Homeowners who pay off their mortgage loan should notify county officials where the property is located, and file proof that the debt is paid.

Otherwise, when they go to sell the property, the title company won't be able to prove clear title and the sale will almost certainly be delayed.

In some cases, sellers have had to sue their lenders to prove that they have been paid in full. If a lender is no longer in business, the situation is even more complicated, experts say.

When the debt is paid, some lenders file the paperwork with the appropriate county courthouse. Others simply send a note to the borrower and expect them to take care of that detail. If that is the case, the borrower should hand-carry the satisfaction note to the recorder or registrar-of-deed's office. They should make sure they get back the original document with the filing date and time stamped on it.

Source: MarketWatch.com, Lew Sichelman (09/25/2009)