I was fantasizing about what I’d do if I won the lottery* earlier. It went through the usual - the practical (college fund for the kids), the extravagant (my own island in the south pacific), the silly (definitely replacing all of my socks). Since this is a fantasy and I like to fantasize about being a good person, I thought about giving away some to my friends. But then the practical side of me took over, and realized I don’t want to be the giving tree for people that used to be my friends before I turned into their own personal money printing machine. In fact, I’d probably like to keep the fact that I won the lotto a secret so it doesn’t mess up my friendships.
Then I got the idea that most of my friends are at the stage in life where they’ve bought the house that they plan on raising their family in. And a mortgage (well, housing in general) is most people’s largest monthly expense. Hey, maybe I could just anonymously pay off everyone’s mortgage! Give back to my friends without them knowing who and all that. (Or possibly see which of my coworkers quit immediately when their monthly expenses are cut in half. Today was a day that I think would have gotten half of us).
Then I wondered if that was actually possible. I mean, I could look up the exact description of their house on the county property tax website. I figure a title search will let me know what lending institution actually holds the note, because you can’t sell a house without paying off the mortgage first. But at that point, is there any lender in the world, upon being presented with someone saying “hello, I’d like to pay off the mortgage on 123 Main St, and I’d like to do it anonymously”, would make it happen?
Anticipating the first response, let’s say you’re willing to prove who you are to the lender and prove that you didn’t come by the money illegally or that you aren’t fulfilling a mob contract or something. Could hypothetically rich me pay off someone’s mortgage without them finding out who did it?
*step one: ignore the horrific odds and start playing.