A legal agreement that conveys the conditional right of ownership on an asset or property by its owner (the mortgagor) to a lender (the mortgagee) as security for a loan. The lender's security interest is recorded in the register of title documents to make it public information, and is voided when the loan is repaid in full.
Virtually any legally owned property can be mortgaged, although real property (land and buildings) are the most common. When personal property (appliances, cars, jewelry, etc.) is mortgaged, it is called a chattel mortgage. In case of equipment, real property, and vehicles, the right of possession and use of the mortgaged item normally remains with the mortgagor but (unless specifically prohibited in the mortgage agreement) the mortgagee has the right to take its possession (by following the prescribed procedure) at any time to protect his or her security interest. In practice, however, the courts generally do not automatically enforce this right when it involves a dwelling house, and restrict it to a few specific situations. In the event of a default, the mortgagee can appoint a receiver to manage the property (if it is a business property) or obtain a foreclosure order from a court to take possession and sell it. To be legally enforceable, the mortgage must be for a definite period, and the mortgagor must have the right of redemption on payment of the debt on or before the end of that period. Mortgages are the most common type of debt instruments for several reasons such as lower rate of interest (because the loan is secured), straight forward and standard procedures, and a reasonably long repayment period. The document by which this arrangement is effected is called a mortgage bill of sale, or just a mortgage.
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