parties involved but is valid until rescinded.



Warranties are assurances that are not vital to the contract (unlike conditions), such that a violation of warranty will not result in the termination of the contract.

Working Capital
An indication of how much money would remain once all current liabilities were paid. It is calculated by determining the difference between current assets and current liabilities.

A form of written command in the name of sovereign, state, court, etc. issued to an official or other person and directing him or her to act or abstain from acting in some way.



Yield to Maturity
A percent returned each year to the lender on actual funds borrowed, considering that the loan will be paid in full at the end of maturity.



The uses to which property may be put in specific areas, as specified by municipal authorities .