Digital home buying

In some two years, Suffolk County Clerk Ed Romaine will have a system where after one's electronic signature has been appended: all your closing documents are processed online; your signature immediately transfers the funds from your bank into the seller's account; the transaction is instantly recorded at the county clerk's office -- and the house is yours.

Starting in April, consumers and companies will be able to go online from their home computers to examine county records relating to an individual property. For a $30 fee, they will be able to type an owner's name or address and view a list of all mortgages, judgments and liens lodged against a selected home over the past five years.

The biggest value in such a service is that it will grant the consumers the ability to verify information given to them by "unofficial sources" such as sellers and agents. This will prevent instances such as a sale being held up as a result of discovering a lien or judgment late in the day. However, privacy concerns exist. Users will therefore be issued with passwords and should any unauthorised user enter the system, the county will be able to track him down.

Article on newsday.com

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