locating mortgage holder

5 Replies

A house in our area has been sitting since the owner died in 2014. In 2016, there was a fire of unknown origins that gutted the building. Now in 2016 the deceased owner is the only name listed on the public records. CoreLogic has paid the taxes since 2011, and the original mortgage was held by a bank that was absorbed by another bank in 2014 and that bank was subsequently taken over by yet another bank, but there seems to be no record of the mortgage holder now.  No signs of foreclosure at this point. Property is maintained slightly by ServiceLink. Any ideas on how to track down the bank or institution now holding title?

It wouldn't matter if you were able to track them down. If there isn't a sign on the lawn, it's not for sale. If it's not listed, you'll just have to wait until/unless it is. I get that you want to know more but, sometimes you just end up not knowing more. I supposed you could research and research, and follow all of the tranches of previous holders until you get to the end of the rabbit hole but, even if you find out, no one is going to talk to you about it.

There are two paths.

1. The person who died left an estate. Either they have heirs or the state will become the owner (in theory). So, you need to see what you can figure out from that side.

2. The mortgage holder on record is the mortgage holder. They might have been merged or sold to another firm. Trace the records. Banks which are sold will have lots of records for who bought what. Then approach the current owner of the of the old bank. You might have a lawyer send a letter to the bank's lawyer (legal department). Offer to buy the loan from the bank. 

There is no reason to buy the loan from the bank if you are not going to pursue the borrower and seize the property. If you are prepared to do so, and have the cash, good luck. Sooner or later, someone will want the situation cleared up.

BTW, check the property taxes and if they are current, etc. You want to make sure that if you step in, you are not dealing with a lot of back taxes. Let the current lender sort that or reduce your offer to buy the loan. And make sure no one has bought the tax liens or has a more senior claim on the property.

Thanks for these suggestions, John Corey. The heirs did not want to keep paying on the property and told the real estate agent they were letting it go back to the lender, and since the owner was not married at the time, neither her grown son or mother would have any claim after 5 years. The taxes have been paid since at least 2011 through a property servicing agency and are current. I spoke to a friend at our local bank who tried to locate electronic records, but the original loan number or her social Sec. number is required for that search.

She suggested running a title search and we are willing to spend the money to do that and see if it will reveal who the mortgage holder is now. Her advice was to be persistent. Apparently there continue to be a lot of 'forgotten' properties held by banks with more pressing or lucrative concerns.  I will report back if our investment in a title search yields useful results. I am learning a lot about our banking system- some of it pretty strange.

Originally posted by @Lin Wellford :

Thanks for these suggestions, John Corey. The heirs did not want to keep paying on the property and told the real estate agent they were letting it go back to the lender, and since the owner was not married at the time, neither her grown son or mother would have any claim after 5 years. The taxes have been paid since at least 2011 through a property servicing agency and are current. I spoke to a friend at our local bank who tried to locate electronic records, but the original loan number or her social Sec. number is required for that search.

She suggested running a title search and we are willing to spend the money to do that and see if it will reveal who the mortgage holder is now. Her advice was to be persistent. Apparently there continue to be a lot of 'forgotten' properties held by banks with more pressing or lucrative concerns.  I will report back if our investment in a title search yields useful results. I am learning a lot about our banking system- some of it pretty strange.

Is there equity in the property? If so, the heirs may have the incentive to sell it to you.

It sounds like it might be underwater in which case you are stuck. As long as the lender continues to pay the taxes, this property will not go to tax sale. Until the owner of the loan is willing to foreclose, there will not be much you can do. The people that make decisions at banks are hourly and salaried employees whose compensation is not directly tied to the performance of any one asset. Even if you find the decision maker who has the ability, he or she may not be able to sell the loan to you because they take their orders from supervisors who are concerned with quarterly profits and dividends. You are better off spending time pursuing other leads. You can monitor this property and bid on it when it goes to foreclosure sale but you might have to wait a long time.... 

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