Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

August 21, 2009

Do-it-yourself deeds

by @ 10:56 am. Filed under Archived, Real Estate

August is a popular month for vacations here at the registry, so I usually spend more time than usual working at our Customer Service Counter which gives me a valuable opportunity to assist customers who call or visit the registry of deeds. Those in the real estate related professions typically have straight forward questions, but members of the public often have more complex inquiries.

This summer, many of these calls are requests to “take a name off of a deed” or make some other change to the ownership of property. These calls make it clear that much of the public is under the impression that we here at the registry maintain some kind of master list of who owns what property and that we either cross out or write in names as ownership circumstances change. In response to these questions, we try to provide a simple explanation of the role played by deeds in land ownership. We then explain that to change ownership, a new deed must be created. That leads to the inevitable question, “can I do that myself?” That’s a tough question to answer. Technically, the answer is yes, but we emphasize that real estate law is complex and that one or two words in a deed could completely change the meaning of the document. Because the asset involved - a home, typically - is worth so much money, it’s reckless for anyone to put it at risk by trying their hand at deed drafting to save the cost of hiring a lawyer to do it. Some people see the wisdom of that approach and call an attorney. Others insist that they can’t afford an attorney and will have to do it themselves. At that point, all we can do is suggest they visit a law library for further assistance.

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