Friday, January 29, 2010
The report is available in PDF form here.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Now, the price of college tuition is just one of the burdens facing the middle class. That's why last year I asked Vice President Biden to chair a task force on middle-class families. That's why we're nearly doubling the child care tax credit, and making it easier to save for retirement by giving access to every worker a retirement account and expanding the tax credit for those who start a nest egg. That's why we're working to lift the value of a family's single largest investment –- their home. The steps we took last year to shore up the housing market have allowed millions of Americans to take out new loans and save an average of $1,500 on mortgage payments.
This year, we will step up refinancing so that homeowners can move into more affordable mortgages. (Applause.) And it is precisely to relieve the burden on middle-class families that we still need health insurance reform. (Applause.) Yes, we do. (Applause.)
I’m not sure what the President intends to do to “step up refinancing” but it was a proposal that certainly sounded good to me.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Is it real? You decided...
These photos purportedly show the Apple Tablet, locked down in a security frame. They were sent by an undisclosed source to Engadget, and, to my eye at least, appear to be the real thing.
The screen looks to be around 9 or 10 inches and looks pretty much like what we expected: a big iPhone. The home button at the bottom says to us that this is all about books and magazines, and less about movies (although when you’re watching a movie in landscape format, you don’t do much button pressing). Another cutout at the top of the security frame suggests either another home button (unlikely) or a camera.
We can see from the screen that there is Wi-Fi on board, and the “No Service” message points to a data connection, although it doesn’t reveal the carrier. Another source tells Engadget that the back of the device will be aluminum, like the MacBook Pro, and that ” pricing will run $800 on contract with Verizon and $1000 without when it arrives in March”. This tallies with what we have already heard.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Thaler doubts that many Americans will choose this course of action. They have been conditioned to see such purposeful defaults as immoral, even though businesses routinely follow such paths with little if any criticism. But social norms change, so if walking away from an onerous mortgage becomes more common, it will quickly become an acceptable course of conduct to most Americans.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Save the date…January 27, 2010.
Well, Apple Computer has scheduled a biggggg event to make a biggggg announcement this Wednesday, January 27...and Apple Exec’s are promising it won't disappoint.
In typical Apple fashion the event is surrounded by secrecy.
Last week Apple sent invitations to journalist to “come see our latest creation”.
"Our latest creation"? Now that offers many possibilities. Could it be a new iPhone? a new iPod? a Steve Jobs health report? Maybe, but Apple is not telling, not until Wednesday, anyway.
Most experts think Apple will use the event to announce a new Tablet Computer.
For months I have been reading articles speculating that Apple is going to enter the tablet computer market, so it makes sense that "our latest creation" refers to a tablet.
Rumor has it, the new tablet will be only 10” in size. Many are describing it as a sort of big iPod Touch. The larger screen will allow the device to run more diverse Apps than the iTouch. If true this would make it immensely popular.
So save the date...January 27
Like with all Apple announcements we'll wait with bated breath.
Friday, January 22, 2010
When it comes to tracking real estate activity, the registry of deeds provides a unique vantage point. Our data is not comprehensive – we lack information regarding the use of properties – but by counting and comparing the number and type of documents recorded, we are able to observe and comment on trends.
The 65,383 documents recorded in 2009 was the second lowest annual total in the previous fourteen years. The good news is that the number of documents recorded in 2009 was 18% higher than the 56,011 recorded in 2008 which could suggest that things are improving if only slightly. The amount of revenue the registry collected in recording fees tends to corroborate this observation. In 2008, recording fees accounted for $4.5 million in revenue, but in 2009, they accounted for $5.3 million, an increase of 18%. Another positive sign may be found in the number of mortgages recorded. The 14,519 recorded in 2009 represented a 31% increase over the 11,108 recorded in 2008.
Unfortunately, some negative indicators force us to restrain our optimism. The core of the mortgage market’s strength, for example, occurred in April through August with the volume receded significantly in the fall and early winter. While the number of foreclosure deeds recorded in 2009 was down 33% from 2008, the foreclosure deeds recorded in the second half of 2009 exceeded those recorded in the first half by 24%. The increase in orders of notice – the document that commences foreclosure proceedings - was even more dramatic, rising from 216 recorded in the first half of 2009 to 536 in the second half, a jump of 148%. Another negative indicator is a decline in collections of the deeds excise tax, a tax assessed at a rate of $2.28 per $500 of sales price. The $5.1 million in deeds excise collected in 2009 was a drop of 19% from the $6.3 million of 2008. Because there was essentially no change in the number of deeds recorded (5,409 in 2008 versus 5,434 in 2009), this indicates that sales prices have dropped markedly. While such a decline might be a necessary part of a post-bubble correction, it also means that many homeowners who bought or refinanced during the boom will continue to owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth, a circumstance bound to keep the volume of foreclosures high during 2010.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I own an iPhone…I love it, but recently I’ve become a little disappointed, not in the Apple phone, but in the Apps they sell for it.
We’ve all seen the commercial bragging that the iPhone has 100,00 Apps and the announcer saying…“want to know how much to tip your waitress? There’s an App for that”.
OK, that’s great, but there are several things I would love to have an App for, but there isn’t one.
On nights when the dishwasher is clean and full, I would love to be able to time my arrival home so my wife gets there first and empties it before I arrive...but there is No App for that.
When Tom Brady goes back to pass and a huge tight end is closing in on him I would like to be able to warn him...but there's No App for that.
My toaster has several cook settings, but none of them work and I hate dark toast. I need something that says, “hey Tony, your toast is golden”...but there's No App for that.
I love wind up clocks. I own five of them. The problem with wind up clocks is they need to be rewound every seven days...but there's No App for that.
I’m a barbecue food freak. I don’t mean Texas style. I’m more a hot dog, hamburger type guy. Every time I light my grill, I wonder, do I have enough propane...but there's No App for that.
When the New York Yankees come to Boston and sweep the Red Sox I need something to cheer me up...but there's No App for that.
Finally, sometimes coming up with fresh, new blog ideas is very difficult. I would love help...but there's No App for that.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
- Recording fees
- Copies of documents & plans
- Excise Tax ($2.28 per $500 of sales price)
- Community Preservation Act surcharge ($20 per document to fund the state's matching payments to communities that take advantage of the CPA)
- Registry Technology surcharge (a $5 per document surcharge to be used for technology at registries of deeds).
- 2002 - $12,884,530
- 2003 - $26,091,151
- 2004 - $21,675,601
- 2005 - $21,982,684
- 2006 - $17,461,208
- 2007 - $16,328,979
- 2008 - $12,191,884
- 2009 - $12,086,526
Friday, January 15, 2010
An alternative approach unexpectedly emerged from disaster recovery planning we undertook in preparation of Y2K. We had just purchased a microfilm scanner that would capture the image from a frame of microfilm and convert it to a digital image on the computer. After we had purchased the machine, which we intended to use to scan our older record books, we grew concerned about our ability to recreate the paper grantor and grantee indexes if they were destroyed in a disaster. Fortunately, all of our indexes were backed up on microfilm just the same as our record books. Using our new microfilm scanner, we were able to capture digital images of every page of every index. Although the project took several months to complete, we still ended up with a full digital copy of all grantor and grantee indexes.
The next challenge was deciding how to present these scanned index images to our users in a practical way. Eventually we settled on bundling images together alphabetically in separate PDF files. This worked very well; it was just like having the actual index book in front of you. The problem was that the individual files were so big (many close to 1 GB) that we could not make them available on our website although they worked fine here in the registry where we could make them available on our network. To make the files available off-site, we offered them to users on CDs, but the full set required 16 CDs, which was an unwieldy number.
Advances in technology soon came to our assistance. Small, pocket-portable flash drives/thumb drives soon affordably grew to 16 GB capacity which is plenty to hold all of these indexes. For a year, now, we have allowed customers to bring as a 16 GB drive and we’ll copy the data to it at no charge. That service is still available to customers.
Our latest method of distributing these PDF files is still in the theoretical stage, but it’s a good time to describe it. Have you ever purchased software for download? You click through a few buttons and suddenly a new window opens and some icon-alert shows files being downloaded to your computer. We’re going to try to duplicate this method by putting our PDF index files on a server that will download the files on command. If we’re successful in setting this up, anyone with an internet connection will be able to download a full copy of the registry’s 1630 to 1975 grantor/grantee index to a home computer. In the meantime, we’ve resumed “back indexing” by using our employees to key data from older documents into the computer. We usually have 3 people per day working on the project and as of now, we’re back to 1971.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
- January 1 (Friday) - New Year's Day
- January 18 (Monday) - Martin Luther King Day
- February 15 (Monday) - Presidents' Day
- April 19 (Monday) - Patriots' Day
- May 31 (Monday) - Memorial Day
- July 5 (Monday) - Independence Day
- September 6 (Monday) - Labor Day
- October 11 (Monday) - Columbus Day
- November 11 (Thursday) - Veterans Day
- November 25 (Thursday) - Thanksgiving Day
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
In response to National Lumber, the Massachusetts Registers of Deeds Association filed a bill in the state legislature to clarify the point at which a document is deemed to be recorded. The registers’ bill (Senate 1861) states “No deed or instrument shall be considered to have been received by the Register or left for record until said deed or instrument has been approved for recording by the register and an instrument number or document number or book and page has been assigned to said deed or instrument.”
The Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts (REBA) filed its own version of this bill (House 3773) which states as follows:
Section 14. Each register shall keep a record, in book or electronic form, into
which the register shall enter recording information for all instruments
accepted for record, in the order in which they are received. Prior to accepting
an instrument for record, the register shall approve the instrument by
determining that it meets minimum statutory recording requirements. Rejected
instruments shall be promptly returned. Upon acceptance of an instrument, the
following information shall be entered into the record: the day, hour and minute
when the register assigns an instrument number, and/or book and page number as
the case may be; the instrument number and/or book and page number so assigned;
the names of the grantors and grantees in the instrument; the city or town in
which the land lies; the name of the person to whom the original instrument will
be returned after being recorded, and the fees received therefor.
No instrument shall be considered to have been recorded, until the
register approves the instrument for recording and assigns to the instrument an
instrument number, and/or book and
page number as the case may be. In order
to provide for the orderly recording of instruments that are delivered or
otherwise transmitted to a registry district, including by mail or electronic
means, the secretary of the commonwealth may, by rule, regulation or guideline,
establish a uniform practice for determining the order of receipt by the
The record maintained by the register shall be open to
public inspection during registry business hours. Any change or correction to
said record shall be documented in such a manner that the fact that there has
been a correction, and the nature and date of the correction, shall become part
of the record.
Today in Worcester representatives of REBA met with many of the registers of deeds in an effort to reconcile the two versions of the bill. After much informative debate, the parties agreed to each create a small sub-committee to continue the discussions.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Here are some reader's comments posted at the end of the article.
WARNING: Contents may be hazardous to your mental health!
Comment 1:Moss looks done, he doesn't want to play anymore. Wouldn't have even known he was in the game. But then again, the ball has to be thrown SOMEWHERE near him. LOL!
Comment 2: I think this season was a reality check for Bill Belichick he seems to be of the view that its all about his "schemes" and all he needs is a few pawns plus Brady .....earth to Bill you also need bishops.
Comment 3: This year's edition of the Pats was missing something all year and anyone who has followed this team long enough could see it as well...
Comment 4:I do not wanna hear "IF WELKER PLAYED" then it would be different....that is complete bull. The Ravens had their number 2 and 3 best CB's on the IR...just admit the ravens are better...
Comment 5: The difference between this year and the previous years is that Belichick's cheating couldn't help them anymore! The Patriots soared in the era of the helmet headphone and Belichick's deliberate cheating. Once that ended, so did the Patriots...
Comment 6: The proof that Brady is a system QB is becoming very apparent. He is a product of the "team" if the team collapses, so does he. Matt Cassel is proof of this. He stepped into the system last year after not starting a football game since high school and was able to put up very good numbers( 4000 yards passing), and almost got the Pats in the playoffs.
And this final comment that will hopefully make you feel better...
Tom Brady coming off a full year of not playing, wins the AFC East, has his second best year statistically and wins the comeback player of the year award. This is all without Bruschi, Vrabel, Seymour, Harrison and the last game without Welker. They have a nice young team with some very talented players. They have great picks in the upcoming draft. I see a team in rebuilding, with a great foundation. Most teams drop to the bottom of the Division while rebuilding. I look at this as a great season and I only see the Patriots getting better from this point forward.
Friday, January 08, 2010
Understanding this is particularly important when it comes to addresses. When I do an address search, I never use ST or AVE or STREET or AVENUE in the search - just the name of the street. And the street number is tricky, as well, because many properties, particularly multifamily homes, have several street numbers. Thus, a three-family home might be known as 15 SOUTH ST or 15-17 SOUTH ST or 15-19 SOUTH ST. Searching for “15” would not return either “15-17” or “15-19”. In such cases, you should just search by the street name and then scroll through the results looking for ones that might be your property.
The most troubling stories involve people doing pre-recording rundowns by property owner name, but restricting the search by a specific town. Let’s say you’re doing a rundown for a house in Lowell owned by James Jones. If you enter JONES and JAMES and LOWELL in the applicable fields, you will receive any records that contain those three words. The problem is that most liens - Federal and State tax liens and all attachments - encumber all of the debtor’s property, not just a specific parcel. Consequently, in the Town field of our index, the registry enters NONE. In the above example, by limiting the search to records that contain LOWELL in the town field, the searcher has excluded any liens or other documents indexed with NONE in the town field.
In closing, the logic of our computer search is quite simple: it looks for exactly what you enter in your query plus everything that begins with what you enter in your query. If you make your query too narrow, you risk excluding something that might be important to you.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
TOWN – 2008 – 2009
Billerica – 10 – 4
Carlisle – 17 – 17
Chelmsford – 5 – 5
Dracut – 2 – 0
Dunstable – 0 – 0
Lowell – 13 – 7
Tewksbury – 9 – 8
Tyngsborough – 1 – 0
Westford – 12 – 3
Wilmington – 4 – 2
The five biggest sales money-wise were
- $23 million for the Lowe’s property in Lowell (it was transferred from one entity to another)
- $16 million for 2000 Emerald Court in Tewksbury (Tewksbury Assisted Living to NTAL Property LLC)
- $15 million for the Doubletree Hotel in Lowell to UML as the Inn & Conference Center
- $10 million in Tewksbury for 100-200 Ames Pond Drive (to Ames Pond Drive LLC)
- $9 million in Wilmington for 234 Ballardvale St (between entities with names like RREEF America REIT)
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Entrance where new elevator will be located
A hole will be cut in this wall
This door will be removed for access to a hallway
The Accessible Ramp will continue down this hallway
Next...Ramp continues through this doorway
Ramp enters the Registry of Deeds here.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
The reason we have instrument numbers in the first place is because all of the recording systems prior to our present one (which was installed in 2002) did not assign a book and page number to a newly recorded document until well after the customer’s role in the transaction was complete. In pre-computer times there was much shuffling of documents to reach the maximum number of pages that were placed in each book, so the book and page number was assigned long after the actual recording took place. Our current computer system assigns the book and page number and the instrument number simultaneously, so we could conceivably dispense with the instrument number. However, we keep it for several reasons. Many systems that have long been in place and continue to have utility require the instrument number. By keeping it, we ensure a type of backwards compatibility. Also, people often make mistakes when copying a book and page number so the instrument number gives us a second means of identifying a document which is useful when a mistake occurs with the book and page system.
Monday, January 04, 2010
As we begin 2010 here are the numbers (user percentages) in the browser battles:
Internet Explorer - 62.6%
FireFox - 24.6%
Chrome - 4.6%
Safari - 4.4%
Other - 3.6%