In real life, taking out a mortgage is a serious thing -- as many homeowners discovered during America's recession in the early 21st century. It's a bad idea to promise more than you can really afford for a property, leaving yourself open to financial disaster should any unexpected expenses strike. However, a mortgage is nice option to have: Taking out a well-considered mortgage on a property you've previously paid off can keep you in the proverbial game until you can get your feet back under you.
Which is why Monopoly's rules allow players who need a quick burst of cash to mortgage any of their properties to the bank for half the face value. (The player can unmortgage it on another turn by paying the bank back that amount plus 10 percent.) But some people enact the no mortgaging rule to remove that option, forcing players to instead sell properties back to the bank for half the face value -- at which point any player can land on and purchase the property as usual.
We're all for a challenge, and we appreciate the tough-love economic lessons that Monopoly can teach, but this house rule reminds us a little too poignantly of the foreclosure crisis. Owning a mortgaged property means you still have a chance to get it back and claw your way to the top. Being forced to sell your property at a loss means your downhill journey has just begun: The chances of both landing on your lost property and having the cash to buy it again are practically nil [source: Lindsey].