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If you’re in the industry of handling real estate transactions, you’ll need to perform a lot of research. Because real estate is one of the most significant investments you can make, you must assist your clientele adequately in preparing for this purchase, including educating them with information that will help them secure the best deal possible. They should make better, more knowledgeable judgments when they better understand the real estate market and its workings. A good starting point for your clients is to look up property and mortgage records.

The purpose of mortgage records

You may learn a lot about a house and its owner by looking at public mortgage records. Your clients might be able to use this knowledge to bargain for a better deal. Mortgage documents, for example, may reveal whether the sellers are going through a divorce. Your customer might use this information to bargain a lower price, knowing that the sellers are desperate to get rid of the property. You can also see how many times the house has been listed, taken off the market, and relisted. This provides you a sneak peek at the listing and any potential issues: Was it taken down because the market was slow or because there was a problem with the house? Was the seller merely getting a feel for the market? If this is the case, it might indicate that the owner is eager to sell, allowing your client to make a cheaper offer.

Mortgage Records and Promissory Notes are Not the Same Things

Promissory notes and mortgages are commonly confused amongst clients, who believe they are the same. While in actuality, they’re pretty different. The mortgage ensures the borrower’s commitment to the lender, whereas the promissory note is the borrower’s promise to the lender. When a person buys a house, they sign a promissory letter, which is effectively an IOU. This is the guarantee that the loan will be repaid.

A promissory note contains:

• The borrowers’ names,

• the location of the property,

• the loan’s value,

• the loan’s terms, and 

• the interest rate, whether fixed or adjustable.

The lender retains the promissory note on file until paid, much like an IOU. The letter is returned to the homeowners once paid in full. The mortgage gives the lender the authority to guarantee that the debt is repaid and, if necessary, to recover the property. If the mortgage requirements aren’t satisfied, the mortgage agreement permits lenders to demand payment and foreclose on the property.

The public record of a mortgage document shows:

• The borrowers’ names, 

• the property’s location, 

• the legal description of the property,

• if the loan is in good standing and any 

• assignments or endorsements on the loan

The mortgage becomes a public record shortly after it is signed and stays so for the length of the loan. The lender releases the mortgage once it has been paid in full.

However, lenders can sell a mortgage to another lender before that period. This transaction will be documented in the mortgage files. Evaluating endorsements can also reveal if ownership of the loan has been transferred. If another lender takes over the loan, the promissory note will be signed over in an endorsement.

Accessing Public Mortgage Records

So, how do you go about gathering all of this data? To begin, collect information about the present homeowner. In most circumstances, the name will suffice; nevertheless, you may also want the full address or other identifying details.

  • Step 1: Determine which county the property is located in. Then find out where that county’s records are kept. Mortgage records are kept in some counties’ courthouses or clerk’s offices. In other circumstances, the paperwork is handled by the municipality itself. Visit the website of the office that keeps the records.
  • Step 2: There will be a form to fill out on the website to access the mortgage records. To see the results, fill in all of the required information. Some websites enable you to examine records online, while others may require you to visit the office.
  • Step 3: If you need to visit the office, someone should assist you in locating the papers you want. Hard copies of the mortgage records should be available for inspection. Access to records may be subject to a small fee.

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Written by Austin Proctor 


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