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What You Need to Do After Paying Off Your Mortgage

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Paying off your mortgage is such a relief! But do you know what you need to do after you make that final payment to make sure you are recognized as the sole owner of your home?

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As a homeowner, you would think that paying off your mortgage would mean that you are done with the mortgage lender. You can have a mortgage burning party and invite all of your friends and neighbors and celebrate the fact that you have removed such a financial load off of your back. But don’t fire up the bonfire just yet. Before you are done with that mortgage, there are some things that you need to do and to keep in mind.

If you signed up for a traditional mortgage loan, you probably signed two main documents – a promissory note and a deed of trust. These documents are usually recorded in your local county clerk’s office. Before you burn your mortgage papers, you should check to be sure that your deed of trust has been released from the land records. In order to do this, you have to file a paper with your county to release the deed of trust. The paper that you have to sign is usually called a certificate of satisfaction and it is much like the document that you receive when you pay off your vehicle. It simply shows that you are the owner of the property and it is free and clear of any other payments.

Some mortgage lenders will file the necessary paperwork to have the promissory note and deed of trust released to you for a small fee (usually around $40 which is well worth the cost because it can save you trouble, time and frustration). Other mortgage lenders will not do this so it is up to you to make sure it happens. If you are left with this task, take the satisfaction notice to your country recorder’s office. It may be called the registrar of deeds depending on your actual municipality. You should get the original paperwork back with a stamp on it that shows the date that you filed. This makes it official.

This process gets more complicated if your mortgage was sold between mortgage lenders during the term of your loan.  It could be especially complicated if Bank of America is the final holder of the loan because their mortgage department is wholly inept at managing the mortgage paperwork related to those mortgages that they acquired through the years or that initiated by their predecessor companies.  Nevertheless, it is the mortgage lender that holds the loan when you pay it off should be the one responsible for supplying you with the paperwork you need to remove the lien from your home.   Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that you will not need to be intricately involved in the process to make sure that the proper paperwork is filed with your country recorder’s office.  After all, it is you and not some junior bank administrator who will need to show that you own your home outright one day.

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