Have you ever wondered who really owns your mortgage note? You pay your mortgage each month, but where do those payments end up? Perhaps you’re thinking of obtaining a loan modification or refinance through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), or other program under the Making Home Affordable (MHA) umbrella. Or maybe you’ve read that banks are foreclosing on people without proper records and want to know if anyone out there actually can show you your original mortgage note.
First, remember that the loan owner isn’t necessarily the same as your loan servicer. Your loan servicer is the company that sends you mortgage statements, takes your payments each month, and if you have an escrow account, pays your homeowner’s insurance and property tax bills. So where do you start looking?
- Ask the servicer. They are legally obligated to tell you the name, address, and telephone number of the owner of your loan as shown in their records. It may be a good idea to ask them in writing officially with a “qualified witten request” via certified mail while keeping a log of your communications. The name of your servicer should be on your mortgage statement, but you can also use the MERS link below.
- Original lender. Your loan may have never been sold, and still kept as a “portfolio loan” with the original lender. What a concept!
- Fannie Mae. In reality, many loans are sold to FNMA aka “Fannie Mae”. See Fannie Mae loan lookup tool.
- Freddie Mac. Similar story with Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC) aka “Freddie Mac”. See Freddie Mac loan lookup tool.
- Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) is a big online registry designed to replace the costly process of publicly recording mortgage ownership at the local government level with a private electronic version that allows the swapping of mortgages with no friction at all. MERS tracks both the servicing rights and ownership of mortgage loans in the United States, although the accuracy has been called into question. See MERS ServiceID lookup tool. You can also call them at 888-679-6377.
By Jonathan Ping | Real Estate | 7/10/12, 2:57am