Navigating the Transfer of Mortgage: A Complete Guide


The transfer of mortgage is a complex but valuable financial maneuver. This comprehensive guide explores the intricacies of mortgage transfers, from understanding the process to evaluating its pros and cons. Whether you’re a homeowner in need of financial relief or a prospective buyer looking for advantageous opportunities, this article will provide you with all the information you need to make informed decisions regarding mortgage transfers.

Understanding the transfer of mortgage

The transfer of mortgage, often referred to as a mortgage assumption, is a transaction in which either the borrower or lender assigns an existing mortgage on a property to another person or entity. This financial maneuver is primarily used when homeowners find themselves unable to keep up with their mortgage payments, and it offers a lifeline to avoid defaulting and facing foreclosure.

How does a transfer of mortgage work?

When a transfer of mortgage takes place, it essentially allows a new party to step into the shoes of the original borrower and take over the existing mortgage. The key feature of this process is that it does not alter the terms or duration of the loan; it merely transfers the responsibility for the remaining balance.

One primary reason for pursuing a mortgage transfer is to capitalize on the initial interest rates established when the mortgage was first originated. If the original mortgage featured lower interest rates than what is currently available in the market, a transfer can be financially advantageous for the new borrower.

Additionally, a transfer of mortgage can help buyers avoid the costs associated with obtaining a new mortgage for property acquisition, such as closing costs. This can make it an attractive option for individuals seeking to purchase a home.

Eligibility for mortgage transfer

Not all mortgages are eligible for transfer. Mortgages that can be transferred are often referred to as “assumable mortgages.” To initiate a mortgage transfer, the lender typically assesses the financial qualifications of the party looking to assume the loan. This assessment ensures that the new borrower has the necessary income and credit history to make timely payments.

The eligibility criteria can vary between lenders, so it’s crucial for both the original borrower and the potential new borrower to consult with the lender to determine if a mortgage transfer is a viable option.

Special considerations for transfer of mortgage

While a transfer of mortgage can be beneficial for both parties involved, there are essential considerations to keep in mind:

Due on sale clauses

Some mortgage agreements may include a “due on sale” clause. This clause stipulates that the remaining loan balance must be paid in full upon the sale of the property. Consequently, homeowners cannot transfer the mortgage to the buyer, even if the original mortgage had lower interest rates than the prevailing market rates. Due on sale clauses essentially require the seller to repay the entire outstanding loan balance, potentially using the proceeds from the property sale. Simultaneously, they compel the buyer to secure a new mortgage to facilitate the purchase.

Lender approval

In most cases, lenders have the final say in approving a mortgage transfer. The lender will thoroughly evaluate the financial credentials of the new borrower to ensure they can meet their payment obligations. This step is crucial to protect the lender’s interests and the financial stability of all parties involved.

Assumption fees

Some lenders may charge assumption fees when a mortgage is transferred. These fees can vary widely, so it’s essential to clarify with the lender what costs are associated with the transfer.

Pros and cons of mortgage transfer

Weigh the risks and benefits

Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks to consider when contemplating a mortgage transfer.

  • Potential for lower interest rates
  • Opportunity to assume an existing mortgage
  • Savings on closing costs
  • Quick access to homeownership
  • May help avoid foreclosure
  • Not all mortgages are transferable
  • Lender approval may be required
  • Due on sale clauses may restrict transfers
  • Assumption fees could apply
  • Terms and conditions remain unchanged

Frequently asked questions

Can I transfer any mortgage to another person?

No, not all mortgages can be transferred. Whether a mortgage is transferable or not depends on the terms and conditions set by the lender. It’s crucial to contact your lender to determine if a transfer of mortgage is an option for your specific loan.

What are the advantages of assuming an existing mortgage?

Assuming an existing mortgage can offer several benefits, including the potential for lower interest rates, savings on closing costs, and a quicker path to homeownership. It can also be a lifeline for homeowners facing financial challenges, as it may help them avoid foreclosure.

Are there any fees associated with transferring a mortgage?

Yes, some lenders may charge assumption fees when a mortgage is transferred. These fees can vary, so it’s essential to discuss any potential costs with your lender before proceeding with the transfer.

Can a mortgage transfer affect the terms of the loan?

No, a mortgage transfer typically does not change the terms or duration of the loan. The primary change is the party responsible for making payments on the remaining balance of the mortgage.

What happens if my mortgage has a “due on sale” clause?

If your mortgage includes a “due on sale” clause, it means that the remaining loan balance must be paid in full when the property is sold. This clause can restrict your ability to transfer the mortgage to a buyer, even if the original mortgage had lower interest rates.

Can I transfer a mortgage to a family member?

Transferring a mortgage to a family member is possible, but it typically requires lender approval and may involve specific legal considerations. Consult with your lender and consider seeking legal advice when contemplating such a transfer.

Key takeaways

  • The transfer of mortgage, also known as a mortgage assumption, allows a new party to take over an existing mortgage on a property.
  • Not all mortgages are eligible for transfer, and lender approval may be required.
  • Transferring a mortgage may offer advantages like lower interest rates and savings on closing costs.
  • Due on sale clauses can restrict mortgage transfers, and assumption fees may apply.
  • The terms and conditions of the loan typically remain unchanged during a mortgage transfer.
  • Frequently review your specific mortgage agreement and consult with your lender to explore the possibility of a transfer.
View Article Sources
  1. Transfer of mortgaged property – Cornell Law School
  2. assumable mortgage – Cornell Law School
  3. Mortgage servicing transfers – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  4. How to transfer ownership of a house with a mortgage – SuperMoney
  5. What is a grant deed and how does it work? – SuperMoney