Loan Agreement Vs Deed of Trust

When obtaining a mortgage or purchasing real estate, you will come across two significant documents that define your legal obligations and the lender’s rights. These two documents are the loan agreement and the deed of trust. While they may seem similar in nature, there are some crucial differences between the two that you need to understand before signing any agreement. In this article, we will explore loan agreement versus deed of trust and their significance in real estate financing.

Loan Agreement

A loan agreement, also known as a mortgage note, is a legal contract between the borrower and the lender. It outlines the terms of the loan, including the repayment schedule, interest rates, fees, and penalties. Essentially, the loan agreement is a promise to pay back the money borrowed. The loan agreement is secured with an underlying asset, typically the property which is being purchased. If the borrower fails to make payments on the loan, the lender can initiate foreclosure proceedings to recover the money lent.

Deed of Trust

A deed of trust, also known as a trust deed, is a legal document that creates a lien on the property being purchased. The borrower signs the deed of trust, transferring legal ownership of the property to a neutral third party, also known as a trustee. The trustee holds the ownership until the borrower pays off the loan, at which time, the trustee transfers the ownership back to the borrower. If the borrower defaults on the loan, the trustee can initiate foreclosure proceedings on behalf of the lender.

Loan Agreement versus Deed of Trust

While both documents are used in real estate transactions, they serve different purposes. The loan agreement governs the repayment of the loan while the deed of trust creates a lien on the property. However, both documents are often used together in real estate transactions to protect the interests of the lender and the borrower.

One key difference between the two documents is the foreclosure process. A deed of trust allows for a faster foreclosure process as it does not require court intervention. The trustee can initiate foreclosure proceedings on behalf of the lender. In contrast, a loan agreement requires judicial intervention for foreclosure proceedings to be initiated.

Another significant difference is the role of the trustee. The trustee is a neutral third party with no vested interest in the transaction. The trustee is responsible for holding the title of the property during the loan term and can initiate foreclosure proceedings if necessary. A loan agreement does not require a trustee, and the lender can foreclose on the property without involving a third party.


In conclusion, the loan agreement and the deed of trust are essential documents in real estate transactions. While they share some similarities, they serve different purposes in the transaction. The loan agreement outlines the terms of the loan, while the deed of trust creates a lien on the property. Understanding the differences between the two documents can help you make informed decisions when purchasing real estate and obtaining a mortgage. Ultimately, both documents are necessary to ensure the smooth and legal transfer of property and repayment of the loan.