Once a deed is signed, sealed and delivered, the transfer from seller to the buyer has taken place. It is not legally necessary or required for the document to be recorded.
However, in order to protect the buyer’s interest in the property, Federal Title & Escrow Company records the deed with the Land Records office, providing constructive notice that the property has transferred.
By recording the deed, another party is prevented from recording a document (such as a lien, judgment or even another deed) that could cloud the chain of title. It also provides notice of who is the owner of the property.
Back in 2011, Federal Title started using DC’s e-recording process. The results have been outstanding. Previously, a recording had to be physically delivered to the DC Recorder of Deeds. These manual recordings were often met with recording delays, as the recording process required the coordination of efforts among the Recorder (i.e. the person standing in line for hours at the Recorder of Deeds to obtain the Clerk’s recording receipt) the courier/mailing service, the settlement company and the Recorder of Deed office.
The manual recording process provided only a Recorder’s receipt at the time of recording, and the recorded Instrument was mailed to the settlement company within six months of the actual recording date.
Now with electronic recording, the recording process in DC is completed within hours of the settlement, as the process involves only the settlement company and the Recorder of Deeds!
The best part is, the client is provided not just with a Recorder’s receipt to evidence that the document has been recorded, but also with the fully recorded document upon the completion of the recording process.
What does this mean to clients?
It means that a deed is on record the same day of your closing, typically within hours. This greatly reduces the risk of fraud, conflicting recordings or lost documents.
The DC Recorder of Deeds office has been at the forefront of the industry and deserves considerable praise for establishing a method to record that has been easy to use and helps protect the interests of all parties.
Not all title companies are using e-recording, but Federal Title recognized early on the benefits of adopting e-recordings and our clients are benefitting by knowing that their documents are recorded in the District of Columbia within hours of the closing – just another example of how Federal Title embraces technology to improve closings.