What Is a Mortgage Note?

Written by Elizabeth BoydSeptember 14th, 20223 minute read

What a mortgage note looks like | Are mortgages public record? | Mortgage vs. promissory note | Find a copy | Summary | FAQs

A mortgage note is the legal document that requires a borrower to repay a home loan and secures the home as collateral. The note has two parts:

  1. Promissory note, the promise to pay, which you sign at closing
  2. Mortgage or deed of trust, the document that establishes the house as security for your loan

Your mortgage note spells out all your loan details: how much you put down on your home purchase, the specific repayment terms, and discloses what will happen if you fail to uphold your end of the bargain.

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What does a mortgage note look like?

Mortgage notes may vary by the lenders that issue them. But they all include a mortgage (or a trust deed) and a promissory note, which includes essential details about your loan:[1]

  • Promise to pay
  • Mortgage loan amount
  • Annual interest rate you’re paying on the principal loan amount, as well as the introductory rate, if applicable
  • Type of interest rate (i.e., fixed-rate mortgage vs. adjustable-rate mortgage)
  • Down payment
  • Mortgage term (e.g., 10, 20, or 30 years).
  • Payment schedule
  • Payment recipient, the address where you’ll send your mortgage payments.
  • Possible penalties (e.g., for missed payments or prepayment)

Are mortgages public record?

Yes, mortgages are public records because real estate transactions are a matter of public record. Mortgages and deeds of trust also document changes in ownership.

The promissory note doesn’t get filed with any government authority, so it's technically not entered into the public record. Still, a significant portion of that information is public because the mortgage (which is filed) contains a lot of the same data.

  • Legal property description and address
  • Property use definition
  • Borrowers’ names
  • Lender name
  • Original loan amount
  • Estimated market value
  • Date you paid the loan off
  • Date loan was transferred to a new lender
  • Mortgage's standing (e.g., good or delinquent)
  • Exemptions
  • Loan endorsements or assignments
  • “Due on sale” or acceleration clauses

🔒 What’s not disclosed?

  • Current loan balance
  • Interest rate
  • Type of mortgage (fixed or ARM)
  • Repayment terms
  • Borrower’s social security number

What's the difference between a mortgage and a promissory note?

You'll often hear "mortgage note" used interchangeably with "promissory note."

While both documents detail loan repayment terms, in fact, a mortgage and a promissory note are separate documents that perform different functions.

  • Your mortgage or deed of trust gives your lender legal authority to seize your house if you default on the loan.
  • The promissory note contracts you to repay the home loan. It’s a promise to pay — like an official, documented IOU.

How do I get a copy of my mortgage note?

When you close on your mortgage, a copy of your mortgage note is included in your settlement document package. If you need a new copy, you can:

Request a free copy from the current mortgage holder

Just note that your mortgage may have changed hands if it’s been a while since you closed. The current holder must comply with a written request.[2]

Visit your county recorder’s office or registry of deeds

The mortgage or deed of trust portion of your mortgage note should be filed there. You’ll probably have to pay a small fee for copies.

Ask the title company that did the title search on your home

Title companies usually hold deeds of trust until the loan is repaid. You may or may not have to pay a fee.

Reach out to your real estate agent

Their brokerage may have to retain certain settlement documents for a set timeframe, determined by state law. They may also be able to help you track down a copy if they no longer have one.

Contact the mortgage broker or closing attorney

If you used one, they may still have a copy of your note, or they can steer you in the right direction if not.

Turn to an online paid search tool

You can order public records like your mortgage or deed of trust for a fee.

Who owns the note on my mortgage?

The mortgage lender typically holds the note on your mortgage until you’ve repaid the full amount.

However, lenders frequently sell mortgages on the secondary market and may transfer your mortgage to other parties. In that case, you’ll need to identify your current mortgage holder.

If your loan involved a deed of trust rather than a mortgage, the title company or another trustee may hold your promissory note.


  • A mortgage note is a two-part home loan document consisting of a promissory note and a mortgage: the borrower promises to repay the loan, and the lender can foreclose the property if the borrower defaults.
  • Mortgages are filed with the county, making them public records.
  • You should receive a copy of your mortgage note when you close on a house, or contact your lender or local county office for a new copy.

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There should be a copy of your mortgage note in your house closing documentation package. You may ask your current mortgage lender for a replacement. You can also get a copy of the mortgage part of your mortgage note from your county’s land records office.

A mortgage is the security instrument that’s part of the mortgage note, whereas the mortgage note consists of both a mortgage and a promissory note.

A mortgage note is also called a home loan note or, simply, a note. People often use the terms mortgage, mortgage note, and promissory note interchangeably. Technically, the mortgage note refers to both the mortgage (or deed of trust) and the promissory note.