The dream for many Australians is to get onto the property ladder and then one day call their home their own.

When you get there, first make sure you actually want to close your mortgage account with its current limit.

What you earn today may be less than it was when you first applied for your loan; perhaps you are even retired. It is vital that you look ahead before closing it.

You can keep your mortgage account open with a zero balance, just so you have a fallback.

Once you have decided  to pay off your mortgage, here are the steps you need to take:

1. Ensure your current mortgage doesn’t have any penalties if you close it. This could be as small as losing your credit card, or at the other extreme paying tens of thousands of dollars in break costs if your loan is fixed.

2. If you used a mortgage broker to set up the loan, they are still being paid a commission on your mortgage to help you through this process.

3. Obtain a copy of your lender’s discharge authority form. This comes with a warning: most lenders have extremely good retention teams who will   do everything they can to keep your account open. Your debt-free property looks good on their loan book.

4. These days the discharge authority form is very straightforward, and can in most cases be completed and emailed back to the lender. Typically, then it is a waiting game of about  15 working days before the lender will be ready.

5. If your balance isn’t already at zero, you will need to contact your lender to confirm the payout figure. This will include any fees and interest still to be paid on top of your current mortgage balance. All you then need to do is arrange for those funds to be received by the lender.

6. This is the fun part. You will need to book in to collect your property’s title deed from the lender’s settlement agent’s office. There is one in most major capitals. If you cannot attend in person, a solicitor or conveyancer can also assist; however, they will need to be paid for their time.

7. Now you need to contact your building insurer and ensure it removes your lender from the   certificate of currency. While you are on the phone, it is probably also worth reviewing your level of insurance coverage.

8. Your title deed is a precious document. It is vital that you keep it somewhere safe. Many people elect to keep it with the solicitor who also holds their will.

9. Let the celebrations begin … those years of hard work have paid off.


By for Money Magazine