As 2005 draws to a close, it’s time for us to review this year’s Top Ten registry events:
10. The procedures at our recording counter were revised, putting more of the responsibility for pre-recording quality control of documents on the customer through the use of a document checklist.
9. Concerns about identity theft and the security of sensitive personal information led the Registers of Deeds Association to establish a prohibition on the recording of documents that contain social security numbers. Thus far, this limitation does not apply to state and federal tax liens and releases.
8. Google Earth, Google Maps and other GIS applications became commonplace and irreplaceable as parts of everyday life. They offered a glimpse of the type of mapping/data integration that will become a core mission for registries of deeds during the next few years.
7. We established a type of free advertising section called “Our Customers” on our website. Real estate professionals with websites can request a short description of their businesses and links to their websites from a designated portion of www.lowelldeeds.com.
6. The total number of recorded land documents processed this year was slightly less than 88,000, a slight decrease from 2004 but further evidence that a slowdown in the real estate market is upon us.
5. The Registers of Deeds Association published a major revision to the Deed Indexing Standards of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to become effective January 1, 2006.
4. Besides turning two years old, the LowellDeeds Blog received an entirely new appearance in December that provides more functionality and permits greater reader involvement.
3. In the National Lumber case, the Massachusetts Appeals Court issued a decision of great significance to registries of deeds. While the Court did, in fact, literally interpret the registry of deeds statute (chapter 36), the interpretation was greatly at odds with the established and accepted practice. Many of the consequences of this case will not become fully apparent until well into 2005.
2. The Middlesex North Registry has devised a method of presenting pre-computer Grantor Indexes to the public as PDF documents on a multi-volume set of CDs. During the first quarter of 2006, all Grantor Indexes back into the 19th Century will be available in this format.
1. Electronic Recording became a daily event during 2005 with nearly 1,000 documents recorded in this manner. There are many details that must still be resolved, but the technology has proven to be useful and reliable.Happy New Year, everyone!