Monday, April 09, 2018

Are Signatures Becoming Extinct

Today's New York Times business section gives prominent placement to a story informing us that credit card signatures are about to become extinct in the United States. By the end of this month, American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa will all eliminate the requirement of vendors that they collect the signature of the person using the card. It is optional for the vendors, so some might continue with the requirement, but many will not.

The article explains that for centuries, the signature was accepted as a reliable means of verifying the identity of a person, but with digital signatures and the demise of hand-written documents, traditional signatures no longer serve that function in a reliable manner.

But the signature will not be totally extinct: the reporter predicts it will "relegated to a few special circumstances" like "sealing a giant transaction like a house purchase."

From the registry of deeds perspective, I'd have to dispute that assertion since we are heading towards entirely paperless transactions in the near future. Sure, the parties may be asked to make their signature on a tablet, but that act will have more to do with providing evidence of the intent of the person executing the document than it will with identifying that person.

Perhaps a more reliable method of verification will be to video and audio record the person acknowledging who he is, what he is doing, and what his intent is, and then embedding that video in the digital document itself. After all, the signature just provides circumstantial evidence of who signed the document.  Seeing and hearing the person executing the document would be stronger evidence. Other than nostalgia and habit, there's nothing to stop us.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Chelmsford Real Estate Map, 1st Qtr 2018

One of our new initiatives at the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds is to utilize online mapping tools to display real estate data. To illustrate the possibilities, I have created a Google Map of all real estate sales from Chelmsford, Massachusetts for the first quarter of 2018. The map has blue markers positioned at the location of each sale. By clicking on a marker, you will display the property address, the sales price, the date of sale and the registry book and page number of the deed.

CLICK HERE to see the Chelmsford map.

For a list of these sales sorted alphabetically by street, CLICK HERE

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Delayed opening Wed March 14, 2018

Middlesex North Registry of Deeds will open at 10am tomorrow, Wednesday, March 14, 2018 due to snowstorm.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Registry closed Tues March 13 2018

The Middlesex North Registry of Deeds (and all state courts in Mass) will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, due to impending winter storm.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Registry opens at 10am on March 8

Due to overnight snowstorm, the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds will open at 10am on Thursday, March 8, 2018.

Here's the official notice from the Massachusetts Trial Court:

All courts, except those in Bristol, Dukes, Plymouth and Nantucket counties will have a delayed opening of 10:00 a.m.. The courts in Bristol, Dukes, Plymouth and Nantucket counties will be open their regular hours.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Martin Luther King Day reminder

Next Monday, January 16, 2018, is Martin Luther King Day which is a state and federal holiday. The Middlesex North Registry of Deeds will be closed that day, and will reopen on Tuesday, January 17, 2018, at 8:30 a.m.

Monday, January 08, 2018

2017 Recording Statistics for Lowell

Last week I wrote a blog post with recording statistics for the entire Middlesex North Registry of Deeds district for all of 2017 and for just the month of December. Here's the equivalent information just for the city of Lowell, comparing the numbers for 2017 to those from 2016:

Deeds: in 2017, 2,018 were recorded v 2,086 in 2016, a 3% decline

Mortgages: in 2017, 2,512 were recorded v 2,768 in 2016, a 9% decline

Foreclosure Deeds: in 2017, 100 were recorded v 122 in 2016, a 18% decline

Orders of Notice: in 2017, 146 were recorded v 188 in 2016, a 22% decline

Total Docs: in 2017, 13,878 documents were recorded v 15,143 in 2016, a 8% decline

Here are the numbers for December 2017 compared to December 2016:

Deeds: in Dec 2017, 154 v 174 in Dec 2016, a 11% decline

Mortgages: in Dec 2017, 194 v 248 in Dec 2016, a 22% decline

Foreclosure Deeds: in Dec 2017, 5 v 4 in Dec 2016, a 25% increase

Orders of Notice: in Dec 2017, 17 v 12 in Dec 2016, a 42% increase

Total Docs: in Dec 2017, 1,074 v 1,478 in Dec 2016, a 27% decline