How to get proof the house is paid off?

Quite a while ago we paid off our mortgage. During its life, it was sold several times to different mortgage companies.
I tried several times to get some statement or deed proving the mortgage was paid off - I meant to put it in my safe deposit box @ the bank. All I could get was ‘phone tag’, every department passing me on to another department.
Apparently after our mortgage was paid off, that particular company sold out to another one or something. The current company doesn’t even recognise our mortgage account number. After several tries, and hours on the phone, I basically gave up.

I would still like to get some proof that the house is paid for. How does one go about it, if not through the mortgage company?

From your county, the office that bills you for property taxes if you’re in such a state. It’s a Letter of Reconveyance that you’re looking for.

Thanks! Knowing the name of the document should help :slight_smile:

You can also check your registry of deeds - the bank should have filed a “Discharge of Mortgage” when you paid it off. They forget this a lot though, so don’t be surprised if it’s missing.

And if they did forget, then you get to play phone tag again to get the servicer that dropped the ball to do their job. Otherwise officially you still have an unpaid mortgage and an effectively unsellable property.

Sometimes called a “Satisfaction Piece”.

Part of the process of obtaining a mortgage includes the bank filing a document with the Registry of Deeds that (among other things) says they have the legal right to seize and sell the property in case of non-payment. The bank has a strong interest in seeing that this is recorded, as otherwise they have no good recourse for non-payment.

The homeowner has a strong interest in seeing that, once full payment has been made, the other document is recorded - as only this formally terminates the right of the bank to seize the property. Because the repayment obligation goes with the property, a potential buyer will want to see this proof that a mortgage has been discharged - otherwise, the buyer is on the hook for any additional money that might be owed.

IMO, any property owner should know everything that resides at the Registry of Deeds concerning his/her property. It’s easy to do, and ignorance can be quite costly. I’m amazed that this is not common.

This. It amazes me as well. Very few people that I have asked over the years are even aware that there are documents available on their property much less how easy it is to see them. And it is very much in the homeowner’s interest to be sure the documents are up to date. And check with a reasonable time after some action on the property. The problem the OP refers to (no one taking responsibility for doing the paperwork) occurred simply because of the time lag.

I don’t know how common this is, but I have found it educational to visit the county engineering department and ask to see their file on my subdivision. The county keeps all sorts of interesting documents about what happened to the infrastructure where one lives. It can be surprising. For instance in my case I learned that a previous owner of my neighbor’s house had been careful enough to go before the county board and get a special law passed exempting him from local zoning setbacks. All he really had to do was ask (according to the people in the engineering department), permission is routinely granted in such cases. In this case, the homeowner put up a fence on the property line blocking access to the drainage ditch. No one at the time objected and that fence is now legal forever.

Thanks everybody.

My county had that information online.

Very useful, because I had forgotten to remove the bank from my insurance policy when I paid off the loan, so I couldn’t cash their payment. The problem was the bank had merged a couple of times and I had assumed the loan from someone else. So the document was not in my name.

Luckily, I had information on the mortgage transfer, so I was able to send it to the insurance and got things straightened out.