Lien Release Tracking: Clearing Title and Saving the Day

As a closing settlement agent, it’s your responsibility to secure the release of paid mortgage loans and other associated liens.

But let’s look at the cold, hard facts:

36% of mortgage liens are released late, i.e. not within the statutory period after lien payoff. 17% of satisfied mortgages are never released or recorded. At all.

What does this mean?

For one thing, the buyer doesn’t own clear title – even after having paid off his or her predecessor’s obligations.

To you, it also means your client’s file remains open indefinitely – resulting in multiple inefficiencies which impact your own bottom line.

So what are your options to secure recorded release document?

Option 1. Do it yourself.

This is a plodding, inefficient option. Tracking down the lender and/or county land records is time-consuming and cost-consuming, and simply no fun. It also keeps you on the hook—keeping your liability for clear title open—until the recorded release is received. And as you just read, in 17% of the cases—this never happens.

Option 2. Use an outside lien release tracking service.

Although there are some reputable release tracking services available, you’ve got to find one, then go to their website, sign in, and order the service. It’s a burdensome extra step.

The best option? Stay within your title and settlement software, and order your placement, status, and recorded release, then close your client’s file.

The cost? $35/lien. Best of all, this cost is normally a pass through to the seller (for a sale) or borrower (for a refinance).