Have you ever considered the significance of preserving your family’s most coveted possession – your home!
The critical importance of these public records was painfully apparent following Hurricane Katrina. Literally, thousands of residents of Louisiana saw their homes demolished with not a stick of furniture or a family picture to indicate that a home stood on a particular parcel.
So, how do you prove that a muddy plot of land belongs to you and your family? The public record filed in your county’s (or recording jurisdiction’s) office. Without this essential, legal document, you have lost your most important asset.
Why is this important? Land records have historical value but equally as important is their economic value to the property’s owner. Property ownership is the foundation of wealth in our country and, in terms of capital, is what makes both Wall Street and Main Street prosper.
The Recorder's Office
Recorders are the gatekeepers for the public records in their jurisdiction. They are responsible for maintaining and preserving all records in perpetuity. Many recording jurisdictions in the country have records dating back, literally, hundreds of years.
As a citizen, when you need a copy of a publically recorded transaction, the recorder is obligated to provide it, sometimes at a small fee, other times at no charge.
A Recorder’s duty to the general public served:
- Provide a permanent record of the public’s important documents relating to the ownership of their homes
- Maintain complete, accurate index to locate recorded documents affecting properties in their jurisdictions
- Maintain public accessibility to land records going back over 200 years in some counties
- Ensure the public land records remain public, while protecting the records and the integrity of the records through advanced technology and practical policies
A Recorder’s duty to the business stakeholders served:
- Provide a one-stop shop to search for real estate recordings
- Improve technological efficiencies, including eRecording, redaction of personally identifiable information (where applicable), both web access and bulk access to data
- Preserve recording consistencies within states and between states via eRecording
- Share information between county departments to improve service to the citizenry
- Index documents for ease in conducting a title search for home ownership
The Digital Office
Although the manual recording of documents in mammoth, gilt-embossed bound books is not entirely obsolete, the land records industry is thinking futuristically about the recordation and preservation of records. Approximately 25 percent of recording jurisdictions are now eRecording deeds and this service is available to over 58 percent of U.S. population.
The Recorder’s Office now makes documents accessible via online remote access, digitizes records for perpetuity and records a mortgage closing in seconds, rather than the days required by a manual system.
For more information about these digital processes, visit the website of the Property Records Industry Association.
Did you know that there are more than 3,600 recording jurisdictions in the United States? And that each of those jurisdictions has a Recorder, sometimes called Register or Clerk, who is responsible for the recordation of property records for that jurisdiction. Some of these jurisdictions also record marriage and vital statistics records, as well, but all 3,600 jurisdictions are the gatekeepers for the protection and preservation of land records.
Learn more about how our system evolved to the current system that tracks and produces documentation that proves ownership and, therefore, provides homeowners with the securitization to secure additional capital.
A History of Land Records - Darity Wesley, Lotus Law Center
There is a mystique about the Recorder’s office. What does the Recorder do? Why do we need a Recorder? When would I need a County Recorder? Documents – what documents? Preservation – why?
It’s time to dispel the myths and let the public know exactly what the Recorder’s office does and why it’s important.
To access additional tools for customizing and distribution at the local level, click here.