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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.

Source of Title Blog ::

Fidlar was kind enough to extend an invitation to not only me, but also Wanda Steudel, President of NALTEA, and Jill Kissell, Vice President of NALTEA, to take part in a fireside chat to present the perspective of the independent abstractors to the county recorders.  The conference was mainly held at Fidlar's offices in Davenport, Iowa.  They have a beautiful office building and it was a terrific venue for the event. 

I believe that there were about 200 recorders, clerks, and others in attendance.  It was a great pleasure to meet them - they were all very nice and genuinely concerned about what abstractors and title companies do. 

All abstractors should know that they were well represented by Wanda and Jill, who explained what abstractors do and some of the challenges they face. Some of the topics included the off-shoring of the public records, online searching, electronic filing, etc.  But it was more than that - we spoke about how a search is prepared, what other offices abstractors rely on, and how technology has helped and hindered the industry (particularly independent abstractors).

Our panel discussion touched on the effect that online records has had on the independent abstractors, such as a loss of some of the easier searches that can now be done remotely - or even through automated means.  Many abstractors now find that their work consists of the more difficult searches that cannot be done online or electronically.  We also pointed out that as more experienced abstractors retire, there are fewer new abstractors entering the field - and fewer seasoned searchers available to train newbies.  One of these days, it may be difficult to find someone who is able to do a "real search" - particularly some of the more complicated ones involving railroads and rivers, or commercial properties. 

We also briefly discussed a concern the entire industry should share - with more and more technology making the job easier to do remotely, what will become of the local title insurance market?  We know that more and more of the searches are done without requiring a searcher to step foot in the courthouse.  We are also seeing more counties accepting electronic filing.  Now, several states are adopting legislation allowing electronic signatures and online, remote notarization. Ohio's remote notary law will allow a document to be notarized online regardless of where in the country the parties are located (in some cases the person signing may even be located in another country). 

Once the search can be done from anywhere, the closing can be done over the Internet, and the documents can be filed electronically... will the big regional and national lenders even need a local title company?  My guess is they will consolidate all of their title and closing operations in a joint venture that they co-own.  And, if nobody needs to physically visit the recorders office anymore, will we even need a local county recorder?  Or, will we see politicians attempting to centralize real estate records in a state office - or worse, a federal land records registry?  They used to say that "all real estate is local," but I wonder if we aren't seeing that beginning to change.    

Like I said... it was enlightening.  It certainly gave me a new perspective and something to think about on the long drive home.   

Unfortunately, I had to get back and I was not able to stay for the full day on Tuesday.  But, it sounded like they had some very interesting topics planned, from funding issues and copy costs, to blockchain.  Fidlar did a great job hosting this symposium - and it was not a two-day sales pitch by Fidlar.  It was a very educational and informative conference relevant to the jobs of the county recorders.  

If any recorders get the opportunity - they should go to a future Fidlar symposium!  And, again, a big "thank you" to Fidlar for including us in the event and giving us the opportunity to address the audience.  


Robert A. Franco



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

1083 words | 4179 views | 1 comments | log in or register to post a comment

Indexing by Parcel ID's

Appreciate the update Robert. I am curious if there was any discussion of GIS and Parcel IDs. I was recently asked to do some expert witness work, and found a county who was in process of switching to a Vendor who indexes by Parcel IDs. No traditional Grantor/Grantee, no traditional reception book, and no traditional tract index. 

The recorder's office appears to have been highly influenced by their GIS team, as they use "smart numbers" i.e. section, twp, rge, 1/4 1/4.  But the PID numbers were in error (in some cases multiple PIDs came up, in other cases, the Parcel No. was in the wrong 1/4 1/4. They also used random "batch" numbers where they randomly used the same number with 15-30 decimal points after the number.  So a simple Doc. No. 23456  became 23456.023. Very confusing.

The recorder appears to have no understanding of how records are used by abstractors. And the GIS department is happy to be able to "click on a parcel on a map" to give information. Unfortunately, when there is a gap or overlap, the GIS personnel adjust the lines on the map to make the map nice and neat. Not so "neat" for title abstractors.  

What should have taken a few hours to run the chain of title, took a week. I'm wondering if others have run across Vendors or Counties using PID indices?

by Jeanine Johnson | 2021/03/08 | log in or register to post a reply
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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