A mortgage is a legal document by which the owner transfers to the lender an interest in real estate to secure the repayment of a debt, evidenced by a mortgage note. When the debt is repaid, the mortgage is discharged, and a satisfaction of mortgage is recorded in the county where the mortgage was recorded. While a mortgage in itself is not a debt, it is the lender’s security for a debt. It is a transfer of an interest in land or the equivalent from the owner to the mortgage lender, on the condition that this interest will be returned to the owner when the terms of the mortgage have been satisfied or performed. Mortgages may be legal or equitable.
Furthermore, a mortgage may take one of a number of different legal structures which will depend on the jurisdiction under which the mortgage is made. The mortgage must be executed according to the formalities required by the laws of the state where the property is located. A mortgage must describe the real estate and must be signed by all owners.