In real estate, hypothecation is the process of securing financing from a money lender by pledging an asset as a piece of collateral. In this type of agreement, a borrower can pledge assets such as a rental property, a primary residence, or other assets such like a car, a boat, or stocks. Pledging a valuable asset as collateral for the loan gives the lender security in the event that the borrower does not adhere to the terms of the loan agreement. \n\nIn a hypothecation agreement, the borrower retains ownership of the pledged asset while the lender places a lien on the asset. This means that the lender can seize the asset if the borrower defaults on the loan. Financial institutions enter into hypothecation agreements to mitigate the risk of certain loans and mortgages, such as for commercial mortgages or for borrowers with no experience with mortgage loans. \n\nA hypothecation agreement allows a borrower to use an asset’s value to give a money lender extra security in the event that they default on a loan. Other agreements like [mortgage deeds](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/mortgage-deed-explained) or deeds of trust offer a similar kind of security, but the borrower does not technically list an asset as a piece of collateral. \n\nThe lender and borrower enter a written hypothecation agreement through a promissory note that outlines the terms of their agreement. The borrower lists the object they’re offering as collateral in the agreement, as will the terms of loan repayment. Over the duration of the loan agreement, the borrower retains ownership and title of the asset. If they default on the loan or do not satisfy the terms of the agreement, the lender can seize the asset. \n\nThere are several reasons why a lender or borrower may want to make a hypothecation agreement in a real estate transaction. Here is an overview of some of those reasons. \n\n1. __Reducing a down payment__: Hypothecating an asset in real estate can reduce the amount that a borrower owes as a down payment on a house. This is because the borrower is pledging a high-value asset to guarantee their loan, rather than in a traditional mortgage, which uses loan-to-value ratios and credit score to vet a borrower. \n2. __Commercial property loans__: A commercial financial lender may ask to hypothecate an asset for additional security on a high-ticket commercial real estate loan. \n3. __The borrower has little experience with mortgages__: Offering up a hypothecated asset as collateral gives a lender extra security when they’re working with borrowers who may not be financially sound. This can include people with low credit scores, or people with low net worth.\n\nHypothecation agreements can work for people who are still establishing their credit and don’t have much experience in securing high-ticket loans. Here are a few advantages to these types of agreements. \n\n1. __Down payments are lower than other mortgage agreements__. Borrowers choosing to hypothecate an asset to secure a loan may be eligible for reduced down payments. This can make it easy to secure financing. \n2. __Borrowers can retain the title to their hypothecated asset__. Borrowers retain total ownership rights of the assets they’ve pledged in a hypothecation agreement. If you're certain that you’ll be able to pay off your loan, you don’t need to worry about the possibility of a third party holding the title to your house, as is the case with a deed of trust. \n3. __Greater security for lenders__. Hypothecation offers plenty of security for lenders on high-risk loans, particularly for commercial mortgages where the loan payment relies on the success of a commercial business.\n\nHypothecation agreements can become complicated if the borrower defaults on the loan. Here is an overview of some of the disadvantages of hypothecation agreements. \n\n1. __The lender can seize the borrower’s asset__. If the borrower is unable to pay off their loan or meet the terms of the agreement, the lender has the right to take possession of the property and send it into foreclosure. Even if you default on your loan with a small amount to pay off, the lender can still seize the full-pledged collateral.\n2. __There can be expensive and long-term legal action__. Even after the pledged asset has been seized and sold off, the lender can pursue additional legal action against the borrower to secure the rest of the loan amount. \n3. __You may be responsible for higher amounts of interest__. If you've received a loan from a hypothecated asset with a reduced down payment, the amount of the loan to pay off will be greater. You may have a lower interest rate than with a traditional mortgage, but you will be paying your loan back over a longer amount of time. This increases the overall price and makes you responsible for a larger sum of interest. Depending on your interest rate, you may be spending more money overall in a hypothecation agreement.\n\nAll investments, including real estate investments, come with inherent risks which may involve the depreciation of assets, financial losses, or legal ramifications. The information presented in this article is for educational, informational, and referential purposes only. Consult a licensed real estate or financial professional before making any legal or financial commitments.\nAll you need is a [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com) and our exclusive video lessons from prolific entrepreneur Robert Reffkin, the founder and CEO of the real estate technology company Compass. With Robert’s help, you’ll learn all about the intricacies of buying a home, from securing a mortgage to hiring an agent to tips for putting your own place on the market. \nReal estate hypothecation is the process of pledging an asset as collateral when you’re taking out a home loan.