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Term Definition
Back Title Letter

Also called 'back title certificate' in some areas, and 'starter' in others. When titles previously have been examined up to a certain date by reliable examiners, title companies sometimes give subsequent examiners of such titles a letter that sets forth the condition of the title at the time of the previous examination and authorizes them to begin their subsequent examination with the terminal date of the previous examination.

Balloon Note

A form of promissory note that calls for the minimum payment of principal and the payment of interest at regular intervals. This type of note requires a substantial final payment, which represents all the principal.

Bankruptcy

A proceeding in U.S. District Court wherein assets of an insolvent debtor are protected and distributed in an equitable manner.

Binder

Sometimes called 'preliminary certificate' or 'commitment.' (1) A preliminary report as to the condition of a title and a commitment to issue a title insurance policy in a certain manner when certain conditions are met. (2) A deposit in escrow of a small part of the purchase price of real estate as evidence of good faith and to bind an agreement to purchase.

Bridge Loan

Also known as a swing loan or interim financing, a bridge loan is a short-term loan used until permanent financing is secured. Bridge loans can be used for up to one year and carry relatively high interest rates. A bridge loan might be used, for instance, to purchase a new property when the homebuyer hasn’t yet sold his or her current dwelling.

Buydown

A seller can assist a buyer in qualifying for a mortgage and securing a lower interest rate by making payments to the lender for the first several years of the loan. The buyer benefits by having lower monthly payments initially; the seller will increase the price of the home to offset the buydown costs.

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