The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell
Yesterday I journeyed to Concord, New Hampshire to visit the Merrimack County Registry of Deeds, the one office in our neighbor to the north that has been doing electronic recording. Kathi Guay, the Register of Deeds, was kind enough to show me around the registry, to arrange for an electronic recording to arrive while I was there, and to discuss some of the “big picture” issues that I’ve been struggling with. Perhaps the most prominent of those issues right now is what I call the “recording gap,” that is, the time between a remote customer does a final rundown on the registry website and presses the “send to register” button and the time at which the registry actually records the document. That time is certainly not excessive. It’s often only a few minutes. But how do we address those few documents that might get on record during those few minutes? In New Hampshire, they give incoming electronic recordings top priority. If you are a walk-in customer with a document and the clerk has already commenced recording your document, when an electronically submitted document arrives, everything stops until the electronic recording is processed. The objective is to promote greater use of electronic recording by making that “gap” as narrow as possible. While I don’t think I’ll adopt that system completely, I do think a modified version of it is how we should operate. I envision us having a separate terminal for processing electronic recordings. When one arrives, an employee immediately begins processing it at that terminal, regardless of how many customers are waiting in line. Other clerks will continue to take those customers at the regular recording terminals, it’s just that electronic recordings will potentially jump in front of them. That’s a reasonable concession because the walk-in customer continues to have the benefit of the existing “look back” feature and can abort a recording right up until the registry clerk presses the “record” button. And that’s exactly how it works with documents received by mail and courier right now. More on this topic to come . . .
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