A Comparison of a Deed of Trust to a Mortgage

When a borrower accomplishes financing to buy a home, the lender requires the borrower to submit collateral as collateral –typically, the home itself. To accomplish this, the debtor and the lender sign a surety bond, which affords the creditor the right to take possession of the house should the borrower default on the loan. There are several distinct sureties into which both parties can enter, but among the most common in real estate lending are the deed of trust and the mortgage.


A mortgage is a lending agreement wherein one party–the debtor –secures funding for the purchase of real property from the other party–the creditor. The mortgage itself is not the true loan. Rather, it is the assurity which simplifies the lender’s interests in the agreement by conveying the property’s title to the creditor for the length of the loan. Once the debtor repays the loan in full, the creditor permanently transfers the title back to the debtor. Should the borrower default on his obligation, but the lender reserves the right to take whole possession of the house without compensating the debtor for the price already paid on the loan.

Deed of Trust

A deed of trust is a lending arrangement very similar to a mortgage, but with an additional party. Like a mortgage, a deed of trust includes the debtor (called a beneficiary) and a creditor (called a trustor). But, trust deeds utilize a third party, called a trustee, who holds the property title in trust for the duration of the loan. The creditor, with no true possession of the house for assurity, subsequently instills a trust lien against the property. The borrower/beneficiary nonetheless makes payments into the lender/trustor directly, but it is the trustee who finally releases the title to the debtor upon full repayment. Likewise, should the debtor default, the trustee will release the title to the lender/trustor.


Trust deeds and mortgages function almost exactly the exact same fashion from the debtor’s perspective: The debtor obtains the loan from a creditor, incurs interest and repays the loan on a regular schedule. Lenders in both arrangements can foreclose if the borrower defaults, and also the two deeds of trust and mortgages can be found in consumer and business markets.


The type and method the lender/trustor may utilize to foreclose is the only notable distinction between trust deeds and mortgages. To get a home loan, the creditor follows a foreclosure by judicial sale (“judicial foreclosure”), which requires the creditor to submit a claim to initiate the process and which the jurisdictional court needs to oversee. If the debtor fails to resolve the default option, the lender generally must turn the house over to the country for auction in a sheriff’s sale, in which the creditor does not participate. To get a deed of trust, the trustee follows a foreclosure by power of sale (or”non-judicial foreclosure”), which does not require the creditor to submit to court supervision. The creditor should only notify the debtor of this impending foreclosure via a Notice of Default. Should the borrower don’t resolve the default option, the lender can take possession of the home without first submitting a claim, and resell the property at public auction immediately.

Why One or another

Although lenders may choose a deed of trust for the much easier foreclosure process, there’s absolutely no relevant reason a borrower would choose one over the other. Rather, the important lending laws of this country where the property is decides whether the parties may utilize a deed of trust or a mortgage for the loan. Fourteen countries define a requirement for deeds of trust in real property law–specifically called”trust deed” or”lien theory” states. They are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The remaining 36 states and the District of Columbia–referred to as”mortgage” or”title theory” states–either require lenders and debtors to utilize the mortgage model or allow the parties to select between the two.

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