What is a Mortgage?


A mortgage is a type of loan provided by a bank or other financial institution that enables individuals to finance the purchase of a home. Unlike other types of loans, such as personal or student loans, a mortgage allows the bank to use the house as collateral. This means that if the borrower fails to repay the loan on time, the bank has the right to take possession of the home.

Meet Mark and Lisa

Let’s meet Mark and Lisa, a newlywed couple who are in search of their first home. After an extensive search, they finally found their perfect home. However, the price tag of $500,000 is more than what they have in their bank account. What should they do?

The Mortgage Solution

Mark and Lisa decide to visit the bank for advice on how to finance their dream home. The banker suggests that they take out a mortgage.

The banker then asks them how much they are willing to put down as a down payment. Typically, a down payment is around 20% of the home’s price, but this amount can vary from bank to bank. Mark and Lisa have been diligently saving and have decided to put down $100,000. This means that they will need to borrow an additional $400,000 to purchase the house.

The Mortgage Terms

The banker reviews Mark and Lisa’s credit reports and income statements. Based on their financial situation, the banker grants them a $400,000 mortgage at a fixed interest rate of 5%. The mortgage has a term of 5 years and an amortization period of 40 years.

The fixed interest rate of 5% means that Mark and Lisa will pay this rate for the entire 5-year term, regardless of whether interest rates in the market go up or down. Alternatively, they could have opted for a variable or floating rate, which fluctuates with market interest rates. Fixed rates are generally considered to be a safer choice, but they may be slightly more expensive than variable rates.

The amortization period refers to the length of time it takes for Mark and Lisa to fully pay off the loan and become the sole owners of their home. Over the course of 40 years, they will make monthly payments that include both interest and principal. Gradually, each payment will reduce their debt and increase their equity in the home.

Advantages of a Mortgage

Taking out a mortgage offers several advantages. Instead of paying rent and putting money into a landlord’s pocket, Mark and Lisa are gradually building equity in their home with each mortgage payment. As their debt decreases, their ownership stake in the house increases.

Furthermore, if the value of their home appreciates over time, Mark and Lisa could potentially make a significant profit. For example, let’s say they receive an offer to sell their home for $600,000 the day after buying it. They would collect $600,000 from the buyer and use $400,000 to repay the loan to the bank. This would result in a doubling of their initial $100,000 investment.


In summary, a mortgage is a loan that allows individuals to finance the purchase of a home. It differs from other types of loans because the bank can use the house as collateral. By taking out a mortgage, individuals like Mark and Lisa can become homeowners, build equity in their homes, and potentially profit from any increase in the home’s value over time.

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