AskDefine | Define mortgage

Dictionary Definition

mortgage n : a conditional conveyance of property as security for the repayment of a loan v : put up as security or collateral

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

Old French, mort + gage ("dead pledge")

Noun

  1. A special form of secured loan where the purpose of the loan must be specified to the lender, to purchase assets that must be fixed (not movable) property such as a house or piece of farm land. The assets are registered as the legal property of the borrower but the lender can seize them and dispose of them if they are not satisfied with the manner in which the repayment of the loan is conducted by the borrower. Once the loan is fully repaid, the lender loses this right of seizure and the assets are then deemed to be unencumbered.

Translations

special form of secured loan

Verb

  1. As in "to mortgage a property", to borrow against a property, to obtain a loan for another purpose by giving away the right of seizure to the lender over a fixed property such as a house or piece of land.

Translations

to borrow against a property

Extensive Definition

A mortgage is the pledging of a property to a lender as a security for a mortgage loan. While a mortgage in itself is not a debt, it is evidence of a debt. It is a transfer of an interest in land, from the owner to the mortgage lender, on the condition that this interest will be returned to the owner of the real estate when the terms of the mortgage have been satisfied or performed. In other words, the mortgage is a security for the loan that the lender makes to the borrower.
The term comes from the Old French "dead pledge," apparently meaning that the pledge ends (dies) either when the obligation is fulfilled or the property is taken through foreclosure.
In most jurisdictions mortgages are strongly associated with loans secured on real estate rather than other property (such as ships) and in some cases only land may be mortgaged. Arranging a mortgage is seen as the standard method by which individuals and businesses can purchase residential and commercial real estate without the need to pay the full value immediately. See mortgage loan for residential mortgage lending, and commercial mortgage for lending against commercial property.
In many countries it is normal for home purchases to be funded by a mortgage. In countries where the demand for home ownership is highest, strong domestic markets have developed, notably in Spain, the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth of Australia and the United States.

Participants and variant terminology

Legal systems, while having some concepts in common, employ different terminology. However, in general, a mortgage of property involves the following parties.

Mortgage lender

Mortgagee is the legal term for the mortgage lender. The main function of the mortgage is to provide security to the lender. Given the large sum of money involved in financing a property, a mortgage lender will usually want security for the loan that will provide a claim upon that security and will take precedence over other creditors. A mortgage accomplishes this security.
The lender loans the money and registers the mortgage against the title to the property. The borrower gives the lender the mortgage as security for the loan, receives the funds, makes the required payments and maintains possession of the property. The borrower has the right to have the mortgage discharged from the title once the debt is paid. If the mortgagor fails to repay the loan according to the conditions set forth by the lender, then the mortgagee reserves the right to foreclose on the property.

Borrower

Mortgagor is the legal term for the borrower, who owes the obligation secured by the mortgage, and may be multiple parties. Generally, the debtor must meet the conditions of the underlying loan or other obligation and the conditions of the mortgage. Otherwise, the debtor usually runs the risk of foreclosure of the mortgage by the creditor to recover the debt. Typically the debtors will be the individual home-owners, landlords or businesses who are purchasing their property by way of a loan.
Most buyers of real property would have difficulty saving enough money to make an outright purchase of real estate. The use of debt increases a buyer's ability to buy through a combination of down payment and debt. As a result a real estate transaction seldom occurs without borrowers relying on borrowed funds.

Borrowing for investment purposes

Aside from the absence of large amount of available money, there are several reasons why an investor (including a buyer of real estate) might borrow funds. Some of these include:
  • To diversify investments and reduce overall risk by using only part of the available funds for any one investment
  • To invest the borrowed funds at a higher rate of interest (yield) than the borrowing rate; for example, a sum is borrowed at an annual interest rate of 7% and used to invest in a project that returns 10%
  • To free up equity for other purposes; for example, a commercial enterprise may prefer to use funds to purchase inventory or equipment instead of investing only in land and buildings.
  • To obtain a tax benefit. In some countries (such as Canada), mortgage interest is not tax deductible, but loans made for investment purposes are.

Other participants

Because of the complicated legal exchange, or conveyance, of the property, one or both of the main participants are likely to require legal representation. The terminology varies with legal jurisdiction; see lawyer, solicitor and conveyancer.
Because of the complex nature of many markets the debtor may approach a mortgage broker or financial adviser to help them source an appropriate creditor, typically by finding the most competitive loan.
The debt is, in civil law jurisdictions, referred to as hypothecation, which may make use of the services of a hypothecary to assist in the hypothecation.

Legal aspects

There are essentially two types of legal mortgage.

Mortgage by demise

In a mortgage by demise, the creditor becomes the owner of the mortgaged property until the loan is repaid in full (known as "redemption"). This kind of mortgage takes the form of a conveyance of the property to the creditor, with a condition that the property will be returned on redemption.
This is an older form of legal mortgage and is less common than a mortgage by legal charge. In the UK, this type of mortgage is no longer available, by virtue of the Land Registration Act 2002.

Mortgage by legal charge

In a mortgage by legal charge or technically "a charge by deed expressed to be by way of legal mortgage", the debtor remains the legal owner of the property, but the creditor gains sufficient rights over it to enable them to enforce their security, such as a right to take possession of the property or sell it.
To protect the lender, a mortgage by legal charge is usually recorded in a public register. Since mortgage debt is often the largest debt owed by the debtor, banks and other mortgage lenders run title searches of the real property to make certain that there are no mortgages already registered on the debtor's property which might have higher priority. Tax liens, in some cases, will come ahead of mortgages. For this reason, if a borrower has delinquent property taxes, the bank will often pay them to prevent the lienholder from foreclosing and wiping out the mortgage.
This type of mortgage is common in the United States and, since the Law of Property Act 1925,

Mortgages in the United States

Types of mortgage instruments

Two types of mortgage instruments are commonly used in the United States: the mortgage (sometimes called a mortgage deed) and the deed of trust.

The mortgage

In all but a few states, a mortgage creates a lien on the title to the mortgaged property. Foreclosure of that lien almost always requires a judicial proceeding declaring the debt to be due and in default and ordering a sale of the property to pay the debt.

The deed of trust

The deed of trust is a deed by the borrower to a trustee for the purposes of securing a debt. In most states, it also merely creates a lien on the title and not a title transfer, regardless of its terms. It differs from a mortgage in that, in many states, it can be foreclosed by a non-judicial sale held by the trustee. It is also possible to foreclose them through a judicial proceeding.
Most "mortgages" in California are actually deeds of trust. The effective difference is that the foreclosure process can be much faster for a deed of trust than for a mortgage, on the order of 3 months rather than a year. Because the foreclosure does not require actions by the court the transaction costs can be quite a bit less.
Deeds of trust to secure repayments of debts should not be confused with trust instruments that are sometimes called deeds of trust but that are used to create trusts for other purposes, such as estate planning. Though there are superficial similarities in the form, many states hold deeds of trust to secure repayment of debts do not create true trust arrangements.

Mortgage lien priority

Except in those few states in the United States that adhere to the title theory of mortgages, either a mortgage or a deed of trust will create a mortgage lien upon the title to the real property being mortgaged. The lien is said to "attach" to the title when the mortgage is signed by the mortgagor and delivered to the mortgagee and the mortgagor receives the funds whose repayment the mortgage secures. Subject to the requirements of the recording laws of the state in which the land is located, this attachment establishes the priority of the mortgage lien with respect to most other liens on the property's title. Liens that have attached to the title before the mortgage lien are said to be senior to, or prior to, the mortgage lien. Those attaching afterward are said to be junior or subordinate. The purpose of this priority is to establish the order in which lien holders are entitled to foreclose their liens in an attempt to recover their debts. If there are multiple mortgage liens on the title to a property and the loan secured by a first mortgage is paid off, the second mortgage lien will move up in priority and become the new first mortgage lien on the title. Documenting this new priority arrangement will require the release of the mortgage securing the paid off loan.

Notes and references

mortgage in Catalan: Hipoteca
mortgage in Danish: Pant
mortgage in German: Hypothek
mortgage in Spanish: Hipoteca
mortgage in Esperanto: Hipoteko
mortgage in French: Hypothèque
mortgage in Galician: Hipoteca
mortgage in Italian: Ipoteca
mortgage in Hebrew: משכנתא
mortgage in Hungarian: Zálogjog
mortgage in Dutch: Hypotheek
mortgage in Japanese: 抵当権
mortgage in Norwegian: Pant (sikkerhet)
mortgage in Polish: Hipoteka
mortgage in Portuguese: Hipoteca
mortgage in Russian: Ипотека
mortgage in Simple English: Mortgage
mortgage in Serbian: Хипотека
mortgage in Finnish: Kiinnitys
mortgage in Swedish: Hypotekarisk pant
mortgage in Turkish: Tutu (ekonomi)
mortgage in Ukrainian: Іпотека
mortgage in Chinese: 按揭

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

adjustment mortgage, antichresis, blanket mortgage, bond, bottomry, bottomry bond, chattel mortgage, closed mortgage, dead pledge, deed of trust, deposit, dip, first mortgage, go bail, handsel, hock, hypothec, hypothecate, hypothecation, impignorate, installment mortgage, leasehold mortgage, lien, living pledge, mortgage deed, mortuum vadium, participating mortgage, pawn, pledge, post, put in hock, put in pawn, put up, second mortgage, security agreement, spout, stake, third mortgage, trust mortgage, vadium mortuum, vadium vivum
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