What is a Master Mortgage

A master mortgage is the master document that mortgage originators file through the record-keeping process when a property is sold for the first time that exists for the lifetime of the loan for the property. The master mortgage is maintained for public land records, making it accessible during the purchasing process. It is considered to be a written document that records a lien on the property for its initial sale.

A master mortgage is only created when a property is sold for the first time and it must be completed and filed before any lien can be taken against the property.

BREAKING DOWN Master Mortgage

Every originator of mortgages involved in the purchase must file a master mortgage  by law.  Mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac created the master mortgage win an attempt to streamline the record-keeping process. The master paperwork is time-efficient, allowing records to be accessed within a matter of hours instead of days. The master mortgage makes the lien-recording process less complicated and also aids in the sale of mortgages that trade in the secondary market by allowing the buyer to see the details of the initial mortgage. 

To file a master mortgage, one submits the required paperwork through a county register in the local area of the property being purchased. The data contained on the master mortgage, including price, purchasers, and terms of the agreements, are then uploaded to a central database. Because the master mortgage is public record, anyone can access it.

If a property is sold, a second mortgage will replace the master mortgage. A second mortgage may also be created if the first mortgage is paid off and replaced by a second mortgage as well. The process continues each and every time the property is sold so that all parties involved in the purchasing can have a paper trail to consult to ensure the property is clear of existing liens and mortgages.

Advantages of a Master Mortgage

A master mortgage is helpful for both real estate agents, brokers, and buyers of a property because with one document, all pertinent information about pre-existing mortgages, liens out on the property, and the name of the mortgage originator. Without a master mortgage, outstanding liens may be overlooked and not properly dealt with. If a lien is discovered that hasn’t been cleared up, a bank does have the right to hold the property.