Q: I hold the mortgage on a house, and the owners now want to pay it off. Do I need a lawyer?
A: You may not need a lawyer but the persons who owe the money and are paying it off may need one more and require a lot of legal protection. You have to give them a written "mortgage satisfaction" which is a notarized legal document that states that the mortgage and mortgage indebtedness has been paid off in full and further that you never sold or assigned the rights to the mortgage to any other person or entity. This is a legal document which must be filed in the Office of the County Clerk (Land Records) where the real property is located and where the original mortgage was filed. You are also supposed to return the original mortgage and mortgage note to the mortgagors--the persons who owed you the money and they are supposed to hold on to those documents until they have sold the house and closed. If this is not done now, the persons who are paying you off for tis private mortgage will be looking for you 10 years from now when they are trying to sell the house and need to clear the mortgage from the County Clerk's records and that is no fun.
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