A mortgage loan is a loan secured by real property through the use of a mortgage note which evidences the existence of the loan and the encumbrance of that realty through the granting of a mortgage which secures the loan. However, the word mortgage alone, in everyday usage, is most often used to mean mortgage loan.
The word mortgage is a French Law term meaning “death contract”, meaning that the pledge ends (dies) when either the obligation is fulfilled or the property is taken through foreclosure.
A home buyer or builder can obtain financing (a loan) either to purchase or secure against the property from a financial institution, such as a bank or credit union, either directly or indirectly through intermediaries. Features of mortgage loans such as the size of the loan, maturity of the loan, interest rate, method of paying off the loan, and other characteristics can vary considerably.
In many jurisdictions, it is normal for home purchases to be funded by a mortgage loan. Few individuals have enough savings or liquid funds to enable them to purchase property outright. In countries where the demand for home ownership is highest, strong domestic markets for mortgages have developed.
According to Anglo-American property law, a mortgage occurs when an owner (usually of a fee simple interest in realty) pledges his or her interest (right to the property) as security or collateral for a loan. Therefore, a mortgage is an encumbrance (limitation) on the right to the property just as an easement would be, but because most mortgages occur as a condition for new loan money, the word mortgage has become the generic term for a loan secured by such real property. As with other types of loans, mortgages have an interest rate and are scheduled to amortize over a set period of time, typically 30 years. All types of real property can be, and usually are, secured with a mortgage and bear an interest rate that is supposed to reflect the lender’s risk.
Mortgage lending is the primary mechanism used in many countries to finance private ownership of residential and commercial property (see commercial mortgages). Although the terminology and precise forms will differ from country to country, the basic components tend to be similar:
Property: the physical residence being financed. The exact form of ownership will vary from country to country, and may restrict the types of lending that are possible.
Mortgage: the security interest of the lender in the property, which may entail restrictions on the use or disposal of the property. Restrictions may include requirements to purchase home insurance and mortgage insurance, or pay off outstanding debt before selling the property.
Borrower: the person borrowing who either has or is creating an ownership interest in the property.
Lender: any lender, but usually a bank or other financial institution. Lenders may also be investors who own an interest in the mortgage through a mortgage-backed security. In such a situation, the initial lender is known as the mortgage originator, which then packages and sells the loan to investors. The payments from the borrower are thereafter collected by a loan servicer.
Principal: the original size of the loan, which may or may not include certain other costs; as any principal is repaid, the principal will go down in size.
Interest: a financial charge for use of the lender’s money.
Foreclosure or repossession: the possibility that the lender has to foreclose, repossess or seize the property under certain circumstances is essential to a mortgage loan; without this aspect, the loan is arguably no different from any other type of loan.
Completion: legal completion of the mortgage deed, and hence the start of the mortgage.
Redemption: final repayment of the amount outstanding, which may be a “natural redemption” at the end of the scheduled term or a lump sum redemption, typically when the borrower decides to sell the property. a closed mortgage account is said to be “redeemed”.