Advice on removing old liens from defunt companies

10 Replies

I have a house under contract to purchase. The title search showed 2 old liens from companies which have been acquired by other companies. The seller thinks she does not owe anyone anything.

The first is from 1998 and is with WMC Mortgage Corporation. They were a subprime lender bought by GE in 2004 and later shut down.  

The second is with Associates Home Equity Services. It is from 1999. They were bought by Citi in 2000. The Company did not have a good reputation in North Carolina. 

In 2008 the seller had an attorney send a request to Citi for information on her loan and they did not have anything. This happened when her mother died. The loan was in her name and her mother's name.

The seller thinks both of these liens should not be on the title. She has not made any payments on them or received anything about them at least since 2008, if ever. No one has foreclosed or done anything about it.

What should we do to get the liens removed?

has she refinanced or anything since 2008 that would require title to be cleared?

what does the attorney have that contacted Citi before? 

there should be releases filed even if the loans were transferred... 

Eric - I ran into the same situation recently and the short answer - be persistent.

I recently found out through a title search on my property that there was an old lien from DiTech.com from 10 years ago that was paid off and but the lien remained.  So I spent hours going through old paperwork and found the payoff statement. I then called every number on it and they were all disconnected as the company went out of business.  Did some research on the internet and found out there were transfers to GMAC Mortgage and then a rebranded DiTech Mortgage.

Called all of those companies but no one could find my account number or anything via social security number.  Finally, I filed BBB complaints against these companies stating they should still have it on record somewhere.  GMAC Mortgage finally responded with a "release of mortgage" letter.  I mailed that certified to the town clerk's office and got it released.

Took many phone calls, letters and about 3 months of time, but got it resolved!

Good luck and let us know how it turns out on your side.

- Tom

I gave the stuff to my lawyer for round 1, but I am afraid it is going to get really expensive quickly. On Monday I am going to talk to them to get an understanding of the timeframe. I don't have 3 months so if we cannot resolve it quickly I'll take the loss and move on. 

@Tom S. My lawyer and paralegal are still dealing with this. I am getting a bit frustrated as they are not good at responding to me and they also do not give me a clear answer. I have e-mailed twice in the last week with no reply. This person was highly recommended by multiple people in Raleigh but I am not sure if I will use them again. It is very irritating. They never reply  until I email and call at least 4 times.

I might start trying to handle this myself. We have one cleared but the other is not. After 3 months I feel like I should at least be able to get an answer from the lawyer. 

I did work it out with the seller so even though we are 3 months deep I am still on good ground with her.

Anyway, I guess if you get a house like this be prepared to wait and hope your Seller is ok with it like me. It helps she tried to clear it a few years ago and gave up, so she knows how annoying it is.

Wothout any action from the lien holder, you're likely looking at doing a quiet title action.  Success, time frames and costs will vary by jurisdiction.

Multiple things. First, sounds like you have the wrong attorney. Second, WMC Mortgage is not "shut down" in the sense that their liens just disappeared. They may have stopped originating loans, but the liens were sold to other servicers via MERS. I see multiple SATISFACTION filings in 2015 with WMC in the indexed search, with current note holders like Nationstar, Deutsche Bank, etc. I also see ASSIGNMENT filings, along with S-TR and FORE notices in the last year or so it's pretty clear to me that unless you can show evidence that the terms were satisfied, you run some risk assuming that the seller statements and presumptions are correct.

Associates Home has assigned (note 1) in the last few weeks a mortgage that is 15 years old, originated in 2000. First document I viewed. So... my view is you better get payoff info (statements, etc.) or other documentation from your seller. If they don't have it... without the SATISFACTION filing (or a CAN indexed to the D-T) on deed transfer (note 2), expect a S-TR and foreclosure filing. My opinion only. See disclaimer below.

(1) books doc 16151/303  (2) assuming you prepare the deed... since an attorney probably will not w/o payoff and satisfaction filing as part of the closing

Disclaimer: The above is for entertainment purposes and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal professional help with your legal issues.

The first thing you need is proof of payoff.  If it is a 30 year mortgage and 30 years have not passed you need payoff proof.  If it was a 5 year note and 10 years have passed then a quiet title or even a lawsuit for damages due to having a clouded title.  Many states have a statute that provides for damages if you payoff a loan and it is not released you send a certified letter and if not paid off within a certain time you can claim damages.  just some thoughts.  It seems your attorney is making some headway.

Originally posted by @Tom S. :

Eric - I ran into the same situation recently and the short answer - be persistent.

I recently found out through a title search on my property that there was an old lien from DiTech.com from 10 years ago that was paid off and but the lien remained.  So I spent hours going through old paperwork and found the payoff statement. I then called every number on it and they were all disconnected as the company went out of business.  Did some research on the internet and found out there were transfers to GMAC Mortgage and then a rebranded DiTech Mortgage.

Called all of those companies but no one could find my account number or anything via social security number.  Finally, I filed BBB complaints against these companies stating they should still have it on record somewhere.  GMAC Mortgage finally responded with a "release of mortgage" letter.  I mailed that certified to the town clerk's office and got it released.

Took many phone calls, letters and about 3 months of time, but got it resolved!

Good luck and let us know how it turns out on your side.

- Tom

This is the answer........ we have completed around 150 shortsales and ran in to this many times, make it easer for them just to give you a release.  

Good luck 

Jim 

@Chris Martin thank you. Do you have someone you would recommend in Raleigh?

Thanks to everyone else as well. The lawyer I am using is not responding to my calls. I'm very irritated by them. I called two more times last week. It is ridiculous. 

Updated about 6 years ago

Edit: I am not sure the policy on naming the attorney, it seems like usually people here do not name people, so I will withhold it for now, but I might down the road. I looked through my call history and I have placed 3 calls in the last 6 days plus sent unanswered e-mails. The front desk person swore I would get a call back today, we will see.