In Anglo-American law, the method by which a debtor (mortgagor) conveys an interest in property to a creditor (mortgagee) as security for the payment of a money debt. The modern mortgage has its roots in medieval Europe. Originally, the mortgagor gave the mortgagee ownership of the land on the condition that the mortgagee would return it once the mortgagor's debt was paid off. Over time, it became the practice to let the mortgagor remain in possession of the land; it then became the mortgagor's right to remain in possession of the land so long as there was no default on the debt.
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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.
In most jurisdictions mortgages are strongly associated with loans secured on real estate rather than other property (such as ships) and in some jurisdictions 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.
The measurement of a mortgage with regards to cost to the borrower can be measured by Annual Percentage Rate (APR) or many other formulas for true cost such as Lender Police Effective Annual Rate (LPEAR).
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, Australia and the United States.
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.
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.
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:
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.
When a tract of land is purchased with a mortgage and then split up and sold off, then the "inverse order of alienation rule" applies to find out who will be liable for the default.
Basically, when a mortgaged tract of land is split up and sold off, then upon default, the mortgagee forecloses and proceeds against lands still owned by the mortgagor, then liability attaches in a backward fashion, or in an 'inverse order' as they were sold. So if A acquires a lot by mortgage then splits up the lot into three 1 acre lots (A, B, and C), and sells lot B to X, and then lot C to Y, retaining lot A for himself then, upon default, the mortgagee will go after lot A, the mortgagor, and if that sale does not satisfy the default, then the owner of lot C will be liable, then the owner of lot B. The idea is that the first purchaser should have more equity and subsequent purchasers receive a diluted share.
In a mortgage by demise, the mortgagee (the lender) becomes the owner of the mortgaged property until the loan is repaid or other mortgage obligation fulfilled in full, a process 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.
Mortgages by demise were the original form of mortgage, and continue to be used in many jurisdictions, and in a small minority of states in the United States. Many other common law jurisdictions have either abolished or minimised the use of the mortgage by demise. For example, in England and Wales this type of mortgage is no longer available, by virtue of the Land Registration Act 2002.
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.
In Scotland, the mortgage by legal charge is also known as standard security.
In Pakistan, the mortgage by legal charge is most common way used by banks to secure the financing. It is also known as registered mortgage. After registration of legal charge, the bank's lien is recorded in the land register stating that the property is under mortgage and cannot be sold without obtaining an NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the bank.
In an equitable mortgage the lender is secured by taking possession of all the original title documents of the property and by borrower's signing a Memorandum of Deposit of Title Deed (MODTD). This document is an undertaking by the borrower that he/she has deposited the title documents with the bank with his own wish and will, in order to secure the financing obtained from the bank.
The difficulty with this arrangement was that the lender was absolute owner of the property and could sell it or refuse to reconvey it to the borrower, who was in a weak position. Increasingly the courts of equity began to protect the borrower's interests, so that a borrower came to have an absolute right to insist on reconveyance on redemption. This right of the borrower is known as the "equity of redemption".
This arrangement, whereby the lender was in theory the absolute owner, but in practice had few of the practical rights of ownership, was seen in many jurisdictions as being awkwardly artificial. By statute the common law's position was altered so that the mortgagor would retain ownership, but the mortgagee's rights, such as foreclosure, the power of sale, and the right to take possession, would be protected.
In the United States, those states that have reformed the nature of mortgages in this way are known as lien states. A similar effect was achieved in England and Wales by the Law of Property Act 1925, which abolished mortgages by the conveyance of a fee simple.
In some jurisdictions, mortgage loans are non-recourse loans: if the funds recouped from sale of the mortgaged property are insufficient to cover the outstanding debt, the lender may not have recourse to the borrower after foreclosure. In other jurisdictions, the borrower remains responsible for any remaining debt, through a deficiency judgment.
Specific procedures for foreclosure and sale of the mortgaged property almost always apply, and may be tightly regulated by the relevant government. In some jurisdictions, foreclosure and sale can occur quite rapidly, while in others, foreclosure may take many months or even years. In many countries, the ability of lenders to foreclose is extremely limited, and mortgage market development has been notably slower.
At the start of 2008, 5.6% of all mortgages in the United States were delinquent. By the end of the first quarter that rate had risen, encompassing 6.4% of residential properties. This number did not include the 2.5% of homes in foreclosure.
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.