A mortgage is a debt instrument used to secure specified real estate property that the borrower is obliged to pay back with a predetermined set of payments over a set period of time.
Both individuals and businesses use mortgages to make large real estate purchases without having to pay the entire price up front. Over many years, the borrower repays the loan (plus interest) until they own the property free and clear. If the borrower stops paying the mortgage, the lender can foreclose. They are a form of incorporeal right.
Mortgages are also known as “liens against property” or “claims on property.”