Q: We paid off our house and received a letter from our mortgage company congratulating us. Aren’t we supposed to get a title or deed showing that we are now the owners of this house?
A visitor, Cedar Park, TX
A: Can I put this question in perspective of the times?
Foreclosure filings–default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions–were reported on 358,471 U.S. properties during August 2009, an increase of nearly 18% from August 2008, according to RealtyTrac, a leading online source for foreclosure information. The same report found that 1 in every 357 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing in August.
I point that out because if you have paid off your mortgage, or you’re close to it, consider yourself very fortunate–blessed.
As for your question, you definitely should get more than a written pat on the back. You should have received the original promissory note and original deed of trust. And, unlike what you might have heard or seen in the movies, don’t burn any paperwork. Keep everything–any notice of payoff and all of your HUD-1 settlement documents (you know, the huge stack of paperwork you got when you bought the house).
Next, make sure your lender recorded a release of that mortgage.
Check with your county land records to confirm the title is now free and clear and in your name. If the mortgage company hasn’t filed a release, you may have to push them or do it yourself.
Finally, check with the title company you used for the loan, to see if it has been received, and that they recorded the mortgage release.