The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell
We’ve written extensively about the gap that exists in electronic recording between the customer’s final, pre-transmission rundown on our website and the moment at which the electronically transmitted document gets recorded. We’ve also explained that with our current configuration of multiple recording stations, that gap also exists for walk in customers. In theory, at least, we have figured out a way to eliminate this gap although the technology that will allow us to implement the theory may be a year or more in the future. Simply put, I see the registry’s recording counter becoming a two-stage process. At the first set of terminals, walk-in customers would present their documents to registry employees who would index and scan the documents much as we do right now. But rather than go on to the cashiering/on-record stage, that particular “set” of documents would flow into an electronic queue where it would be chronologically integrated with incoming electronically transmitted “sets.” The contents of this queue – the exact indexing data and perhaps even the images – would be available to everyone for examination. Those recording remotely would use their internet browsers; those at the registry might examine the queue using a large screen monitor mounted in public areas much like arrival and departure information is displayed at the airport. When a “set” reached the front of the queue, the customer who submitted it would be called to the second part of the recording counter where the fee would be paid and instrument numbers assigned. At any time up until that point, the customer – either a walk-in or a remote user – could cancel the transaction if something of concern showed up in the queue in front of his “set.” Of course, once a “set” was in the queue, the order of recording would be set and nothing that wasn’t already in front of it could “cut the line.” In some ways, it’s a throw back to the days of asking to see the documents being held by the folks in front of you in the recording line, a practice that fell out of use a decade ago. Again, this is just a theory right now, but I suspect the technology that will allow us to operate this way is not too far behind.
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