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Source of Title Blog

by Robert Franco | 2007/02/07 |

shortcut noun - a quicker way between two places

In a recent post, The Abstracting Community Is Not Without Blame, I expounded on a post by Ed Rybczynski on his Title-Opoly blog. Along those same lines, I believe that one of the biggest problems abstractors face is other abstractors; mainly the ones that give us all a bad reputation.

I'm sure we have all seen them, and if you haven't you may be one of them. I am referring to the abstractors that take shortcuts. They only do "part" of the job, and they do it for much less than those of us who still provide a thorough title search. Thanks, in part, to them, the industry now thinks is can automate the title search and still get the same quality.

I have seen "other" abstractors check the computer and run the grantee index to get their chain of title and call it a full-search. But, they never open the grantor index to check for easements. They never pull the lease and miscellaneous index to check for leases, joint-driveway agreements, etc.

Furthermore, since some of the counties have installed computer terminals in the recorders' offices to check the clerk of courts' records, these same abstractors never go to the clerk of courts' office to check the book index. This is still important in many cases becuase the computer records only go back seven or eight years and state tax liens are good for 12 years.

It is very difficult for a professional abstractor to compete with the prices and turn-around times of these "other" abstractors. After all, if we all took shortcuts like these we could do more work, get it done faster, and charge less. However, if that is all we do, it would be simple for a computer to take over and it probably will.

You really have to wonder, is it really a shortcut if it takes you to a "different" place? Abstractors that fail to do a thorough search are not providing the same service to their clients - no matter what the call their search. Unfortunately, there is no way for the clients to know if their abstractor didn't show an encumbrance because it wasn't there, or if they simply took a shortcut and didn't look for it.

Not to harp on the same old point, but what we need are higher standards for abstractors, licensing to ensure that those standards are maintained, and a little unity wouldn't hurt either. Abstractors need to join together to promote themselves as skilled professionals that provide more than a cursory deed and mortgage search. The industry needs to know that there are still abstractors out there that care about the quality of work they produce; and, I think it needs to be done before they are out numbered by the "other" abstractors.

Robert A. Franco

Source of Title Blog ::


Categories: Abstractors, Ohio Legislation, Title Standards

675 words | 2736 views | 2 comments | log in or register to post a comment

I could be wrong, but the short cut...
I could be wrong, but the short cut folks are usually the inexperienced? I don't like to use an abstractor who has less than 10 years experience. Anyone with less, I still consider an apprentice. Am I wrong?  
by Diane Cipa, General Manager, The Closing Specialists® | 2007/02/07 | log in or register to post a reply

I don't think you are wrong, but I'...
I don't think you are wrong, but I'm not sure how much longer you will be able to depend on that method of evaluation. Remember - those inexperienced abstractors are somehow managing to last and they never seem to learn to do things the right way. I have already seen some who have been in the business for more than 5 years taking these kinds of shortcuts.

I used to think that their clients would realize sooner or later that they were playing Russian roulette with their title searches and find someone else. But, if they keep getting the work back on time and cheaper than other sources it doesn't seem to matter. Shame on those clients.

Also, I don't think that everyone who has been searching for less than 10 years falls into that category of "inexperienced." I have known several abstractors who are very skilled and reliable who have mush less experience. I think it comes down to your training and willingness to learn.

As more time passes it will get even tougher to distinguish the professional abstractors from the "others."
by Robert Franco | 2007/02/07 | 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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