Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Misspelled Names and Index Entries

A homeowner called to report that when she searched for her recently-recorded deed on our website, she could not find it, although she did find the mortgage and declaration of homestead that were recorded at the same time. It turns out that her name on the deed was spelled incorrectly. Let’s say the correct name was Hickam, but the deed spelled it Hickham (added a second “h” to the middle of the name).

I told her she should call the lawyer who handled the closing but added, after giving a disclaimer about not providing legal advice, that she still owned the property despite the misspelled name. I told her that people frequently changed their names - usually as a result of marriage or divorce - but continue owning the property without their new name showing up anywhere in the record. In such a case, when the person recorded some other document in the future, they would identify themselves by their current name and add a “formerly known as” or “also known as” to show the two names referred to the same person.

I also told her that while I could not change the recorded document itself, I could add her correctly-spelled name to the index entry for that document even though that spelling of the name did not appear in the document. She asked me to do that, so I did.

The general rule of indexing is to enter the name in the index the way it appears in the document. In this case, we had done that even though the spelling in the document turned out to be incorrect. My rationale for adding the correct spelling of the name to the index entry was that the purpose of the index is to assist researchers in finding documents relevant to their inquiries. Someone researching this person’s property would search by her correctly-spelled name. Such a search would not find the deed since the name on the deed and the resulting index entry was misspelled. I thought it would be better to increase the odds of that researcher finding this deed, and then making his or her own determination of the effect of the misspelled name.

So I guess a corollary of the “index it the way it appears in the document” rule is that it’s OK to index it a little more than that if the extra entry will help someone find the document. Our index entries have no independent legal significance, so adding an additional spelling of the name, even if that spelling is not contained in the document, does no harm.

I will say that my decision to add the extra name was made easier by the presence of the correctly-spelled name in the mortgage and homestead that accompanied this deed. This also is an important reminder for closinging attorneys to closely check the spelling of the grantee name on a deed. The closing attorney is the one who prepares the mortgage and the homestead, and so is more likely to spell the name correctly on those documents. But the deed is prepared by the seller’s lawyer who is not as well-acquainted with the name of the buyer and more likely to spell it wrong. But if the closing attorney misses it and the deed with the misspelled name gets on record, it’s the closing attorney who will have to deal with it. A little extra attention at the closing can save a big headache afterwards.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Electronic Recording

Electronic recording volume continues to hold steady at the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds. From January through November, 51 percent of all documents were recorded electronically (30,327 of 59,101). Here are the percentages of electronic recordings for each month:

January - 49%
February - 46%
March - 50%
April - 50%
May - 50%
June - 51%
July - 50%
Aug - 52%
Sept - 53%
Oct - 55%
Nov - 55%

Mortgages are the documents most likely to be recorded electronically, with 68% of those recorded thus for in 2016 coming to us by that means. Discharges follow close behind at 59% recorded electronically, and 49% of deeds are recorded that way.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Median Sales Prices

Each year I calculate the median price stated on deeds recorded for each of the ten communities within the Middlesex North Registry District. This year, I decided to get a head start and did the calculations at the end of November, basing the 2016 median sales price on the first eleven months of the year (I'll redo the numbers in January for the full year). Here are the numbers for each town, compared to the previous year and to the highest price reached during the real estate bubble:

Lowell: 2016 median price of $229,154 is 4% higher than 2015 median of $221,000. Lowell's highest median was $254,900 in 2005.

Billerica: 2016 median price of $365,000 is 4% higher than 2015 median of $350,000. It also exceeds the bubble median of $359,900 from 2005 for the first time.

Carlisle: 2016 median price of $569,500 is 2% higher than 2015 median of $560,000. Carlisle's highest median was $597,500 in 2007.

Chelmsford: 2016 median price of $330,000 is 2% higher than 2015 median of $323,000, and exceeds the bubble median of $325,000 in 2005 for the first time.

Dracut: 2016 median price of $271,000 is 4% higher than 2015 median of $259,900, but still trails the bubble median of $275,450 from 2008.

Dunstable: 2016 median price of $430,000 is statistically the same as 2015 median of $430,400, and still trails bubble median of $460,000 in 2005.

Tewksbury: 2016 median price of $354,900 is 8% higher than 2015 median of $329,450, and exceeds the bubble median of $345,000 in 2005 for the first time.

Tyngsborough: 2016 median of $314,950 is 9% higher than 2015 median of $288,500, but still trails the bubble median of $350,000 in 2006.

Westford: 2016 median of $405,000 is 7% higher than 2015 median of $380,000, but still trails the bubble median of $420,000 from 2005.

Wilmington: 2016 median of $403,500 is 1% higher than 2015 median of $400,000. Both of these exceed the bubble median high of $384,450 from 2006.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Lowell Real Estate: Week of November 28, 2016

The following sales occurred in Lowell last week:

November 28, 2016 - Monday
549 Pine St Unit 18 for $125,000. Prior sale in 2012 for $82,500
152 Wentworth Ave for $320,000. Prior sale in 1978
115 Fairfield St for $299,000. Prior sale in 2005 for $295,000
15-31 West Third St for $280,000. Prior sale in 1980

November 29, 2016 - Tuesday
344 Stackpole St for $275,000. Prior sale in 2008 for $249,900
92 Swan St Unit 208 for $219,000. Prior sale in 2012 for $152,000
11 Oak Knoll Rd for $296,000. Prior sale in 1992 for $111,900
30-32 Boisvert St for $210,000. Prior sale in 1962
15 Emerson Ave for $314,900. Prior sale in 2009 for $174,000
216 Nesmith St Unit 4 for $284,900. Prior sale in 2002 for $240,000
39 Third St for $160,000. Prior sale 2015 foreclosure
85 Delmont Ave for $347,000. Prior sale in 2005 for $298,000
172 Middle St Unit 311 for $184,000. Prior sale in 2006 for $200,000

November 30, 2016 - Wednesday
76 Newhall St for $178,000. Prior sale in 2005 for $175,000
110 Pleasant St for $340,000. Prior sale in 2005 for $320,000
48 Jewett St for $167,000. Prior sale 2016 foreclosure
74-76 South Whipple St for $277,500. Prior sale in 2003 for $281,100
69 Epping St for $235,000. Prior sale in 2002 for $227,500
301 Woburn St for $380,000. Prior sale in 1989 for $150,000
20 Woodland Dr Unit 352 for $205,000. Prior sale in 1989 for $109,900
21 Virginia Ave for $330,000. Prior sale in 1959
1975 Middlesex St Unit 54 for $332,000. Prior sale in 2014 for $284,900

December 1, 2016 - Thursday
2310 Skyline Dr Unit 7 for $149,999. Prior sale in 2007 in $166,000
62 Lura St for $260,000. Prior sale in 1977
308-316 Roger St for $575,000. Prior sale in 2004 for $565,000
85 West Sixth St for $164,000. Prior sale in 1994 for $60,000

December 2, 2016 - Friday
20 Woodland Dr Unit 350 for $215,000. Prior sale in 2014 for $165,000
200 Market St Unit 411 for $300,000. Prior sale in 1988 for $172,202
114 Laplume Ave for $162,000. Prior sale in 1958
516 Concord St for $190,000. Prior sale in 1981
52 Huntoon Ave Unit 14 for $167,900. Prior sale in 2006 for $194,000

November recording statistics

The number of documents recorded in November 2016 was up substantially from last November. However, compared to the previous month (October 2016), the volume of documents held steady. Here are some numbers:

Nov 2016 vs Nov 2015

The overall number of documents recorded in Nov 2016 was up 23% from Nov 2015 (5778 v 4687)

The number of deeds recorded was up 30% (673 v 518)

The number of mortgages recorded was up 62% (1178 v 946)

The number of foreclosure deeds was down 27% (19 v 26)

The number of orders of notice was down 46% (25 v 46)

Looking at month-to-month statistics:

Oct 2016 had 629 deeds; Nov 2016 had 673.

Oct 2016 had 1178 mortgages; Nov 2016 had 1216.

Oct 2016 had 29 foreclosure deeds; Nov 2016 had 19.

Oct 2016 had 53 orders of notice; Nov 2016 had 25.

Oct 2016 had 5678 documents; Nov 2016 had 5778.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Foreclosure Auctions: Week of November 28, 2016

There are seven mortgage foreclosure auctions in the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds District scheduled for this week:

Monday, November 28: 13 Merrimack Way, Unit F, Tyngsborough, at 9 a.m.

Tuesday, November 29: 4 Pageant Way, Westford, at 11 a.m.
                                       423 Stevens St, Lowell, at 10 a.m.

Wednesday, Nov 30: 280 High St, Lowell, at 11 a.m.
                                  36 Second St, Lowell, at 10 a.m.

Friday, December 2: 18 Mill St, Dracut, at 11 a.m.
                                  33 Wamock St, Lowell, at 11 a.m.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Lowell Real Estate: Week of November 21, 2016

The following properties sold this week in Lowell:

November 21, 2016 - Monday
3-5 Osgood Ave for $324,000. Prior slae in 1974
825 Chelmsford St for $327,500. Prior sale in 1996 for $79,000
43 Seventh St for $135,000. Prior sale in 2013 for $64,000
111 Lundberg St for $291,500. Prior sale in 1983 for $82,000
72 Berkeley Ave for $320,000. Prior slae in 2007 for $315,000
25 Miriam Ln for $420,000. Prior sale in 1968
52 Huntoon Ave Unit 4 for $180,000. Prior sale in 1999 for $113,000
16 Bachman St for $224,000. Prior sale in 1980

November 22, 2016 - Tuesday
254 Cumberland Rd for $250,000. Prior sale in 2003 for $275,000
116 West St for $235,000. Prior sale in 2004 for $254,000
39 Bowden St for $225,000. Prior sale in 1946
122 Stromquist Ave for $175,000. Prior sale in 1950
52 Lawrence Dr Unit M515 for $225,000. Prior sale in 2009 for $170,000
431 Lakeview Ave for $410,000. Prior sale in 2006 for $425,000
21 Agawam St for $499,000. Prior sale in 2006 for $405,000
14 Ash St for $95,000. Prior sale 2015 foreclosure
172 Jewett St for $60,000. New lot; former PAV Club
20 Powell St Unit 2 for $60,000. Prior sale in 2010 for $40,000
43 Fifth St for $213,675. Prior sale 2016 foreclosure

November 23, 2016 - Wednesday
20 Woodland Dr Unit 335 for $215,000. Prior sale in 2005 for $239,900
1461 Pawtucket Blvd Unit 3 for $141,000. Prior sale in 2009 for $139,000
73 Aiken Ave for $520,000. Prior sale in 2012 for $360,000
200 Market St Unit 3115 for $110,000. Prior sale in 2006 for $140,000
977 Westford St Unit 12 for $137,000. Prior sale 2015 foreclosure
172 Jewett St for $100,000. Prior sale in 2016 for $60,000

November 24, 2016 - Thursday
Thanksgiving - no sales

November 25, 2016 - Friday
345 Pawtucket Blvd Unit 8 for $98,500. Prior sale 2015 foreclosure

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Registry of Deeds: Holiday Schedule

Here is the schedule of the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds during the upcoming holiday period:

Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - open normal hours (8:30 am to 4:15 pm);

Thursday, November 24, 2016 - closed all day for Thanksgiving

Friday, November 25, 2016 - open normal hours

Christmas - New Year

Friday, December 23, 2016 - open normal hours

Monday, December 26, 2016 - closed all day for Christmas observation

Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - open normal hours

Friday, December 30, 2016 - open normal hours

Monday, January 2, 2017 - closed all day for New Years Day observation

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 - open normal hours