eRecording Beginner’s Guide Chapter 4: Electronic Recording Methods


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Three electronic transaction methods are currently available to recording offices. An office may elect to accept records by more than one of these methods.

Level 1 eRecording

istockThe simplest method is often referred to as Level 1 electronic recording. In effect, it is just an electronic extension of the traditional paper-based recording process. The parties execute a paper document and have it notarized just like any other real estate transaction. The submitter then scans the document into an acceptable image format and transmits it through a vendor to the recording office along with the proper fee. The recording office personnel then manually index the record using the information contained in the document and return the recorded document image to the vendor.

Level 2 eRecording

A similar process that allows for more automation is Level 2 electronic recording. Level 2 also begins with a traditional paper document executed by the parties and notarized.  Again, the submitter scans the document into an image file. The submitter transmits the image to the vendor and, using tools provided by the vendor, also creates a separate data file with all the information necessary for indexing the record. The vendor then transfers the image, related data files, and the appropriate fee to the recording office.

The recording office has a couple different options for processing the Level 2 submission. It can import the image and data file directly into the searchable index.

That puts the burden of providing the correct indexing information squarely on the submitting party.

Alternatively, the recording office may elect to conduct a manual quality-control review before releasing the image and data file into the searchable index. Once its job is complete, the office returns the recorded document to the vendor.

Level 3 eRecording

The most automated electronic recording method is known as Level 3. Only Level 3 offers pure electronic recording without the need for human interaction. The process begins with an electronic real property document executed with electronic signatures and notarized electronically.

Paper elephantThe submitter transmits only the document data, including electronic signatures and notary information, to the vendor. The vendor then places the data in the correct format and transfers it directly to the recording office with the applicable fees. The recording office maps the data to the appropriate fields in the searchable index and generates a viewable image.

The recording office completes the indexing process by attaching the recording information to the submitted data file and returning it to the vendor. The vendor processes the recorded electronic document data and relays it back to the submitter.

All of the electronic recording methods offer faster turnaround time than traditional paper-based recording.

While it may take a recording office days or weeks to process paper documents, electronically submitted documents often take just a fraction of that time.

In fact, with Level 3 the entire recording process can take only minutes.

Continue to Chapter 5: How eRecording Works for Submitters