What Are Mortgagors, What Do They Do, and How Do They Differ From Mortgagees?

By Sheryl Nance-Nash · January 10, 2024 · 6 minute read

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What Are Mortgagors, What Do They Do, and How Do They Differ From Mortgagees?

“Mortgagor” is just another word for someone who is borrowing money from a mortgage lender (the “mortgagee”) to purchase real estate. It’s not every day that you see the term “mortgagor” and it doesn’t roll off the tongue easily. You might even think perhaps it’s misspelled. But when it comes to financial matters, half the battle is understanding the jargon. In this case, the good news is that even if you have never heard of a mortgagor, it’s just another word for being the borrower on a home loan.

The Function of a Mortgagor

The mortgage universe can be a bit complex and it’s helpful to understand the basics of mortgages. So let’s take a closer look at the mortgagor’s role. The mortgagor makes monthly payments to the mortgagee as specified in the loan agreement. The terms of a mortgage can vary widely. For example, depending on the applicant’s credit history, the interest rate may be higher or lower than the average.

A mortgagor may choose from different types of mortgage loans. Some loans have a fixed interest rate and a term of 30 years, though many lenders offer loan lengths of 20, 15, or 10 years. A fixed-rate mortgage has an interest rate that remains the same during the life of the loan. A variable-rate mortgage is one in which the interest rate moves up and down with the market.

The bottom line: Mortgagors must pay back the loan in a timely fashion. If not, mortgagees can force foreclosure of the home or other real estate — the collateral for the loan.

💡 Quick Tip: Buying a home shouldn’t be aggravating. SoFi’s online mortgage application is quick and simple, with dedicated Mortgage Loan Officers to guide you through the process.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.

How a Mortgagor Gets a Mortgage Loan

A mortgagor applies to a mortgagee for a mortgage. Conventional mortgage loans are originated by private lenders like banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies. Certain private lenders also originate FHA, VA, and USDA loans; those loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Government-backed loans are often easier to qualify for and may have more lenient terms and lower interest rates.

No matter what kind of mortgage loan you seek, expect to jump through some hoops and produce much documentation to prove you are creditworthy and have the means to pay back what you borrow. A prospective lender will do a hard credit inquiry into your credit scores and credit history. So it’s helpful to understand what makes up your credit scores. Important factors include your credit history, how long you’ve had your lines of credit open, your payment history, and debt-to-income ratio, which is the total amount of your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income. If your debt-to-income ratio is high, that may be a no-go in the eyes of a lender, who may see you as tapped out with no real wiggle room to take on a mortgage.

To purchase a home, buyers often take on a mortgage loan for the price minus any money they put forth as a down payment. While you may be able to get an FHA loan with 3.5% down, or a VA loan with no down payment at all, the median down payment is around 13% of the value of the home.

Contractual Obligations of Mortgagors

A deal is a deal is a legally binding deal. Once the ink dries on that mortgage, you’re locked into your commitment to pay as you said you would. If you veer off course, you’re at risk of losing the home, as there is a lien on the real property as collateral for the loan. At the very least, late or missed payments will cause your credit score to dip, which could be problematic the next time you need to show your credit score, be it for a car loan or maybe even to a potential employer.

Equity of Redemption

If this phrase sounds important, it is. You’ll be thankful for it if you have gotten behind on your mortgage. Equity of redemption, also called right of redemption, will give you a chance to get caught up and keep your home before a foreclosure sale.

When you miss payments, the mortgagee can start the foreclosure process. The lender can take back the house and sell it at auction to pay off the debts. If this process has begun, you may be able to redeem the mortgage using equity of redemption. Understand that you’ll need to come up with the money to pay off the principal, interest, and expenses under equity of redemption. Realistically, if you’re in financial trouble, a funding source to pay off the loan is unlikely.

Some states have a law that gives mortgagors the right to redeem the home for a period of time after the foreclosure sale. With the statutory right of redemption, usually the borrower must pay the bid price, plus interest and fees, to the buyer of the property at the foreclosure sale.

Rights of Mortgagors

While it doesn’t have to be a battle royal, when it comes to mortgagee vs. mortgagor, the mortgagee holds the keys to the kingdom. The lender puts up the money, and if the borrower can’t make the mortgage payments, the lender has the right to take the house. That’s not to say you are without a few good things in your back pocket, like the aforementioned rights of redemption. You can also ask that your mortgage be transferred to a third party, but only if the mortgagee is not in possession of the property.

💡 Quick Tip: Not to be confused with prequalification, preapproval involves a longer application, documentation, and hard credit pulls. Ideally, you want to keep your applications for preapproval to within the same 14- to 45-day period, since many hard credit pulls outside the given time period can adversely affect your credit score, which in turn affects the mortgage terms you’ll be offered.

Mortgagors vs Mortgagees

To lessen any confusion, here’s a quick look at who does what.



Makes monthly payments Receives payments
Meet all terms of the mortgage Sets loan terms, including length of loan, payment due dates, and interest rate, and communicates them clearly
When the loan is paid in full, gets the deed Can seize property if mortgagor stops paying

The Takeaway

Understanding the lingo can help you be more confident as you embark on your homebuying journey. Do your research, pull together your financial documents, find a home you love and soon you, too, could become a mortgagor.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.

SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

Photo credit: iStock/fizkes

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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

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Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.

*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


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