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Best Practices

Tips to Help Documentation of Recording Procedures

September 12, 2013

Adopting appropriate policies and conducting ongoing employee training can ensure that a real estate settlement company can meet state, federal and contractual obligations governing the settlement process and provide a safe and compliant settlement.

Jerry Lewallen, president of eRecording Partners Network, said it’s important for title professionals to document the recording process and designate someone who is responsible for recording documents. Implementing a tracking mechanism is helpful in providing a record of what documents were sent, when they were sent and method of delivery.

The use of electronic recording can aid in the implementation and documentation of procedures. Currently, nearly 900 jurisdictions in the United States accept e-recording. A list of jurisdictions accepting e-recording can be found on the Property Records Industry Association website:

According to Jim Degaetano, national sales director for Ingeo Systems, there are five main steps to e-recording. The first step is when the document submitter prepares a document for submission to the county recorder’s office or other appropriate agency. In order to be recorded, documents must comply with the standardized formatting requirements. The standards that apply to documents hand carried or mailed to the county recorder also apply to documents transmitted via e-recording. The document is scanned and converted into an electronic image, such as a JPEG or TIFF file. The submitter reviews the image for accuracy and then sends it to the e-record site via the Internet.

Second, e-recording providers receive the document into their system. Each provider has a system for the submitter to load the documents. This process usually includes a secure login, selection of appropriate county of recording, entering a reference value (file number), selection of a document type (warranty deed, mortgage, etc.), uploading of recordable document, review of document and submission to the county or other agency.

The county recorder or equivalent then accepts the document and accompanying data (such as fees), reviews the document and either accepts or rejects the document. If the document is rejected, the e-recording provider will return the document to the submitter along with the reason why. Common reasons for rejection are failure to comply with the county recording specifications such as margins, failure to affix revenue stamps, incorrect county selections and incorrect fees.

After the document is recorded, it is returned to the submitter. The file-marked document is made available on the provider’s website to be viewed or exported. The documents can then be saved or printed.

Last, there’s the verification step. Common methods of verification are:

  • Date and time of recording is noted in file
  • Reports are created to show files that do not include recording information
Patrick Curry, president of Arkansas-based WACO Title Co. said e-recording provides his company an easy way to track what documents were sent to each county and when.

“E-recording also provides a single point of settlement for the payment of recording fees,” he said. “If e-recording is not offered in your local county, contact the recorder’s office and ask when it will be. Since most county recorders are elected, if you current recorder is not interested, look for a candidate who is interested in the use of technology. The time for getting a document e-recorded is typically hours while the paper process can take days to weeks.”

Curry added that once a document is recorded, it is important to include that information in the order file.

“You would want to include the document number from the recording office, the date the document was recorded and the fees actually paid,” he said. “At this point you would also want to compare the fees that were collected at the closing with the fees actually charged by the county.”

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American Land Title Association
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Washington, D.C. 20036-5828
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