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Who Owns My Mortgage?

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Posted On: 01/06/2010

Question: There has been a lot of talk regarding who actually owns an individual mortgage, especially people who are facing foreclosure. Just out of curiosity, how can I find out who owns my mortgage?.

Answer: The easiest approach is to ask your loan servicer, the party that receives your monthly mortgage checks. However, if they cannot give you an answer, then look into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They own roughly 30 million mortgages, about 60 percent of all outstanding home loans.

A somewhat-related question is this: A lender claims to own a loan because it has bought a mortgage-backed security. Can it foreclose on my home even though it’s not listed on the local property records as the owner of the mortgage?

In this case we have a loan owner, but does the “owner” have the mortgage note physically in hand? There are now a small but growing number of cases where judges have rejected lender claims of loan ownership because they are not shown in local records as the mortgage owner and because the actual mortgage note cannot be found. If you find yourself facing foreclosure, at least have your attorney ask to see evidence of note ownership.

Question: My wife and I own a few rental properties. We currently pay 7.75-percent interest and want to get today’s lower rates. We don’t have a home loan; we do have an excellent credit score; we’re not behind nor have we ever been late on any payments. However, we keep getting turned down because we’re told we have too many loans.

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Answer: Many loan programs, but not all, limit the total number of loans you can have. However, given that your home is owned free and clear, an alternative is to refinance your prime residence and pay off one or more existing investor mortgages. You’ll likely get a better rate and qualify more easily with a residential refinance – especially if you agree to have investor financing paid off at closing.

Peter G. Miller is the author of The Common-Sense Mortgage and a veteran real estate columnist. Have a question? Please write to peter@ctwfeatures.com.

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