Definition:

A mortgage is a debt instrument, secured by the collateral of specified real estate property, that the borrower is obliged to pay back with a predetermined set of payments. Mortgages are used by individuals and businesses to make large real estate purchases without paying the entire value of the purchase up front. Over a period of many years, the borrower repays the loan, plus interest, until he/she eventually owns the property free and clear. Mortgages are also known as “liens against property” or “claims on property.” If the borrower stops paying the mortgage, the bank/lender can foreclose.1

Example:

Mortgage loans are usually entered into by home buyers without enough cash on hand to purchase the home. They are also used to borrow cash from a bank for other projects using their house as collateral.2

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1 Source: Investopedia
2 Source: InvestingAnswers