Real Estate Glossary

What is an amortization schedule?

Amortization is the process of paying off a debt over time in regular payments, usually on a monthly basis. The payments consist of both principal and interest. The principal is the amount of the original loan, and the interest is the cost of borrowing the money.

In amortization, a larger portion of the payment is applied to the interest in the early years of the loan, with the balance of the payment being applied to the principal. As the loan matures, the portion of the payment applied to the principal increases, and the portion applied to the interest decreases until the loan is fully paid off.

One of the most common examples of amortization is a mortgage, where the borrower makes regular payments to the lender, and over time, the balance of the loan decreases, and the borrower builds equity in the property. The amortization schedule is a table or an amortization calculator that shows the breakdown of each payment, including how much goes toward interest and how much goes toward the principal, and how the balance of the loan changes over time.

There are different types of amortization, such as:

  • Fully Amortized: payments are large enough to fully pay off the loan over the loan term.
  • Interest-only amortization: payments are made only on interest and the principal balance remains unchanged.
  • Balloon amortization: payments are made as if the loan is fully amortized, but a large payment, usually the remaining balance, is due at the end of the loan term.

Amortization is an important concept for anyone who has a loan, as it helps to understand the overall cost of borrowing and the schedule of payments over time.