First paperless property transfer

According to Broward County officials, it began with an online mortgage application and culminated in a paperless real estate closing. The transaction was then electronically recorded by the county, title insurance was issued and images and index data for the deed and mortgage were digitally sealed before being transmitted to the Broward County Records Division through a website portal created especially for electronic transactions.

According to Sue Baldwin, director of the Broward County Records Division, her department had been working for months with private and public partners to get ready to record real estate transactions electronically. Electronic recording was made possible by the new Florida Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (FUETA) that took effect on July 1.

Once the documents were received by the records division, they were digitally "unwrapped". They then underwent electronic edit checks similar to manual checks that are done with non-electronic recording or real estate transactions. If any of the documents had not conformed with legal requirements, they would have been electronically returned to the customer.

The only instance of "human intervention", according to the county, was when a document recorder looked at the image to check index information and image resolution. Traditional recording information such as book and page, date, and file number, was digitally "burned" into the upper right-hand corner of the first page of each document image, so it looks like a manually recorded document when the image is viewed.

The completed electronic recording was resealed with Broward County's digital certificate (to ensure authenticity) and placed in an electronic out-box for the customer to retrieve. The entire recording process took less than five minutes, from the time the documents left the closing office until they were electronically returned to the office after recording. The recorded documents appeared on the records division Web site within minutes after recording.

The benefits of electronic transactions include reduced closing costs for consumers, reduced labour costs for recording the documents and increased speed and accuracy in getting the documents into the public record.

Broward County claims this is the first true electronic transaction of its kind in the country because the transaction was electronic from beginning to end.

Full article on www.eoriginal.com

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