Explaining Equity in Property and Understanding Mortgagee in Possession

Explaining Equity in Property and Understanding Mortgagee in Possession

2/29/20245 min read

Buying or selling a property can be a complex process, especially when it comes to understanding the legal aspects involved. Conveyancing plays a vital role in ensuring a smooth transfer of property ownership. In this article, we will delve into two important topics related to conveyancing: equity in property and mortgagee in possession. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, a property investor, or simply curious about property law, this guide will provide you with valuable insights. So, let’s jump right in!

Understanding Equity in Property

What is Equity?

Equity in property refers to the portion of the property that the owner truly owns, free from any debts or liabilities. It represents the difference between the property’s market value and the outstanding mortgage amount.

The Role of Equity in Property Transactions

Equity plays a crucial role in various property-related transactions, such as:

1. Purchasing a Property: When buying a property, the amount of equity you have can determine the loan-to-value ratio (LVR) and influence the interest rates and loan options available to you.

2. Refinancing: If you’re considering refinancing your mortgage, your equity will determine the amount you can borrow and the interest rates you can secure.

3. Home Equity Loans: Homeowners can leverage their equity to secure loans for home improvements, debt consolidation, or other financial needs.

Calculating Equity

Equity can be calculated using the following formula:

Equity = Property’s Market Value – Outstanding Mortgage Amount

For example, if your property is valued at $400,000 and your outstanding mortgage is $250,000, your equity would be $150,000.

Building Equity

1. Property Appreciation

As property values increase over time, your equity naturally grows. This can be influenced by various factors such as market conditions, location, and improvements made to the property.

2. Mortgage Repayments

Regularly making mortgage repayments reduces the outstanding balance and increases your equity. Additionally, paying more than the required amount can expedite the process of building equity.

3. Home Improvements

Upgrading your property can boost its market value and, subsequently, your equity. Renovations, extensions, or adding amenities can have a positive impact on your property’s worth.

How to find out if there is equity in your property

To determine the amount of equity you have in your property, you need to calculate the difference between the market value of your property and the outstanding mortgage amount. Here are the steps to find out how much equity you have:

Property Valuation: Obtain a current and accurate valuation of your property. You can hire a professional valuer, consult a real estate agent, or use online property valuation tools to get an estimate of your property’s market value.
Determine Outstanding Mortgage: Contact your mortgage lender or check your mortgage statement to find out the remaining balance on your mortgage. This is the amount you still owe to the lender.
Calculate Equity: Subtract the outstanding mortgage amount from the market value of your property. The result will be your equity.
It’s important to note that property valuations can fluctuate, and market conditions can impact the value of your property. Consulting with a professional valuer or real estate agent can provide a more accurate assessment of your property’s market value.

Additionally, working with a mortgage lender or financial advisor can help you understand how your equity can be accessed or utilized, such as through refinancing or obtaining a home equity loan. They can guide you through the process and provide personalized advice based on your specific financial situation and goals.

Explaining Mortgagee in Possession

What is Mortgagee in Possession?

When a borrower defaults on their mortgage repayments, the lender (mortgagee) has the right to take possession of the property. This is known as mortgagee in possession, and the lender assumes control of the property to recover the outstanding debt.

How Does Mortgagee in Possession Work?

When a property enters mortgagee in possession, the lender becomes responsible for managing the property. They may choose to sell it to recover the debt owed or lease it to generate income while seeking repayment from the borrower.

Consequences for the Borrower

Mortgagee in possession can have significant consequences for the borrower, including:

1. Loss of Ownership: The borrower loses ownership rights and control over the property.

2. Impact on Credit Score: Defaulting on mortgage repayments and experiencing mortgagee in possession can negatively affect the borrower’s credit score, making it challenging to secure future loans.

3. Financial Loss: If the property is sold for less than the outstanding debt, the borrower may be liable for the remaining balance.


1. Is conveyancing necessary when buying or selling property in QLD? Yes, conveyancing is a crucial process that ensures the legal transfer of property ownership and protects the rights of both buyers and sellers.

2. Can equity in a property be negative? Yes, if the outstanding mortgage amount exceeds the market value of the property, it results in negative equity.

3. Are there any alternatives to mortgagee in possession for lenders? Yes, lenders may consider other options such as loan modifications, repayment plans, or negotiating with the borrower before resorting to mortgagee in possession.

4. Can equity be used as collateral for a loan? Yes, homeowners can use their equity as collateral to secure a loan, often referred to as a home equity loan or line of credit.

5. What happens to the surplus funds if a property sold under mortgagee in possession exceeds the outstanding debt? If the property sale generates surplus funds after covering the outstanding debt, those funds typically go to the borrower.

6. How long does the conveyancing process usually take in QLD? The duration of the conveyancing process can vary, but it typically takes between 6 to 8 weeks from the acceptance of the offer to settlement.

Understanding conveyancing QLD is essential for anyone involved in property transactions in Queensland. Equity in property determines ownership and financial possibilities, while mortgagee in possession represents the consequences of defaulting on mortgage repayments. By grasping these concepts, buyers, sellers, and homeowners can make informed decisions and navigate the property market with confidence.

7. Do I have to organize a contract of sale with a real estate agent to obtain my equity from the bank? No, organizing a contract of sale with a real estate agent is not necessary to obtain your equity from the bank. When it comes to accessing your equity, it typically involves working directly with your lender or financial institution. They will assess the value of your property and the outstanding mortgage amount to determine the amount of equity you can access. This process usually involves refinancing your mortgage or applying for a home equity loan or line of credit. It’s important to consult with your lender or financial advisor to explore the options available to you and understand the specific requirements and processes involved in accessing your equity.

Remember, whether you’re a buyer or a seller, seeking professional legal advice from a conveyancer or solicitor experienced in QLD property law is crucial to ensure a smooth and legally compliant process.

This is general advice only, for specific legal advice speak to your legal representative or financial advisor.