A written instrument that, when duly recorded in the appropriate county records, creates a lien against a parcel of real property, which lien secures consensual debt. A mortgage is an agreement between two parties (mortgagor and mortgagee); in contract to a deed of trust, which involves three (grantor, beneficiary and trustee). Mortgages are treated as either (1) a conveyance of legal title to the property (title theory), in which case legal title is re-conveyed to the owner when the obligation is fully satisfied; or (2) a lien against the property (lien theory), in which case the lien is released when the obligation is satisfied. The distinction is important in the event of default – in a lien theory jurisdiction the mortgagee is not entitled to possession of the property until it has pursued its remedy in foreclosure. A purchase money mortgage is given to a lender to secure a loan for all or some of the purchase price of a parcel of real property. The lien evidenced by a purchase money mortgage is, by law, superior to that of a judgment against the mortgagor; notwithstanding the fact that a transcript of judgment may have been recorded before the purchase money mortgage. Compare deed of trust. See lien.

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