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What to do when your mortgage company comes after you for years after you've paid off your loan

Q: I sold my home three years ago, but the mortgage company says I am still on the mortgage. I told them the loan was paid off, but they keep telling me that they do not give me any other information.

I have not made a payment on the loan for three years, and still they say I owe money. What can I do?

A: When you sold your home three years ago, we imagine you are closing in on the offices of a title company, closing agent or attorney or a settlement agent. At that closing, the closing agent was supposed to pay the final amount owed on your loan. We suspect what happened and did not pay the right payoff amount for your loan.

Here's what should happen: Your attorney or closing agent wants a payday letter from your lender. That demand letter wants to give the loan in full by a certain date. Every day that the payoff is delayed means you'd be a higher amount to the lender.

The closing agent (1) sent an amount to your lender that was short payoff funds, (2) sent the amount by mail, and the funds got to the lender after the due date in the demand in the demand letter.

In each of the above situations, the amount you'd owe the lender would be small. If the payoff is short of a couple of days' interest or short of some sort, the amount you'd owe the lender should be quite small relative to the loan size.

Here's where it gets interesting. Your closing agent had the obligation to make the payment properly and on time. You may or not need to pay off the loan when you sold your home. It could be that the closing agent's company now has to make the mistake that the closing agent made three years ago.

Here's where you have to balance your time and the costs involved. If you can not find the amount owed on your old loan and the amount is $ 50, you might just want to pay it and be done with it. Otherwise, you will need to search through your papers.

They have had something to do with some issues. In a few cases they were right, but in others the closing agent was clearly obligated to do certain things and to do that right.

Having said that, if your lender paid up and gave the wrong payoff amount, or the right amount to be paid, the amount was not enough to pay off paid the difference when you closed. It would be three years after the closing.

Lender is still showing your loan. Unpaid and see how much they are showing as a balance. You can get a free copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. This site allows you to get a copy of your credit report from each of the big three credit-reporting bureaus. You can get one copy from each of them once a year.

Once you download a copy, you can look at the report on loans and mortgages and you should see your old mortgage loan listed. If you see that the balance is $ 50, you will know that the payoff is short that amount and you'll know where you stand. If the balance is "0," the lender may be showing the loan as paid in full. You can look a little deeper and see what the payment schedule is.

Doing a little legwork first wants to help you figure out where you stand with your lender before you end up on hold forever with a big box lender that will not or can not give you information or chasing down your closing agent who may or may not at the same office.

Finally, we have some home sellers failing to give the right information. Eventually, the title company that insured that transaction will send the file to the claims department, and the claims department may come after you for the amount you owe – if you actually did not pay the loan and the closing attorney missed having to pay off that lender. Good luck.

Ilyce Glink is the author of "100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyers Should Ask (4th Edition), She is also the CEO of Best Money Moves, an app that employers provide to measure and reduce financial stress. Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Contact them through her website, ThinkGlink.com,


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