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 pledge", 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.
Mortgage Loan Basics
Basic concepts and legal regulation
The mortgage loan involves two separate documents: the mortgage note (a promissory note) and the security interest evidenced by the "mortgage" document; generally, the two are assigned together, but if they are split traditionally the holder of the note and not the mortgage has the right to foreclose. For example, Fannie Mae promulgates a standard form contract Multistate Fixed-Rate Note 3200 and also separate security instrument mortgage forms which vary by state.
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.
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".
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