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Search & Exam Fee - A fee charged by a title company or attorney in some states to perform a check of the title records that verifies the buyer is purchasing a house from the legal owner and there are no liens, overdue assessments, or other claims filed that would adversely affect the transfer of the title. A search and exam fee is considered to be a third party fee and may be included in the title insurance fee by some lenders.

Second Mortgage - A loan that has a lien position subordinate to the first mortgage.

Secondary Mortgage Market - The buying and selling of existing mortgages, primarily residential first mortgages.

Servicer - A company that collects principal and interest payments from borrowers and manages borrowers' escrow accounts. The servicer may or may not be the original lender.

Settlement - A meeting of parties involved in a real estate transaction to finalize the process. In the case of a purchase, the settlement usually involves the seller, the buyer, the real estate broker and the lender. In the case of a refinance, the settlement involves the borrower and the lender. Sometimes referred to as the closing or the close of escrow.

Settlement or Closing Fee - A fee charged by a title company, closing agent or attorney to act as a representative and agent for the lender to perform the closing of a real estate transaction.

Settlement Statement - Also referred to as the HUD-1 or the closing statement, this is the document that provides line by line detail of the financial details related to a specific real estate transaction such as the fees paid by the seller and the buyer for a purchase transaction or the fees paid by the borrower for refinances.

Step Mortgage - A type of adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that allows for the interest rate to increase according to a specified schedule. At the end of the specified period, the rate and payments will remain constant for the remainder of the loan. Sometimes called a step-rate mortgage.

Subordinate Financing - Any mortgage or other lien that has a lower priority than that of the first mortgage.

Survey - A fee associated with obtaining a precise measurement of a piece of property by a licensed surveyor. The survey is typically a written map of the property showing locations of buildings and boundaries. In some states a survey is required by a title company to issue a title insurance policy. A survey fee is considered to be a third party fee and may be included in the title insurance fee by some lenders.

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