Mortgage Law and Legal Definition

A Mortgage is a pledge of real property to a creditor as security for the repayment of a debt involving the property. For example, if you have borrowed money to purchase a house, the entity you’ve borrowed the money from can take ownership of the home should you default on payments. The promissory note executed along with the mortgage creates an obligation to repay the debt. The Statute of Frauds requires that a mortgage must be in writing. Mortgages must be registered with the County Recorder or Recorder of Deeds. There is no specific form for mortgages. Mortgages may even be handwritten.

In the United States, mortgages are usually governed by state law. Therefore, to be valid a mortgage must meet the requirements of the law of the state in which the property offered as security is located. However, there are also federal regulations governing mortgages.

There are many types of mortgages used worldwide. Mortgages vary in interest rates, terms, payment amount, payment frequency, and prepayment penalties. All of these may be subject to local regulation and legal requirements. Mortgages are offered by banks, building societies, insurers, financial advisers and estate agents.