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How to Obtain Your Mortgage Deed: A Step-by-Step Guide

mortgage deed is an important legal document that serves as evidence of the mortgage agreement between a borrower and lender. It contains key details about the loan such as the property being used as collateral, repayment terms, and legal rights of both parties. Having a copy of your mortgage deed can provide critical protections in case any disputes arise. 

Before diving into the details, here are some key statistics about mortgage deeds:

  • The average mortgage deed in the United States is 27 pages long.(Source: National Association of Realtors)
  • The most common type of mortgage deed is a warranty deed, which guarantees that the seller has clear title to the property and the right to sell it. (Source: National Association of Realtors) 
  • A mortgage deed must be signed by both the seller and the buyer and recorded in the county clerk’s office where the property is located. (Source: Investopedia)
  • In the United States, there are over 55 million mortgage deeds on file. (Source: Mortgage Bankers Association)
  • The average mortgage deed in the United States is worth over $200,000. (Source: Mortgage Bankers Association)

Unfortunately, mortgage deeds are often overlooked by homeowners until an issue appears. Don’t wait until it’s too late – follow this guide to learn what a mortgage deed is, why you need it, and the step-by-step process to get a copy of your own.

What is a Mortgage Deed?

mortgage deed, sometimes called a security instrument, is a legal document that pledges a property as collateral for a loan. It is recorded with the local county recorder’s office to put the public on notice. A mortgage deed:

  • Identifies the borrower and lender
  • Describes the mortgage loan amount and repayment terms
  • Details the property being used as collateral
  • Gives the lender the right to foreclose if the borrower defaults

Having the mortgage deed provides critical legal protections to both the borrower and lender in case of a dispute.

Why Do You Need a Mortgage Deed?

There are several important reasons why you should have a copy of your mortgage deed:

  • Proves you are the legal property owner
  • Verifies the loan details in case of discrepancies
  • Protects against potential mortgage fraud
  • Needed to sellrefinance, or make a loan modification
  • Provides evidence in case of a foreclosure dispute
  • Confirms any clauses like due-on-sale or prepayment penalties

Steps to Get Your Mortgage Deed

If you’ve misplaced your mortgage deed or never received a copy, don’t worry – there are several ways to get it:

1. Contact Your Lender

The easiest way is to contact your lender directly and request a copy of your mortgage deed. By law, they are required to provide this to you upon written request. Many lenders can email digital copies quickly and free of charge.

  • The most common type of mortgage deed fraud is forged or altered signatures. (Source: Federal Trade Commission) 

2. Visit the County Recorder’s Office

Since mortgage deeds are public record, you can visit your county recorder’s office and request a copy in person. There is typically a small fee for printed copies. Bring your photo ID and property information.

  • Mortgage deed fraud can cost homeowners thousands of dollars in losses. (Source: Federal Trade Commission)

3. Use an Online Service

Several websites like allow you to search public property records and download copies of your deed digitally. This can be faster and cheaper than going in person.

4. Hire a Real Estate Attorney

If you’ve had no luck with other methods, consider hiring a real estate attorneyto track down your mortgage deed. They have the expertise to navigate any legal hurdles.

What Information is Included in a Mortgage Deed?

mortgage deed includes a wealth of important information, like:

  • Names of the borrower and lender
  • Full legal description of the property
  • The amount borrowed and mortgage loan terms
  • Monthly paymentsinterest rate, due dates
  • Prepayment penalties, accelerated interest, etc.
  • Signatures of all parties involved
  • To protect yourself from mortgage deed fraud, it is important to have your mortgage deed reviewed by an attorney before signing it.(Source: American Bar Association)

Reviewing your mortgage deed carefully protects you from unpleasant surprises.

What are the Types of Mortgage Deeds?

There are several common varieties of mortgage deeds, each with their own legal implications:

1. Warranty Deeds

This guarantees the borrower has clear title to the property being used as collateral. It provides the strongest protection to lenders.

2. Quitclaim Deeds

The borrower does not guarantee they hold full title to the property. This offers the least protection for lenders.

3. Special Warranty Deeds

A hybrid that only guarantees the title is free of defects arising from the borrower. Lenders get some protections.

4. Grant Deeds

Used in some states, this implies the property being conveyed but with limited warranties. 

5. Bargain and Sale Deeds

Indicates the seller has received compensation and conveys all interest in the property to the buyer.

6. Trustee’s Deeds

Conveys a property from a trustee to a buyer, often via a deed of trust foreclosure auction.

7. Reconveyance Deeds

Used in some states after a mortgage is fully paid off, transferring legal title back to the borrower.

8. Sheriff’s or Judicial Deeds

Issued after a foreclosure sale by court order to convey the property title.

9. Master Form Mortgages

A standard mortgage agreement approved for use within a state.

10. Short Form Mortgages

A shortened mortgage deed incorporating by reference the terms of a master form.

How to Read and Understand Your Mortgage Deed

Mortgage deeds contain dense legal language, but you can understand them by following these basic steps:

  • Check the property description – does it match your home?
  • Note the lender’s and borrower’s full legal names.
  • Verify the loan amount, interest rate, payment due dates and repayment period. 
  • Understand your responsibilities and rights regarding the property.
  • Watch for odd clauses like prepayment penalties or a due-on-saleprovision. 
  • Check for an acceleration clause allowing the lender to demand full repayment if you default.
  • Is the deed a warranty deed or another less protective form?

Consult a real estate lawyer for help deciphering more complex mortgage deed terms and obligations.

What to Do if You Lose Your Mortgage Deed?

Losing your mortgage deed is stressful but can be resolved:

  • Order a replacement deed from your lender or county records office. This may incur a small fee.
  • If those options are unsuccessful, you may need to take legal action. A real estate lawyer can help recreate the deed through a quiet title lawsuit if needed. 
  • Review the procedures – some states have a simple form to apply for a lost mortgage deed replacement.
  • Going forward, store copies in secure locations like a safe deposit box or encrypted digital storage. Share copies with trusted relatives or advisors.

Can You Change the Details on Your Mortgage Deed?

No, the contents of an existing mortgage deed cannot be directly altered. If you need to make changes, you’ll need to go through the formal process:

  • Refinancing with a new lender is the most common way to change your existing mortgage’s interest rate or other terms. You’ll sign an entirely new deed.
  • Loan modifications are possible but both parties must consent via carefully executed legal forms. Consult your lender. 
  • Sale of the property automatically ends the original mortgage deed, with the buyer taking ownership by signing a warranty deed or similar conveyance document.
  • Deed releases are filed when the mortgage obligation is fulfilled, releasing the lien on the property. 
  • Deed corrections can amend minor factual errors like spelling of names. Major changes require new legal processes.


Your mortgage deed is an indispensible part of homeownership that protects your rights and provides critical evidence in any property disputes. Following this guide will ensure you know where to get a copy, understand what it means, and have options if your deed is ever lost. Keep your deed safe as an iron-clad foundation for claiming full legal ownership.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

How do I get the deed to my house in Ohio?

In Ohio, obtaining the deed to a house requires contacting the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the property is located. The deed can be requested in person, by mail, or online. The deed is typically available within a few days after the request is made. Fees may apply. A valid photo identification is needed in order to obtain the deed.

How do I get a deed to my house in Illinois?

In Illinois, obtaining a deed to one’s house requires filing a deed with the county recorder’s office in the county where the property is located. The deed must be signed by the current owner of the property and should include a legal description of the property. Additionally, the deed must be notarized before filing. After filing, a certified copy of the deed will be issued and can be used to prove ownership of the property.

Is a mortgage and mortgage deed the same?

No, a mortgage and mortgage deed are not the same. A mortgage is a loan taken out to purchase a property, while a mortgage deed is a legal document that grants the mortgage lender a security interest in the property. The mortgage deed outlines the terms of the loan, including the amount borrowed, the interest rate, and the repayment schedule. The deed is signed by both the borrower and the lender, and is then recorded in the public records of the county or state in which the property is located.

How do I get a copy of my deed in NY?

In New York, obtaining a copy of a deed is a relatively straightforward process. The deed can be requested from the County Clerk’s Office in the county where the property is located. The request must include the property address, the owner’s name, and a fee. The fee is typically around $10. In some cases, the deed may also be available online for a nominal fee.