Thursday, April 10, 2014

2014 Holiday Schedule

Someone from a local bank just emailed with a request that I send the registry's holiday schedule for the remainder of 2014.  If one person is looking for it, others might be too, so here it is:

The following are the remaining holidays in 2014 on which the registry of deeds will be closed:

April 21 – Patriots Day
May 26 – Memorial Day
July 4 – Independence Day
Sept 1 – Labor Day
Oct 13 – Columbus Day
Nov 11 – Veterans Day
Nov 27 – Thanksgiving
Dec 25 – Christmas

Please note that we will be OPEN all day on the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Updating Deed Indexing Standards

Earlier this week the Massachusetts Registers of Deeds Association met in Worcester and agreed to begin the process of updating the Massachusetts Deed Indexing Standards which were created back in 2000 and last updated in 2008.  The hope is to have this new version take effect on January 1, 2015.  We expect to have a draft available for public comment by July 1, 2014.

Here are some of the items we hope to clarify or address in the new version of the standards:

Update/explain list of documents requiring acknowledgement
Revisit requirements for out-of-state acknowledgements
Must acknowledgement clause state the name of the person who has signed the document (and not just “the person who signed above”).  In re Giroux, Bankruptcy case
Modification of Mortgage – signatures of all parties must be acknowledged?
Raised Seal – should it be shaded?

Mass. Uniform Probate Code
deed of distribution
disclaimer of property statement

Deed Excise Tax
Selling a stamp although no document is presented for recording?
Is excise tax due in a transfer for consideration if incident to divorce decree?

Punctuation marks in names such as E*Trade or
Non-traditional names – which is first name; which is last name?
Deed of distribution – Code for “Personal Representative”
Affidavit relative to note signed by officer – just institution name or signatory name too?

Certified documents – adding book and page reference


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Recording statistics for March

The stagnant real estate market continued through March.  No doubt the nasty weather was a factor but things slowed down as far back as September and have never really recovered.

The total number of documents recorded in March 2014 was down 33% from March 2013 (3886 v 5824). 

The number of deeds recorded was down 8% (484 v 526).

The number of mortgages was down 52% (593 v 1235).

The number of foreclosure deeds was up 67% (10 v 6)(given the very low numbers in both cases, this should not be of concern).

The number of orders of notice were down 51% (19 v 39).

Monday, March 31, 2014

Possible parking crunch starts tomorrow

The Gallagher Terminal on Thorndike Street, just across the South Common from the Superior Courthouse and the Registry of Deeds, begins a major construction project tomorrow with the demolition of its primary parking garage.  Once razed, a new structure will be built in its place.  While the project is underway, however, parking for commuters will be at a premium.  The Rourke Parking Garage, which is adjacent to the Terminal and has its entrance on Chelmsford Street at the intersection with Westford, will still be open.  Monthly pass holders and daily parkers will be allowed in there on a first come, first served basis.  Unfortunately, that garage does not have the capacity to handle all of the cars displaced from the older garage.  As a consequence of this, we suspect that many commuters will choose to park their vehicles on neighborhood streets like Highland and South and will walk across the South Common to the train station.  Hopefully the impact on parking for this building will be minimal.   

Friday, March 21, 2014

Using Data in Governing

Today's Globe has a story about how new Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has added a couple of big screen computer monitors to the mayor's office.  They display a steady stream of data from various sources around the city.  Seemingly unconnected items like school bus arrival times, code inspections accomplished, and traffic backups taken together paint a minute-by-minute picture of the life of the city and allow Walsh and his staff to identify and address problems faster than has previously been the case.  The story makes that point that while much of this data has previously been available, the software that blends in all together and presents it to the user in a comprehensible form is relatively new.  Big picture, data driven applications available today keep decision makers from drowning in facts and figures.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mid month statistics for March

Recording stats for the first half of March show that mortgage activity is still extremely sluggish.  For the first two weeks of March in 2013, we recorded 619 mortgages for the entire registry district; for the same time this year we recorded just 242.  Deeds also dropped although not by as much: 262 deeds in the first half of March 2013 and only 190 for the same time in 2014.  At least foreclosure-related documents are still down: just 4 foreclosure deeds in 2013 but only 3 in 2014.  Orders of notice were down by an even greater amount: 25 in 2013 and just 10 in 2014.

This decline in mortgages has persisted since last September.  It's definitely a trend and it seems to be getting worse rather than better.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Evacuation Day

March 17 is still recognized as a holiday in Suffolk County, I believe, and that holiday is Evacuation Day which has nothing (directly) to do with the Irish or St Patrick's Day.  The holiday commemorates the departure from Boston of the British Army during the Revolutionary War. 

There are three important dates during the New England phase of the Revolution.  First is April 19, 1775 which is the battle of Lexington and Concord.  Second is June 17, 1775 which is the battle of Bunker Hill.  And third is March 17, 1776 which is the day the British evacuated Boston after the Americans fortified the high ground in Dorchester with artillery dragged from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston by Henry Knox during the winter of 1775/1776,

While it's true that the British did leave Boston in mid-March 1776, the historic record is ambiguous about the exact date (more likely it was over several days).  But March 17 seemed like a good date, especially when American-Irish politicians gained some influence in the state legislature.  Those most likely to oppose a holiday celebrating the patron saint of Ireland would also be most likely to support a Revolutionary War holiday.  Hence, we have Evacuation Day on St Patrick's Day.