It wasn't long ago that the records of real property title could
be found in a collection of huge, thousand page books residing
in the office of the county recorder. Now those same records are
all electronically stored in a computer database.
Before computers recording a change of title meant tedious paper
handling by both title insurance companies and county recorder
employees. Not any more.
With the advance in technology, more and more companies are
recording documents electronically. It works like this:
1. The recording department of the title company electronically
scans the documents that must be recorded. 2. Then the documents
are sent electronically to the county recorder's office...
either by way of a private line or the Internet. 3. The county
recorder receives a notification that the title company has sent
documents electronically. 4. A county recorder clerk opens the
electronic file, reviews the documents to be sure they are in
the proper form. When the submission for recording is approved
an email is sent to the title company with the instrument
number, escrow number, date and time of recording. 5. After
receiving that email the title company can inform all parties to
the transaction that the sale has "closed".
Those documents are now a matter of public record. When a
document is recorded it gives "constructive" notice to the world
that a certain act has occurred. Any one with a claim or
interest in the indicated real property will now be bound by the
action represented by the recorded document. It can only be
challenged by legal action.
The public can easily access the records in the database by the
computer terminals located in the offices of the county
recorder. In many counties those records are now available to
everyone through the internet. In those counties you can view
the records from your office or home computer. For a fee the
recorder will print a copy of any recorded document.
In a real estate transaction the deed is recorded, but it is
rare that any of the other documents related to the transaction
will be placed in the public record.
Computers have truly opened public records to the public. At
least to those members of the public who will apply the few
minutes needed to learn how easy it is to review the records.