Articles Posted in Mortgages

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You miss a payment or two – and wham!   Suddenly your monthly mortgage statement is littered not only with late fees, but with a variety of new charges you have never seen before and may not understand. Among them: Your lender might be charging you for unnecessary property inspections (http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-fees-can-the-lender-charge-if-im-late-mortgage-payments.html). Several mortgage lenders and servicers, including Citi Mortgage, appear to be automatically charging borrowers for inspections to make sure their homes are occupied – even if there is no reason to believe the home has been abandoned.

Foreclosure Sign

In a growing number of class actions, homeowners say that inspection fees and other unreasonable, unauthorized fees are being tacked onto their statements automatically when they are late on payments. The mortgage companies allegedly program their computers to order the inspections after an account becomes a certain number of days past due. There is no human review or assessment of the account before the inspections are ordered, according to these lawsuits. And the inspections continue on an automated basis, sometimes as often as monthly.

The property inspection fees are typically small – in the range of $10 to $15. But since they are often charged monthly, they can add up (http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/challenging-late-other-fees-foreclosure.html).  Homeowners must pay these fees in order to save their homes from foreclosure.   Mortgage companies typically won’t reinstate a loan and halt the foreclosure process until all of the fees are paid, or even added to the balance of the loan. In some cases, homeowners have to pay these fees even when their homes are foreclosed. They are often deducted from the proceeds of the foreclosure sale. Continue reading

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Owning property or buying a home is a huge component in achieving the “American Dream.”  Most who buy a property take out a mortgage to finance their purchase.  Making the final payment on that mortgage is an immensely satisfying experience and a well-earned accomplishment.  You are free from future mortgage payments, and in the eyes of the bank, the government, and the public, you can do with the property what you wish.  In many cases, property owners pay off their mortgages when selling their properties and moving to a new home.

To ensure that everyone knows that your property is all yours either to keep or sell to new owners, when you pay off your mortgage, the bank (also known as the “mortgagor”) records a satisfaction of mortgage notice with the county clerk in the county where your property is located.  This demonstrates to the county that your mortgage is fully satisfied and paid for, in full, including all principal, interest, and other fees.  It also shows the county and the public that you are the legitimate and full owner of the formerly-mortgaged property.  Among other things, this allows you to sell your property.  In most cases, the mortgagor is required to record this notice within 30 days of the day you paid off your mortgage, or the mortgagor owes you money.

If the mortgagor does not record a satisfaction of mortgage notice, this can complicate the transfer process when you are selling your property.  Unfortunately, when a potential buyer does a title search on the property, it will appear to the buyer and the county that you do not have a marketable title and cannot transfer it to the new owner.  This may derail a potential sale. Continue reading