What Is a Deed of Trust?

Image of a deed of trust legal document. Captioned: What is a Deed of Trust?

With a deed of trust, a buyer pledges an interest in real estate to secure a loan. In some states this takes the place of a mortgage document. (For a list of states commonly using deeds of trust see the section on Mortgage States and Deed of Trust States in our previous post, “You’ve Paid Off the Mortgage. What Happens Now?”)

Whereas a mortgage agreement is formed between the borrower and the lender, a deed of trust, also known as a trust deed, has one key difference. The trust deed designates a trustee—a third party who retains legal ownership of the home until the buyer completes the payoff.  

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You’ve Paid Off the Mortgage. What Happens Now?

image of money stacked next to a house captioned: You've paid off the mortgage. What happens now?

Congratulations! Paying off a mortgage is an impressive milestone.

Now that you have paid off all the debt on your property, your home state’s law will direct your lender to take certain actions. 

The lender will send you a certificate of satisfaction. This certificate, which the lender records in your home county, notifies the public that you have satisfied your obligation, and the lender has removed the lien from your property.

A few details of this process depend on what state your property is in, and whether your debt was secured through a deed of trust.

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