The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell
At the end of each year, we search back through the previous twelve months and try to identify the ten most important events at the registry. Here’s what I came up with:
1. The Paperless Registry – On April 1, 2008, we closed off the Lower Record Hall to public access and thereby made all record books and indexes available only on our computer system.
2. Recession – The staggering economy continued to drag down home values while the number of foreclosure deeds filed in 2008 exceeded those filed in 2007 by 37%.
3. Budget Cuts – Lower than anticipated tax revenue resulted in mid-fiscal year cuts to the registry budget, greatly restricting our ability to add enhancements to our computer system.
4. Registry Scanning Center – The closing of the Lower Record Hall to public access allowed us to transform that area into a scanning center that locates our scanning equipment adjacent to the older record books that need to be cut apart and scanned to replace the existing electronic images that were derived from microfilm.
5. Expansion of Electronic Recording – The registries of deeds in Plymouth and Springfield commenced electronic recording, bringing to three the number of registries utilizing e-recording technology.
6. Middlesex North Satellite Office – With the completion of its renovated recording area, the Middlesex South Registry of Deeds activated its Middlesex North Satellite Office, allowing customers to record documents for Lowell in Cambridge.
7. Equipment Upgrades – At the end of the past fiscal year, we were able to purchase a replacement for our nine year old computer server and a new Kodak Archive Writer which allows us to produce archival microfilm directly from scanned document images.
8. Multiple Documents – After an Appeals Court decision invalidated the registry practice of charging multiple fees for documents that performed multiple functions, the state legislature amended M.G.L. c. 262, s. 38 to specifically allow the calculation of fees in that manner.
9. Judicial Center – The city of Lowell and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reached an agreement by which the Commonwealth paid the city $3.8 million for a parcel of land in the Hamilton Canal redevelopment district that will be the site of the soon to be constructed Lowell Judicial Center.
10. MERS Project – When MERS – Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., came into existence in 1998, we decided to index documents from MERS only under that name and omit the name of the underlying lender. That helped our efficiency in processing the tens of thousands of mortgages that were recorded in the interim, but left us unsure as to the identity of the lenders who made the most problematic loans. This year we’ve gone back into all mortgages from MERS and added the name of the actual lender.
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