Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell today reminded 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. 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.”
O’Donnell further stated, “In some cases, 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 instances, 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.”
“One way for a homeowner to check on their title,” noted O’Donnell, “is by accessing the Registry’s online records at www.norfolkdeeds.org and verifying 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-61501. This government agency can assist the consumer in tracking down contact information for the lending institution that is responsible 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 $76.00.
In conclusion O’Donnell stated, “After paying off all the mortgages on their property, homeowners want peace of mind that they have clear title to their property, especially if they are contemplating selling it. Being diligent and aware 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. There is no reason to wait.”
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.