Mortgage Definition & Types

Definition

A loan that a borrower takes out to buy or preserve a home or other piece of real estate, and that the borrower undertakes to repay over time, usually in a series of regular payments is called a mortgage. Mortgages are used by individuals and companies to purchase real estate without the need of paying the whole amount of purchase price upfront.

The borrower repays the loan with an interest, over a certain period of time until they buy the property outright. “Liens against property” or “claims on property” are other terms for mortgages. If the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender has the option to foreclose on the property.

Potential borrowers start the process by submitting an application to one or even more mortgage lenders. Proof of the borrower’s ability to repay the loan, such as bank and investment statements, recent tax returns, and proof of ongoing employment, will be required by the lender. In most circumstances, the lender will run a credit check as well.

The lender will then provide the borrower with a loan up to a particular amount and at a specific interest rate once the application has been accepted. Pre-approval is a method that allows homebuyers to apply for a mortgage when they have already decided on a property to purchase or while they are still looking for one.

In a competitive housing market, pre-approval for a mortgage can provide buyers an advantage by demonstrating to sellers that they have the financial resources to back up their offer. When a buyer and seller have reached an agreement on the terms of their transaction, they or their agents will meet at closing. After that, the seller has to give the buyer possession of the property and receive the agreed-upon amount of money, and the buyer will sign any remaining mortgage agreements.

Types

Mortgages come in different types. There are some mortgages that can be as short as five years, while others can last up to 40 years. Extending payments over a longer period of time decreases the monthly payment but raises the total amount of interest the borrower will pay during the loan’s life.

Adjustable-rate mortgages

Adjustable-rate mortgages have interest rates that fluctuate depending on market conditions. The initial interest rate is frequently below market, making the mortgage cheaper in the short term but potentially less affordable in the long run if the rate rises significantly. An adjustable-rate mortgage could save you a lot of money on interest payments if you don’t plan to stay in your house for more than a few years.

Fixed-rate mortgage

A “traditional” mortgage is a fixed-rate mortgage with a set interest rate. Fixed-rate mortgages carry the same interest rate for the duration of the loan, assuring a constant monthly mortgage payment. Fixed loans can usually last up to 15 years, 20 years, or even 30 years long. However, with a longer-term loan, you will have to pay more interest and it will take longer to create equity in your house. In addition, interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages are often higher than those on adjustable-rate mortgages.