Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell today reminded Norfolk County homeowners about the importance of filing a mortgage discharge after their mortgage has been paid off.
The Register stated, “When a mortgage has been paid off, a mortgage discharge document needs to be recorded with the Registry of Deeds to clear a homeowner’s property title relative to that loan. This is particularly important in light of the many homeowners currently taking advantage of historically low interest rates to refinance their mortgages. Please note a discharge is a document (typically one-two pages) issued by the lender, usually with a title such as “Discharge of Mortgage” or “Satisfaction of Mortgage.”
“There are instances,” noted the Register, “where discharges are filed directly by banks or settlement closing attorneys with the Registry as part of a property sale or as a result of a refinancing transaction. In other cases, the mortgage discharge is sent to the property owner who then becomes responsible for making sure the document is recorded. Whether or not a discharge is recorded by the lending institution or the individual property owner, it is important that the property owner makes sure all necessary documents have been recorded at the Registry of Deeds.”
“To check on their title,” noted O’Donnell, “Norfolk County homeowners can access the Registry’s online records at www.norfolkdeeds.org and verify if all mortgages associated with the property have been discharged. Please remember not having a mortgage discharged will result in a title issue and thereby impact the process of selling one’s home.”
The Register further noted that there have been cases where no discharge has been recorded against a long paid off mortgage. “Unfortunately, some of the lending institutions that provided funds for these mortgages are no longer in existence. In other cases, financial entities have merged with another lending institution.”
If a property owner needs to retrieve an original discharge of a mortgage and is unclear which lending institution is now responsible for providing the document, an option is to contact the Massachusetts Division of Banks at 1-800-495-2265 x-1 and then x-61501. Another option is to access the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation website www.fdic.gov. Then find the BankFind tab approximately half way down the home page, put in the lending institution in question, then click on the lending institution link and you will be able to determine who has responsibility for the mortgage.
When recording a discharge, the original document is required. The Registry of Deeds does not accept photo copies or faxed copies of documents. The filing fee, set by state statute, is $106.00.
In conclusion, Register O’Donnell stated, “After paying off all the mortgages on their property, homeowners want to have peace of mind that they have clear title to their property, especially if they are contemplating selling. Being on top of what is required will go a long way in giving the homeowner assurances that they have clear title to their property. I strongly urge homeowners to make sure their mortgage discharge has been filed with the Registry of Deeds once their mortgage has been paid off.”
The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is staffed with a team of customer service representatives who can be reached Monday through Friday, 8:30AM-4:30PM at 781-461-6101. These representatives have been trained in researching documents and are well versed on the subject of mortgage discharges and what, if necessary, needs to be done to clear title to a property.
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The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website www.norfolkdeeds.org. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.