DEAR BENNY: Because savings interest rates are so low, I've decided to accelerate paying off my home mortgage. But after I pay off the mortgage, then what? What else do I need to do, or make sure is done by the bank/mortgage company? For instance, changing the home insurance beneficiary from the bank to me. Are there any other things I need to do? --Nelson
DEAR NELSON: That's an excellent question. My standard and perhaps somewhat glib response is: "Don't burn the mortgage."
When you first obtained your mortgage loan, you signed two documents: a promissory note and a mortgage document (usually called a deed of trust). The trust was recorded among the land records in the county where your property is located. You must make sure that the deed of trust is formally released from land records. This is accomplished by filing a release -- often called a "certificate of satisfaction" -- on those same land records.
Lenders treat this in different ways. Some actually will arrange to have the release recorded, and will charge you a nominal fee for this service. Other lenders, however, will just send you the promissory note, marked "paid and canceled" and you have to record the release. If your lender is a private individual, make sure that you get the note back simultaneously when you make the final payment. more...