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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   December 2009

Ask About eRecordings

Digital document recording could have advantages for your title company and you

Document recording is an essential aspect of real estate. But clients can overlook its importance.

New technologies are in place to make sure that this process is more streamlined and safer for brokers and the title companies they use.

If you are not sure if your title company uses electronic document recording, or eRecording, it's high time you asked.

Traditionally, companies involved in real estate transactions would need to send original hard copies of all documents to the local county recorder's office to be recorded. The documents were processed, sent and then stored in file cabinets.

Although title companies can be efficient at this practice, eRecordings offer other benefits. Here's how they work: Your title company scans documents and e-mails the document package. The eRecording company processes the document and sends it to the county for recording.

Once the county has accepted the document and recorded it -- and not all counties accept eRecordings -- parties are notified via e-mail.

Why should you care if a title company uses eRecordings? Because your business relies heavily on referrals, and customer service is critical to maintaining your client relationships. ERecording services can accelerate document workflow, reduce courier expenses and increase efficiency for your loans -- which allows brokers to provide better customer service for borrower clients.

ERecordings also can provide some security for brokers. For one, title companies aren't relying on a courier to get documents to the county. The originals also never leave the office, so there are fewer instances of documents being lost or misplaced en route. Security software also can protect against tampered or stolen data.

Imagine you have a deal closing today in escrow. Your clients have just finished signing, and documents are on the way to being recorded with the county. The hard work on your part should be done.

County recorder's offices have deadlines for same-day document arrival and recording, however. A courier delay or an escrow signing running late could affect the recording date and closing.

ERecordings are still relatively new nationwide, but they are expanding and gaining acceptance rapidly. Although eRecordings' benefits are evident, they do have room for growth.

The technology available for eRecordings is still in its infancy, though new elements are entering the picture. Electronic signatures, for example, could get rid of paper documents altogether. Theoretically, your clients could sign their documents from their own home. Imagine if you could create a set of entirely paperless loan documents. The file could be closed and funded with a digital paper trail, rather than a losable file folder.

At the moment, clients often still must sign hard copies in some instances, such as on the deed of trust. Some lenders are accepting electronic signatures for certain documents that require client acknowledgement only. The ceiling for this industry is high, and it will be exciting to see how everything unfolds in the near future.

As mentioned earlier, not all counties accept eRecordings. Different states and counties have different implementation processes, depending on local rules. With the current state of the economy, however, government offices are increasingly likely to embrace any program that can cut costs while streamlining production.

Look for counties that don't accept eRecordings to jump on the bandwagon once they see the cost benefits of doing so. It won't be long before traditional and stressful recording methods -- and mountains of paper -- become obsolete.


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