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Source of Title Blog : Public Officials

Thank you, Fidlar Technologies!
by Robert Franco | 2019/05/26

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a two-day educational symposium hosted by Fidlar Technologies, for the county recorders who use Fidlar's technology.  In fact, it was their 12th annual symposium; the theme was "You are Still the Source."  The focus of the keynote presentation was on demonstrating how the county recorders' information is used by the real estate industry, and others.  It was a great event - educational and enlightening.

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Categories: Abstractors, Public Officials, Public Records, Technology, Title Industry

Source of Title Blog :: 1 comments ::

Is a Conveyance Fee Due on the Conveyance of an Easement in Ohio?
by Robert Franco | 2013/05/24

When a deed is recorded in Ohio, the Auditor's office normally charges a conveyance fee of $4.00 per thousand of the value of the property conveyed.  I was recently told that at least one Ohio County has been charging the conveyance fee at the time easements are recorded.  This has not been the normal practice, to the best of my knowledge, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is not proper.  So, is the conveyance of an easement subject to the conveyance fee?

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Categories: Abstractors, Ohio Legislation, Public Officials, Title Industry

Source of Title Blog :: 0 comments ::

We Need New Policies or Laws for Computer Indexing
by Robert Franco | 2012/08/14

I had the pleasure of attending the Ohio Association of Independent Title Agent's conference yesterday.  The OAITA is a great organization and they provided some excellent discussion at this year's conference.  One particular speaker gave me an opportunity to ask a question that has been on my mind for quite some time; the speaker was Rick Campbell, President of the Ohio Recorders Association and Stark County Recorder.  I asked him if there was a state-wide policy of noting in the index when corrections were made.

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Categories: Abstractors, Ohio Legislation, Opportunities, Public Officials, Public Records

Source of Title Blog :: 1 comments ::

Confidential Information Presents Challenges for Searching Titles
by Robert Franco | 2009/12/29

Recently, I have had numerous problems searching titles because relevant information has been removed from probate files pursuant to Ohio law which makes it "confidential."  While I can certainly understand the need to protect individuals privacy, this creates a real problem for title professionals, and potentially homeowners.  If omitted confidential information could result in a lien on someone's home, there is a real hazard waiting for a title searcher.

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Categories: Abstractors, Ohio Legislation, Public Officials, Public Records, Title Problems

Source of Title Blog :: 2 comments ::

I'm Out Of The Office For One Day And Someone Steals The Empire State Building
by Robert Franco | 2008/12/03

Thank you to Robert Breakell and George Booth for posting the link to the story in the forums.  It really should be no surprise, but it is probably the biggest hoax in the city since George C. Parker sold the Brooklyn Bridge in the 19th century.  Parker allegedly sold the bridge twice a week for years. 

Apparently, in an effort to demonstrate how easy it is to file a fraudulent deed, the Daily News forged the documents necessary to "swipe the Empire State Building."  It only took them about 90 minutes to steal the New York landmark.  Unfortunately, they have just educated many crooks that will likely encourage more deed fraud.  And, the "loophole" they cite as the flaw that made it possible, shows a real lack of understanding of the way our industry works.

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Categories: Fraudulent Transfers, Notaries Public, Public Officials, Public Records

Source of Title Blog :: 2 comments ::

How A County Turned Four Dollars Into Hundreds
by Robert Franco | 2008/09/25

We recently did a title search for a client and it revealed a state tax lien that held things up for weeks.  The lien was not released, but the client insisted that they spoke with a state official who assured them that they sent a release of the lien to the county.  We checked again - still no release of record.  The client, again, spoke with the state office that filed the lien and was told that it was released.  This time we scoured the courthouse.  We asked everyone that could have possibly seen it.  Finally, we found it... but it was not recorded.

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Categories: Public Officials

Source of Title Blog :: 5 comments ::

I'd Like To Buy A "P" for $150,000, Pat.
by Robert Franco | 2008/06/05

This is a classic case that demonstrates why an owner's policy of title insurance is so important.  A county clerk made a typo in the index that may cause an Ohio family to lose their home. 

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Categories: Foreclosures, Public Officials, Public Records, Title Problems

Source of Title Blog :: 8 comments ::

County Refuses Perfectly Okay Filing... Again.
by Robert Franco | 2008/01/04

In May, I wrote about a transfer on death deed that was void because it purported to only transfer an undivided one-half interest and the grantor actually held title to the entire interest (see Avoid The Use Of The Transfer On Death Deed). I mentioned that the deed was void and in a follow-up comment, I indicated that the attorney for the estate was going to have the property added as a newly discovered asset. That should have taken care of the problem, however, we still had a challenge ahead of us.

Unfortunately, the county had accepted the void transfer on death deed and transferred the property in their records. When the attorney transferred the property out of the estate, he prepared the certificate of transfer directly from the decedent to our new buyers. Because the county showed the decedent's two children in title, they would not accept the certificate of transfer.

I tried to explain to them that the transfer on death deed was void and it was as if it never happened. Thus, our new certificate of transfer was sufficient to transfer the property to the buyer. They asked me how they were supposed to know that? Further, they said, "how would the next title company know that?" I told her it was easy enough for us to figure out that the transfer was void - anyone else looking at the title should recognize that as well. Still, she insisted that she needed something that "told her that the deed was void." Apparently the Ohio Revised Code was not enough.

Ohio Revised Code section 5302.22 (B) states in part:
Any person who, under the Revised Code or the common law of this state, owns real property or any interest in real property as a sole owner or as a tenant in common may create an interest in the real property transferable on death by executing and recording a deed as provided in this section conveying the person's entire, separate interest in the real property to one or more individuals, including the grantor, and designating one or more other persons, identified in the deed by name, as transfer on death beneficiaries.

Our deed and mortgage were not able to be filed until we obtained quit-claim deeds from the decedent's children to the new buyer. Of course, the quit-claim deeds had no legal effect - they only served to appease the county officials. We got it done, but it delayed our filing by a couple of weeks because the grantors lived in different states.

My question is, shouldn't the county officials know enough about the transfer of real property to understand that title isn't necessarily vested as they show in their records? I can understand them not recognizing the first deed was void when they accepted it. However, once the problem is explained and documents are present to correct it, shouldn't they accept them for recording? Holding up the recording of perfectly valid documents to satisfy their own desire to obtain ineffectual deeds that make their records "look nice" could have disastrous consequences if an intervening lien cropped up.

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Categories: Abstractors, Foreclosures, Public Officials, Title Problems

Source of Title Blog :: 7 comments ::

One Of Our Own
by Robert Franco | 2007/04/12

David Jenkins 2007

David Jenkins has recently announced on the Source of Title forums that he is running for Chester County Recorder of Deeds in Chester County, Pennsylvania. You can visit his campaign site at www.jenkins2007.com. David has been registered with Source of Title since July 2003, so he is aware of the plight of the abstractors. It is rare that our elected officials have such an understanding of what the abstractors actually do and how they utilize, and depend on, the county records maintained by the county offices.

The upcoming election is for an open position. The current Recorder of Deeds, Terrence Farrell, is running for county commissioner. David is one of three candidates vying to be the next Chester County Recorder of Deeds, and one of two Republicans in the primary election.

David has the experience necessary to be a real asset to the office and the abstractors who work there. David is a former Deputy Recorder of Deeds and he is a real estate attorney. He has over 20 years of experience working in the Chester County real estate industry. Furthermore, he has a background in information technology to give him an understanding of the technology that the county offices are implementing.

Too often, we see "politicians" with very little understanding of the importance of the work conducted in the records rooms. It has been my experience that the county officials have adopted new technology placing too much trust in the vendors who sell the software. They don't fully understand how it works, nor how we search the records, and this often causes indexing problems that are near impossible to detect.

In my mind, David has the perfect qualifications for this elected position. He has experience in the office as a deputy recorder, he has a legal education and experience with real estate law, and he has the technological understanding to properly implement new technology.

According to U.S. Census data from 2000, Chester County is the seventh largest county in Pennsylvania with a population of 433,501. Often, the larger counties elect "professional politicians" who serve the minimum amount of time required in the office. That can be as little as one day per quarter. David plans on devoting his full-time attention to the position. Yet, he is quick to point out the staff has things running smoothly in the Chester County Recorder of Deeds office and he doesn't plan any sweeping changes.

In my home county, Richland County, Ohio, we had a previous recorder who came into office and impulsively adopted an obscure new indexing system. It was a nightmare; we were running with two different computer systems. When our current recorder was elected, she rightly adopted a better system. Unfortunately, for a time, we had to deal with three computer systems. David understands the burden that places on those who rely on the county records. His information technology background will help him implement well-thought out changes if and when they are necessary.

Having more knowledgeable county officials in office should be a priority for the title industry. Our work is so dependent on the county records that it is imperative that we have strong county officials who will protect the integrity of the public records. We need to have county officials that understand how the records are used by abstractors, and, are capable of maintaining those records in the most orderly manner possible.

If you are a voter in Chester County, Pennsylvania, visit David's campaign site at www.jenkins2007.com. And, don't forget to vote in the primary on May 15, 2007. It is not often enough that we get the opportunity to elect one of our own to the positions where they can really make a difference.

Robert A. Franco

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Categories: Abstractors, Public Officials

Source of Title Blog :: 0 comments ::

Source of Title Blog

Robert A. FrancoThe focus of this blog will be on sharing my thoughts and concerns related to the small title agents and abstractors. The industry has changed dramatically over the past ten years and I believe that we are just seeing the beginning. As the evolution continues, what will become of the many small independent title professionals who have long been the cornerstone of the industry?

Robert A. Franco



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