Mortgage Types and Terms

This post covers standard mortgage types and associated terms. Each bank, credit union and private lender may also offer their own specialized mortgages and terms.

Brought to you by: Kristen White

Term

The period of time your mortgage agreement will be in effect, including your interest rate and terms and conditions. At the end of the term, you either pay off the mortgage in full, renew it or possibly renegotiate your mortgage agreement (for example, decrease your amortization period). Terms are generally for six months to 10 years.

Prepayment Charge / Penalty

Your lender may require you to pay a charge if you want to make a prepayment greater than the amount allowed in your mortgage agreement, or pay off or break a closed mortgage before the end of the term. Sometimes also called a penalty. Prepayment Privilege Terms of your mortgage contract that allow you to pay an amount toward a closed mortgage on top of your regular payments, without triggering a prepayment charge. For example, you may be allowed to make lump-sum payments up to a certain amount or increase the amount of your regular mortgage payments.

Prepayment Penalty

A fee charged to you by the lender for making a prepayment greater than the amount allowed in your mortgage agreement, or for paying off a closed mortgage before the end of the term.

Open Mortgage

A mortgage that can be prepaid at any time during the term, without paying a prepayment charge. The interest rate on an open mortgage may be higher than on a closed mortgage with a similar term.

Closed Mortgage

A mortgage agreement that cannot be changed before the end of the term. Your lender may let you make certain prepayments without paying a charge, but you will usually have to pay a charge to break or change your mortgage agreement. Read more