Mortgage Clauses Page 1 MORTGAGE CLAUSES

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1 Mortgage Clauses Page 1 MORTGAGE CLAUSES

2 IF YOU REQUIRED MORTGAGE FINANCING TO PURCHASE YOUR PROPERTY, ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS YOU LL SIGN IS THE MORTGAGE CONTRACT. THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF CLAUSES AND COVENANTS, SOME OF THE MORE IMPORTANT ONES ARE SUMMARIZED IN THIS ARTICLE. Mortgage Clauses Page 2

3 Mortgage clauses are provisions contained in a mortgage contract that outline special rights, powers or remedies. Mortgage contracts also contain various covenants, which are promises or agreements between the lender and borrower. Because there are many different types of mortgage contracts (which may be subject to both state and federal law), mortgage contract provisions can vary widely. WHAT ARE MORTGAGE CLAUSES AND WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT? As a homebuyer, you ll sign a mountain of paperwork at the closing or settlement meeting. If you required mortgage financing to purchase your property, one of the most important documents you ll sign is the mortgage contract. Few closing attorneys or settlement agents review each and every provision of the mortgage contract with a homebuyer. It s important, therefore, to understand the clauses or provisions contained in your mortgage. Although there are many different types of clauses and covenants, some of the more important ones are summarized here. WHAT IS AN ACCELERATION CLAUSE? An acceleration clause in a mortgage contract allows the lender, in certain circumstances, to demand that the entire balance of the loan be repaid in a lump sum immediately. This clause may be triggered, for instance, if the borrower defaults on a regularly scheduled payment. Generally, the lender is required to give notice to the borrower before acceleration is invoked. Specifically, the buyer is notified of the default, the action required to cure the default and the date by which the default must be cured. If the default is cured, the mortgage is reinstated. If it s not cured, the lender may invoke a statutory power of sale and begin foreclosure proceedings. (See due-on-sale clause below.) WHAT IS AN ASSUMPTION CLAUSE? With an assumable mortgage, the assumption clause allows a buyer to take over the home seller s mortgage loan and monthly payment obligations, instead of obtaining a new mortgage. In many cases, the buyer may also be able to assume the seller s interest rate. By assuming a mortgage, a buyer can avoid settlement costs and loan application procedures. However, most conventional mortgages at present are not assumable (i.e., there is a nonassumption clause in the mortgage contract). Mortgage Clauses Page 3

4 SHOP AROUND Shop around among various mortgage lenders. Start out by looking in the real estate section of the newspaper and surfing the Internet for information on different lenders. Also, be sure to ask friends family, and real estate professionals (e.g., attorneys, real estate agents) for references. In addition to low costs and rates, you ll want to consider the types of loans each lender offers, whether the lender has a good reputation for loan servicing and the type of loan approval process the lender uses. Tip: Typically, the better your overall financial picture, the better the loan terms you ll be offered. THE APPLICATION PROCESS Once you have decided on a particular lender, you ll meet with that lender and be asked to fill out an application. The application will give the lender information on areas such as your employment history, your income/expenses and your assets/liabilities. You ll also be asked to provide the following documents: Bank account numbers, the address of your bank and account statements from the past three months All investment statements from the last three months Pay stubs, W-2 forms or other proof of employment and income verification Proof of payment history on revolving debt (e.g., credit card statements, canceled rent checks) Information on other consumer debt (e.g., car loans, student loans) Divorce settlement papers, if applicable Tip: Having all of your documentation in order ahead of time will speed up the application process. Tip: You may also have to pay an initial application fee. Once you have completed the application and supplied the necessary paperwork, your lender will submit the application for underwriting, which means that the information you supplied on the application will be verified and submitted to an underwriter for approval. It is usually at this time that the lender will order an appraisal and perform a credit check. If your loan application is approved, you will receive a letter from your lender that outlines the terms and amount of the loan. You ll then work with your lender and other individuals (e.g., closing agent) to schedule a date for the closing. Fully assumable mortgages With a fully assumable mortgage, the lender places no restrictions on who may assume the loan. Fully assumable mortgages were available in the 1980s, but Mortgage Clauses Page 4

5 many of these have either been paid off or ended through new refinancing terms. Those that still exist are generally not very attractive to homebuyers because they often have relatively high interest rates and the balance is usually quite low. The new borrower would then have to obtain other financing sources to cover the difference between the home s selling price and the mortgage balance being assumed. Qualified assumptions Modern assumable mortgages are usually qualified, which means that the loan can be assumed only if the lender approves the new borrower. Approval standards are often stringent, and the new borrower may have to pay various fees and charges before taking over the loan. The approval standards for assuming fixed rate mortgages are generally stricter than for assuming adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs). WHAT IS A CONVERSION CLAUSE? There are many different types of mortgage contracts (which may be subject to both state and federal law), and provisions can vary widely. It s important, therefore, to understand the clauses or provisions contained in your mortgage. Conversion clauses are often found in ARM contracts. This feature allows you to convert the ARM to a fixed rate mortgage at a designated time. The terms and conditions vary from lender to lender. Generally, though, you must give your lender 30 days notice before converting. You must also pay a fee, usually $250 to $500. Some lenders specify when a conversion can be made, while others allow it any time during the first three to five years of the loan. The interest rate for a convertible ARM may be somewhat higher than for a nonconvertible ARM, and your up front costs may be greater. When you convert, your new fixed interest rate is generally set at the current market rate for fixed rate mortgages. (Again, though, this can vary from lender to lender.) WHAT IS A DUE-ON-SALE CLAUSE? A due-on-sale clause allows a lender to accelerate the loan if the borrower transfers a substantial beneficial interest in the property to another party. This may happen, for example, if the home is sold, the title to the property is changed or the loan is refinanced. WHAT IS A DUE-ON-SALE CLAUSE? In many cases, you re required to pay hazard insurance and property tax installments to the lender in advance. With an escrow covenant, the lender holds the funds in an escrow account until the payments are due to the insurer and Mortgage Clauses Page 5

6 property tax authority. Normally, either you d submit the tax and insurance bills to your lender, or the lender would receive the property tax bill from a tax service and the insurance bill from your homeowners insurance carrier. The lender would then make payments to the proper party. WHAT IS AN INSURANCE COVENANT? The insurance covenant requires the borrower to keep the property insured against loss by fire and certain other hazards (at least up to the amount of the mortgage). If the borrower fails to maintain adequate hazard insurance coverage, the lender may obtain this coverage at the borrower s expense. In the event of any loss, the borrower promises to give prompt notice to the insurance carrier and the lender. WHAT IS A PREPAYMENT CLAUSE? Some mortgages charge a prepayment penalty if the borrower pays off the loan prior to maturity. A prepayment clause generally gives the borrower the right to pay off the loan prior to maturity without paying such a penalty. n Mortgage Clauses Page 6

7 Atlanta Austin Baltimore Boston Chicago Denver Houston Newport Beach New York San Francisco Washington, D.C Copyright 2013, Forefield, Inc. All rights reserved. Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management, a CIBC company, includes Atlantic Trust Company, N.A. (a limited-purpose national trust company) and AT Investment Advisers, Inc. (a registered investment adviser), both of which are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Atlantic Trust Group, LLC. This document is intended for informational purposes only, and the material presented should not be construed as an offer or recommendation to buy or sell any security. Concepts expressed are current as of the date of this document only and may change without notice. Such concepts are the opinions of our investment professionals, many of whom are Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA ) charterholders or CFP professionals. Chartered Financial Analyst and CFA are trademarks owned by CFA Institute. The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA ) designation is a globally recognized standard for measuring the competence and integrity of investment professionals. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board s initial and ongoing certification requirements. There is no guarantee that these views will come to pass. Past performance does not guarantee future comparable results. The tax information contained herein is general and for informational purposes only. Atlantic Trust does not provide legal or tax advice, and the information contained herein should only be used in consultation with your legal, accounting and tax advisers. To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. To the extent that information contained herein is derived from third-party sources, although we believe the sources to be reliable, we cannot guarantee their accuracy. Approved T212p-13. For Public Use. Investment Products Offered are Not FDIC-Insured, May Lose Value and are Not Bank Guaranteed. Wilmington Follow us on Facebook: AtlanticTrustPWM, and LinkedIn: Mortgage Clauses Page 7

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