Real Estate Glossary F

F

Fair Credit Reporting Act

A consumer protection law that regulates the disclosure and use of consumer credit information, establishes rules for credit reporting to consumer credit reporting agencies, and establishes procedures for a consumer to view his or her credit report and correct mistakes on it.

fair market value

The price that a buyer, willing but not compelled to buy, and a seller, willing but not compelled to sell, would agree on.

Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association FNMA)

Fannie Mae, a New York Stock Exchange company and the largest non-bank financial services company in the world. It operates pursuant to a federal charter and is the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages. It adds liquidity to the mortgage market by investing in home loans through the country.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA)

An agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Its main activity is the insuring of residential mortgage loans made by private lenders. The FHA sets standards for construction and loan underwriting but does not lend money or plan or construct housing.

fee simple

Fee simple is an unconditional, unlimited estate of inheritance that represents the greatest estate and most extensive interest in land that can be enjoyed. It is of perpetual duration. When the real estate is in a condominium project, the unit owner is the exclusive owner only of the air space within his or her portion of the building (the unit) and is an owner in common with respect to the land and other common portions of the property.

FHA coinsured home loan

A loan (under FHA Section 244) for which the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the originating lender share the risk of loss in the event of the borrower's default.

FHA home loan

A mortgage home loan that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Also known as a government loan.

firm commitment

A lender's agreement to make a loan to a specific borrower on a specific property.

Financial Crisis

The financial crisis of 20072009 began in July 2007 when a loss of confidence by investors in the value of securitized mortgages in the United States resulted in a liquidity crisis that prompted a substantial injection of capital into financial markets by the United States Federal Reserve, Bank of England and the European Central Bank. The TED spread, an indicator of perceived credit risk in the general economy, spiked up in July 2007, remained volatile for a year, then spiked even higher in September 2008, reaching a record 4.65% on October 10, 2008. In September 2008, the crisis deepened, as stock markets worldwide crashed and entered a period of high volatility, and a considerable number of banks, mortgage lenders and insurance companies failed in the following weeks.

first mortgage (also referred to as a home loan)

A home loan that is the primary lien against a property.

fixed installment

The monthly payment due on a mortgage loan. The fixed installment includes payment of both principal and interest.

Fixed period ARM

Provides a fixed rate for 3, 5, 7 or 10 years then adjusts annually based on a financial index for the remaining loan term.

fixed rate loan

A mortgage in which the interest rate does not change during the entire term of the loan.

fixture

Personal property that becomes real property when attached in a permanent manner to real estate (such as a lighting fixture or an in-ground spa).

flood insurance

Insurance that compensates for physical property damage resulting from flooding. It is required for properties located in federally designated flood areas.

foreclosure

Foreclosure is the legal process by which a borrower's interest in mortgaged property is taken because of a default on the loan. This usually involves a forced sale of the property at public auction with the proceeds of the sale being applied to the mortgage debt.

forfeiture

The loss of money, property, rights, or privileges due to a breach of legal obligation.

401(k)/403(b)

An employer-sponsored investment plan that allows individuals to set aside tax-deferred income for retirement or emergency purposes. 401(k) plans are provided by employers that are private corporations. 403(b) plans are provided by employers that are not-for-profit organizations.

401(k)/403(b) loan

Some administrators of 401(k)/403(b) plans allow for loans against the monies accumulated in these plans - monies must be repaid to avoid serious penalty charges.

Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation)

Freddie Mac A federal agency within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which insures residential mortgage loans made by private lenders and sets standards for underwriting mortgage loans.