Most people do not have a couple hundred thousand dollars laying around, so when they want to buy a home, they must rely on a mortgage. A mortgage is a loan that is provided by the lender in exchange for the homebuyer's promise to keep making loan payments.
The catch with mortgage loans is that the homeowner doesn't actually own the home, the mortgage lender does. That means if the homeowner stops making monthly mortgage payments, as promised, the lender has the right to repossess the home. This process is known as foreclosure.