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Glossary - F
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Fair credit reporting act
A consumer protection law that regulates the disclosure of consumer credit reports by consumer/credit reporting agencies and establishes procedures for correcting mistakes on one's credit record.

Fair housing act
The federal law that prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status and national origin.

Fair housing laws
Federal, state, and local laws, particularly Title VIII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which forbid discrimination because of race, sex, color, religion, or national origin, in the selling or renting of homes or apartments, and in other specified transactions. These laws have been recently been expanded to include familial status (having children) and disabilities (Americans with Disabilities Act).

Fair market value
The highest price that a buyer, willing but not compelled to buy, would pay,
and the lowest a seller, willing but not compelled to sell, would accept.

Fannie mae
A quasi-government agency established to purchase any kind of mortgage loans in the secondary mortgage market from the primary lenders.

Fannie mae's community home buyer's program
An income-based community lending model, under which mortgage insurers and Fannie Mae offer flexible underwriting guidelines to increase a low- or moderate-income family's buying power and to decrease the total amount of cash needed to purchase a home. Borrowers who participate in this model are required to attend pre-purchase home-buyer education sessions.

Fannie 97®
A financing option for a fixed-rate mortgage that offers home buyers a 3 percent down payment loan with either a 25- or 30-year term. The mortgage features a loan-to-value (LTV) percentage of 97 percent, and is designed to expand home ownership opportunities for people with modest incomes. Borrowers must take a pre-purchase home-buyer education session to qualify for a Fannie 97 mortgage.

Farmer's home administration (FmHA)
An agency of the federal government that provides credit assistance to farmers and other individuals who live in rural areas.

Federal deposit insurance corporation (FDIC)
An independent federal agency that insures the deposits in commercial banks.

Federal emergency management agency (FEMA)
FEMA is the governmental unit that has leadership responsibilities for the Nation's emergency management system. Once the President has declared a major disaster, FEMA coordinates not only its own response activities but also those of as many as 28 other Federal agencies that may participate. FEMA also works with States, territories, and communities during non-disaster periods to help plan for disasters, develop mitigation programs, and anticipate what will be needed when major disasters occur. Among its many responsibilities the agency operates the Federal Insurance Administration, which makes flood insurance available to residents of communities that agree to adopt and enforce sound floodplain management practices.

Federal home loan mortgage corporation (FHLMC)
A corporation established to purchase primarily conventional mortgage loans in the secondary mortgage market.

Federal housing administration (FHA)
A federal agency established to improve housing standards and conditions.
The FHA provides mortgage insurance to approved lending institutions.

Federal national mortgage association (FNMA)
A quasi-government agency established to purchase any kind of mortgage loans in the secondary mortgage market from the primary lenders.

Federal reserve system
The country's central banking system, which is responsible for the nation's monetary policy by regulating the supply of money and interest rates.

Fee simple
The greatest possible interest a person can have in real estate.

Fee simple absolute
The maximum possible estate or right of ownership of real property, continuing forever.

Fee simple de feasible
An estate in which the holder has a fee simple title that may be divested upon the occurrence or nonoccurrence of a specified event. There are two categories of de feasible fee estates: fee simple on condition precedent (fee simple determinable) and fee simple on condition subsequent.

Fee simple estate
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.

Feudal system
A system of ownership usually associated with pre colonial England, in which the king or other sovereign is the source of all rights. The right to possess real property was granted by the sovereign to an individual as a life estate only.

FHA coinsured mortgage
A mortgage (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 mortgagor's default.

FHA loan
A loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration and made by an approved lender in accordance with the FHA's regulations.

FHA Mortgage
A mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
Along with VA loans, an FHA loan will often be referred to as a government loan.

Fiduciary
One in whom trust and confidence is placed; a reference to a broker employed under the terms of a listing contract or buyer agency agreement.

Fiduciary relationship
A relationship of trust and confidence, as between trustee and beneficiary, attorney and client or principal and agent.

Financial institutions reform, recovery and enforcement act (FIRREA)
This act restructured the savings and loan association regulatory system; enacted in response to the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s.

Finder's fee
A fee or commission paid to a mortgage broker for finding a mortgage loan for a prospective borrower.

Firm commitment
A lender’s agreement to make a loan to a specific borrower on a specific property.

First mortgage
The mortgage that is in first place among any loans recorded against a property. Usually refers to the date in which loans are recorded, but there are exceptions.

Fiscal policy
The government's policy in regard to taxation and spending programs.
The balance between these two areas determines the amount of money the government will withdraw from or feed into the economy, which can counter economic peaks and slumps.

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

Fixed-rate mortgage(FRM)
A mortgage in which the interest rate does not change during the entire term of the loan.

Fixture
An item of personal property that has been converted to real property by being permanently affixed to the realty.

Flood control district
A special taxing district created to provide flood control in specific areas of a county.

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

Flood plain

Flood plains are by definition subject to periodic flooding. They are generally characterized by relatively flat topography and soil types that were laid down during past inundations by flood waters. If your property is in the 100-year flood plain, there is a 1-in-100 chance in any given year that your property will flood. If it is in the 25-year flood plain, there is a 1-in-25 chance in any given year that your property will flood. The statistical chance of flooding is not changed by any one flooding event; but repeated flooding may result in the flood plain being recalculated.
A 100-year flood plain is always wider than a 25-year flood plain, and the 25-year flood plain is contained within the 100-year flood plain. The flood prone areas of the United States cover approximately 150,000 square miles or 94 million acres of land, an area roughly the size of the State of Montana. People living in flood plains are 26 times more likely to experience a flooding disaster than they are a fire disaster during the life of the 30-year mortgage on their homes.
The changes in flood plain maps reflect changes in land use (such as increased building activity), changes in the waterways, and flood control improvements (such as detention ponds or other flood control measures).
As more lots are covered with more buildings and parking lots, the amount of water that flows into creeks and lakes increases because there is less vegetation to absorb the water when it rains. This is one reason why buildings that were not originally built in a flood plain are now in the 25-year or 100-year flood plain.

Foreclosure
A legal procedure whereby property used as security for a debt is sold to satisfy the debt in the event of default in payment of the mortgage note or default of other terms in the mortgage document. The foreclosure procedure brings the rights of all parties to a conclusion and passes the title in the mortgaged property to either the holder of the mortgage or a third party who may purchase the realty at the foreclosure sale, free of all encumbrances affecting the property subsequent to the mortgage.

Forfeiture
The loss of property or a privilege due to breaking a law. For example,
a landlord may forfeit his or her property to the federal or state government if the landlord knows it is a drug-dealing site but fails to stop the illegal activity. Likewise, a homeowner may lose his house to satisfy IRS debts or if the government suspects the home was bought with money derived from criminal acts. The government may seize and sell the property at auction, often far below its fair market value, before the homeowner has been allowed the due process of a trial. If the homeowner is found not guilty, the government is only required to pay back the amount received at auction, and not the market value.

For sale by owner (FSBO)
An individual homeowner who is attempting to sell his property without a real estate broker. The acronym, FSBO is pronounced "fizz bo."

Fractional section
A parcel of land less than 160 acres, usually found at the edge of a rectangular survey.

Fraud
A misstatement of a material fact made with intent to deceive or made with reckless disregard of the truth, and which actually does deceive.

Freddie mac
Chartered by Congress in 1970, Freddie Mac is a publicly held corporation that purchases mortgages in the secondary mortgage market. Freddie Mac came into being as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC) with the mission to create a continuous flow of funds to mortgage lenders. By supplying lenders with the money to make mortgages and packaging the mortgages into marketable securities which are sold to investors, Freddie Mac also helps to sustain a stable mortgage credit system which in turn, reduces the mortgage rates paid by home buyers. Over the years, Freddie Mac has been responsible for opening the door to home ownership for one out of six home buyers in America who would not have qualified otherwise.

Front foot
One linear foot (12 inches) along the street side of a lot.

Fully amortized ARM
An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) with a monthly payment that is sufficient to amortize the remaining balance, at the interest accrual rate, over the amortization term.

Functional obsolescence
Loss of value of real property caused by modernization or changing tastes or standards; e.g... single bath, inadequate closet space, etc.

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