The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell
The “paperless registry” applies to the recording process as well as the use of our records for research. With electronic recording, the registry never even sees a paper document. Instead, the customer transmits an image of the original document plus associated data to the registry via a secure internet connection. This electronic package arrives at our recording terminals with an announcement that an electronic recording is ready to be processed. We open the package, review it for accuracy and, if all is in order, record it – both the data and the document image – with a single click on the computer screen. Recording fees and documentary stamps are paid by bank transfer from the customer to the registry, so checks, cash and the need to deposit them become a thing of the past. No one expects 100% of our recordings to be electronic, however, but recordings done the traditional way – by physically bringing a paper document to the registry – have in a sense become “paperless” as well. Over the past five months we have gradually transitioned to a scan and return process at our recording counter. This means that scanning the document becomes part of the initial recording process which allows us to return the actual document complete with affixed recording information to the customer along with his receipt. There’s no denying that this process does increase the difficulty of correcting a scanning error. Under our prior system where we retained the original document for weeks, we could easily rescan a document if we subsequently discovered that a page was missing, for example. When you give back the document right away, you can still rescan the document at a later time only you would have to retrieve it from the customer first. But the increased efficiency of this system, both for us and our customers, require us to fully move to this approach. With our low volume of recordings these days, this is the perfect time to implement this strategy and to discover safeguards and procedures that minimize if not fully eliminate the risk of scanning errors.
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