Electronic Recording Reaches Milestone

Alamance County, N.C., the most recent addition to the national list of jurisdictions now providing electronic recording of land records and mortgage loans has brought the total number of e-recording counties to 1,000.

County officials made the announcement in Minneapolis during the Property Records Industry Association 2013 Annual Conference.

“We have witnessed a significant boost in the number of e-recording jurisdictions” in 2013, said David Ewan, underwriting counsel for Westcor Land Title Insurance Co., and president of PRIA, which sets, promotes and monitors how e-recording standards are adopted across the country.

Reaching 1,000 is considered a milestone in PRIA’s efforts to convince more counties to digitize their land records, data examination, fee calculation and payment, recording information endorsement and return of recorded electronic documents to the submitter.

Between June 2012 and August 2013, the number of counties committing to e-recording increased by more than 25%, said PRIA technology committee co-chair, Larry Burtness, who is a recorder for Washoe County in Nevada. “As the PRIA e-recording standards continue to mature, the number of counties leveraging this technology continues to expand.”

PRIA officials have reservations about their statistics. According to Chris Walker, a clerk in Jackson County, Ore., who serves as co-chair of PRIA’s excellence work group, the actual number of e-recording counties should be higher than PRIA’s published list because it is “limited to those counties that have been accurately verified.”

Potential data gaps do not change the fact that the conversion has been slow. It took from the late 1990s until August 2006 to bring the number of e-recording counties to the 200 mark, Burtness said, but expectations are to see an additional 200 counties agree to electronically record land documents by the end of 2013 and bring the total up to roughly 1,200, “which equates to one-third of all recording jurisdictions in the country.”