You’ve found the perfect house. It’s in the best location and, from the outside, appears to be exactly what you want. Since it isn’t listed for sale online, to get in touch with the owner you’ll need contact information. Or, perhaps you want to verify that your name is the one officially registered as the mortgage holder. Whatever the reason, the path to researching the name on a mortgage is the same. As long as you know where to go, you should be able to track down the information you need.
To find out the mortgage holder on a property, contact your local assessor’s office.
Finding the Mortgage Holder
When you bought your home, the information was registered with your local government. That information then becomes public record, which means anyone can find it. If you’re interested in accessing this information, the first step will be to identify where the information is stored. Usually these records are found at the property assessor’s office for the area, either at the city or county level. The good news is that you may be able to find this information online since some municipalities provide property record searches on their websites. At the very least, you’ll find information on what you need to do to get the information you need.
In addition to finding mortgage property information through your local municipalities, there are also sites that will help you find the information. Sites like PropertyShark let you track down a property owner by address, but you’ll usually be required to pay a fee. You can also try doing a web search for the property address to see what comes up, but information on property owner names is generally limited for privacy reasons.
Finding Out Your Mortgage Company
Before you can track down the name on your mortgage, it can help to know the name of the mortgage company itself. This will probably only work if you’re the actual mortgage holder since information is locked down for security purposes. You can contact the company to which you send your mortgage payment each month and get the name of the company that owns your loan. You can also look through your monthly billing statement or your annual escrow report and find all of the necessary names.
If you’re the mortgage borrower, you also have the option of the MERS ServicerID system to get information on your loan servicer. You’ll need the 18-digit mortgage identification number or the FHA/VA/MI certificate associated with the loan. You can also get the information by providing a series of identifying details about the property, including the address and your own details. This will at least give you the information you need to track down the current mortgage holder for your property.
Buying a Home
If the reason you seek mortgage borrower information is that you’re purchasing a house, a title search will be part of the preclosing process. The closing team will review a report provided by the title company, which includes determining the legal owner of the property to ensure that person has the right to sell it. This process will also verify that there are no liens on the property.
However, you don’t have to rely solely on your real estate agent and mortgage company to gather that information. You can pull the title on your own either by visiting the local county assessor’s office or by tracking down a real estate attorney who can help. If you want to save yourself the trouble, though, simply ask your real estate agent to give you a copy of the title report and review it yourself before signing on the dotted line.
Searching for Liens
Certain creditors will resort to putting a lien on your house if you don’t pay your debts. This could be the IRS if you have outstanding tax debt, or it could be something as small as overdue homeowners’ association payments. A court judgment is required before they can take this step, so you’ll likely know about it, but it still can’t hurt to look for a lien.
To determine if there’s a lien on your property, you’ll use the same process you used to get the official mortgage holder name. You can hire a title company, but that’s money you don’t have to spend. Instead, search your address on your local property assessor’s website or stop by and ask for the paperwork on your home. This may require a small fee, but it won’t be as much as you would have had to pay a title company for the same information. If you do have a lien, you’ll need to get in touch with whoever put the lien on the property and either send proof that you’ve paid the amount in full or pay it off if you still owe it. You may need to follow up with the assessor to ensure the lien has been released before you put your property on the market.
Remove Your Name From a Mortgage
If you find your name is on a mortgage and you don’t want it to be, then you’ll have to take steps to remove it. It could be that you were once married to the other mortgage borrower, who remains in the house while you’ve moved on. Even if it was agreed at some point that you would move out and the other person is paying the mortgage, having your name still listed could pose problems, particularly if you eventually want to take a mortgage for a home of your own.
Having your name taken off a mortgage is much more complicated than simply picking up the phone and calling the lender. If the mortgage is in more than one name and the other party intends to take it over, you’ll need to refinance the loan. That means the other person will have to go through the credit and income verification process and sign paperwork. At the end of this, your name will be off the loan.
Removing your name from a home’s mortgage is only one step. Your name will still be on the title. In order to take your name off the title, all parties will need to sign a quitclaim deed. You can do this through an attorney or access the forms online. Once signed, you can sign it in front of an attorney or notary and then submit it to the city or county office that has the property deed on your home. This means that when someone pulls information on that home, your name will no longer be listed.
Finding Additional Mortgages
Owners of mortgage property sometimes want to check to see if a second mortgage has been taken out on a home. This could be because one owner of a jointly owned property isn’t sure if the other owner has taken out a loan secretly, perhaps during a divorce process. The easiest way to determine this is to do a property search just as you would do if you were trying to find any liens.
However, there’s no guarantee that a second mortgage will be recorded with local officials. In that case, it may be necessary to pay an attorney to dig up the information for you. They’ll have access to information you don’t. They can also help you gather your title and clean up any liens or misinformation.
- A mortgage holder might assign the mortgage to another person or lender. Ask the land records clerk for directions for assignment searches.
- Some land records are maintained online. Check the clerk's official website for access to land records.
- The local government may offer land record search services, but you'll have to pay for it. Rates vary.
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