Friday, August 17, 2007

Safeguards for the Paperless Registry of Deeds

Dick Howe of the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell wrote about the safeguards being put in place as the real estate records are transitioning to from book-based to paperless: Paperless Safeguards.

His objective is to make "every single documents of any relevance in the possession of the registry to be fully available electronically." In the current market of cheap electronic storage and hard drives, he could "easily load the entire electronic contents of the registry into [a] backpack and still have room for a notebook computer."

It sounds like he is getting some pushback from examiners about the conversion. Rightfully, their first concern should be about the sanctity of the public record. People and businesses invest billions of dollars into real estate and rely on the registry to confirm who owns the real estate and any limitation on the rights to the real estate.

My guess is that examiners are also concerned about the jobs. By making records more accessible and easier to search, it becomes less important to have a good examiner working in the registry.

"If some of the energy now being expended on trying to retain a 19th century, paper based way of doing things was diverted to developing imaginative ways of using our electronic records, the business of title examination would become both more efficient and more precise, but that’s just my opinion."

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