What is a Mortgage?

A mortgage is a financial arrangement that allows individuals and families to purchase real estate, such as a home, by borrowing money from a lender, typically a bank or mortgage company. The core concept of a mortgage is that it uses the purchased property as collateral to secure the loan. In other words, the property itself serves as a guarantee that the borrower will repay the borrowed funds according to the agreed-upon terms.

Key features of a mortgage include:


  1. Collateral: The real estate being acquired, whether it’s a house, apartment, or land, is used as collateral for the loan. If the borrower fails to make payments as specified in the mortgage agreement, the lender has the legal right to take possession of the property through a process known as foreclosure.


  1. Principal and Interest: Mortgage payments consist of two components: the principal and the interest. The principal is the amount borrowed to purchase the property, while the interest is the cost of borrowing the money. The interest rate can be fixed (remaining constant throughout the loan term) or variable (adjusting over time).


  1. Repayment Period: Mortgages typically have long repayment periods, commonly spanning 15, 20, or 30 years. The borrower selects the term based on their financial situation and how quickly they want to repay the loan.


  1. Down Payment: To secure a mortgage, the borrower often makes a down payment, which is a percentage of the property’s purchase price. The size of the down payment influences the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, which can impact the loan’s terms.


  1. Closing Costs: Borrowers are responsible for covering closing costs when finalizing the mortgage. These expenses include fees for appraisals, title insurance, legal services, and other costs associated with the property purchase.


Mortgage loans come in various types, such as fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), and interest-only mortgages, each with its own features and benefits. Borrowers choose the type of mortgage that aligns with their financial goals and risk tolerance.