Showing posts with label Norfolk County. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Norfolk County. Show all posts

Monday, June 27, 2022

Register O'Donnell Announces the Processing of 1,500,000 Land Court Documents

Observing a significant milestone at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, Register William P. O’Donnell today announced the Registry recently processed its 1,500,000th registered land document. Register O’Donnell noted, “The processing of the 1,500,00th land registration document is a significant event in the life of the Registry and a testament to the volume of work completed each and every business day here at the Registry of Deeds.”

The Register explained that Massachusetts has two designations for recording property: recorded land and registered land/Land Court. “The majority of land is designated recorded land while a small percentage, approximately 20% here in Norfolk County, is defined as registered land. Land is considered registered land once a petition has been reviewed and adjudicated by the Massachusetts Land Court Department in Boston,” noted O’Donnell.

Registered land is also referred to as “Torrens” land. Purchasers of registered land have certain protections with respect to title issues and claims of adverse possession. Under this category, the Massachusetts Land Court issues a decree upon the submission of a petition and plan of land, and all subsequent owners of the land are issued numbered certificates of title describing the property and listing all encumbrances and rights affecting the property. Documents filed in the registered land section are carefully reviewed by a specially trained registry staff and if accepted are then assigned a document number and noted on the owner’s certificate of title.

“The Norfolk Land Court District is the second busiest in Massachusetts and our use of technology when it comes to improving the recording experience for our institutional users relative to electronic recording of Land Court documents is second to none”, noted O’Donnell. “We were the first Registry in Massachusetts to electronically record a registered land document on April 12, 2017”.


The electronic recording of recorded land documents has been in place since 2010 at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds. However, due to the more stringent requirements associated with recording registered land documents, electronic recording of these particular documents could only take place with the passage of Chapter 404 of the Acts of 2016, an Act to Modernize Registries of Deeds, which eliminated the need to retain original registered land documents.


 “The Registry continues to embrace and utilize cutting edge technologies allowing us to record land documents instantaneously. Documents are scanned and available for viewing within 24 business hours of recording at www.norfolkdeeds.org. Our computer systems are backed up on a nightly and weekly basis. This redundancy allows the Registry to maintain a permanent record of all land document recordings in the event of a disaster affecting our building at 649 High Street, Dedham. Additionally, the Registry also microfilms all recorded land documents and ships the microfilm off-site to a secure location where it can be retrieved in the event of a catastrophe,” stated the Register.


 Residents and those with an interest in Norfolk County property are encouraged to visit the Registry of Deeds. Users of the Registry have options to view land documents by whichever means they are comfortable. Either hard copy via books or on-line by one of our many computer workstations available to the public or from the convenience of their home or work computer.


In conclusion, Register O’Donnell stated, “The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is first and foremost an organization that is focused on customer service. Electronically recording Land Court documents saves our customers considerable time and expense, along with allowing Registry staff to be utilized in a more efficient manner. It’s a win-win situation for us all.”

 To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at facebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds and/or Instagram.com/NorfolkDeeds.


The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham.  The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information.  All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website www.norfolkdeeds.org.  Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or email us at registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org. 

Register O'Donnell Announces the Processing of 1,500,000 Land Court Documents
Register O'Donnell Announces the Processing of 1,500,000 Land Court Documents

Monday, June 20, 2022

Good Deeds: History Comes Alive At The Norfolk Registry

As the dog days of Summer approach, it means some significant dates in History are also upon us.  One of these dates is June 20th, which is the day back in 1793 some 229 years ago, that Norfolk County was established.  Legislation that was signed by the first Governor of Massachusetts, John Hancock, established Norfolk County.  Yes, that is the same John Hancock who was made famous by the manner in which he signed the Declaration of Independence.

Communities South of Boston sought for many years to separate from Suffolk County. After years of unsuccessful petitions and continued negotiations, a grouping of towns led to the creation of a new Norfolk County by the General Court of Massachusetts.

The new Norfolk County went to the South, following the old boundary between Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth Colonies.  In the North, it encompassed Roxbury, Dorchester, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain and Roslindale, all sections of Boston today, as well as Brookline.  Norfolk County extended to the Rhode Island boarder.  Norfolk County consisted of twenty-one towns in 1793 with a population of 23,828.

All the land records of the Norfolk County towns, including those communities that would later become a part of Boston, are recorded at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds.  All these records, back to 1793, are available for viewing and research whether by computer via the internet or by the old fashion way of going through the books at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds in Dedham.  The hand written records recorded at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds between 1793 and 1900 have all been transcribed to make the history and information in these land record readable.

What is the History that has come alive in these documents?  The best example involves another significant date in History, the 4th of July.  The second President of the United States, John Adams, predicted way back then, that this country would celebrate its Independence Day with “pomp and circumstance.” Ironically, President John Adams died on July 4, 1829.  There are land records at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds, of not just President John Adams, but three other Presidents of the United States;   6th  President, John Quincy Adams, 35th President, John F. Kennedy and 41st President, George H.W. Bush.  These four Presidents of the United States were all born in Norfolk County.  I would venture to say, there are not too many Counties in America that could claim 4 Presidents of the United States.  This is why Norfolk County is known as the “County of Presidents.”

Additional towns have been incorporated into Norfolk County since 1793.  One of these communities, Norwood, is celebrating its 150th Anniversary.  Norwood was incorporated as a town in 1872.  A June 22, 2022 event at the Norwood Town Hall will celebrate as part of Norwood’s 150th Birthday Celebration the stories and people behind the recorded documents found at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds.  You can learn about the “housewright” who was the force behind the selection of the name of Norwood, Tyler Thayer.  There is a land record signed by an Air Ace, who flew over 258 combat missions over enemy territory – Colonel George T. Lee.  Learn about a member of the First African American family to settle in Norwood, who later became a long serving member of the Norwood School Committee and Blue Hill School Committee – Henry Diggs.  The land records at the Norfolk Registry tie in to a Governor from Norwood, a professional baseball player, an entertainer, and other people and places that make Norwood such a special and vibrant community.  Some folks find the information in the old land records interesting.  The Norwood, June 22, 2022 event will have the “pomp and circumstance” President John Adams talked about.  If the documents are not your thing, go on by the Norwood Town Hall on June 22, 2022 to listen to Retired Massachusetts State Trooper and United States Marine, Dan Clark, sing celebrating 150 years of the Town of Norwood in song.

Please watch this Public Service Announcement for details of this free event.  Norwood Notable Land Records:  People, Places and Properties event with the Singing Trooper on June 22, 2022 at 6:30p.m. at the Norwood Town Hall.

or use this YouTube link -> https://youtu.be/fCGxP880vjs


Friday, June 17, 2022

Sheriff's Summer Safety Fest - Quincy - Merrymount Beach - Jun 18

 A family fun day for all ages with games, activities, giveaways, informational tables, and a Touch-A-Truck! 
Food donations accepted to benefit the United Way through the Norfolk County Central Labor Council. 
Made possible through a generous grant from Save the Harbor/Save the Bay.

 When: June 18, from 10 - 1 PM

Sheriff's Summer Safety Fest - Quincy - Merrymount Beach - Jun 18
Sheriff's Summer Safety Fest - Quincy - Merrymount Beach - Jun 18

Download a copy of the Flyer as a reminder ->

Monday, June 13, 2022

Register O’Donnell Highlights Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center

Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reminds consumers if they have a Registry related question, the answer is just a phone call away by dialing the Customer Service Center at (781) 461-6101. The department is open Monday through Friday from 8:30AM to 4:30PM.

 

“The Customer Service Center is a one-stop shop for Norfolk County homeowners and institutional users who have land related document questions,” said O’Donnell. “These questions can vary such as confirming the current ownership of a particular property, or verifying if a discharge of a property’s mortgage has been filed after the loan has been paid off. We are glad to help with any inquiry, whether you come through our doors or call us by phone.”

 

Register O’Donnell further noted, “The department can also inform customers about the various cost for filing and receiving land documents. Upon a customer’s request -whether it’s by visiting us here at the Registry or by a direct mail request - we can provide copies of documents to you for a fee of $1.00 per page, plus an additional $1.00 per document to cover the cost of postage.”

 

The Registry only accepts cash or check payments. In addition, the Customer Service Center staff is happy to answer questions about the Homestead Act, a law which provides limited protection against the forced sale of a homeowner’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000.

 

O’Donnell went on to say, “For many, trying to ascertain information about land documents can be a very frustrating and intimidating experience. Please know our trained customer service staff is well-versed in all areas of land document research. By utilizing our state-of-the-art land document research system, which is also available via www.norfolkdeeds.org, people can get answers to their property questions.”

 

Notary services are also offered by the Customer Service Center. “Several staff members are notary publics. We are more than glad to notarize any land document provided the person requesting the service appears before us and presents satisfactory proof of identification by showing either their driver’s license or passport,” said O’Donnell.

 

In conclusion, Register O’Donnell stated, “Providing first-class customer service is a core objective of the Registry’s mission to serve the public. We strive to ensure our customers have a positive experience when interacting with us. The bottom line is: We are glad to be of service to you.”

 

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives like us at facebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds and instagram.com/NorfolkDeeds.

 

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham.  The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information.  All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website www.norfolkdeeds.org.  Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or email us at registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org.


Register O’Donnell Highlights Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center
Register O’Donnell Highlights Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center

Monday, June 6, 2022

Register O’Donnell Reports on May 2022 Real Estate Activity in Norfolk County (activity continues decline, $$ continue to increase)

Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that the May 2022 numbers relative to Norfolk County recordings indicate a continuing decrease in overall real estate activity compared to the May 2021 numbers but show a significant increase in average sale prices.

“Our data indicates that the Norfolk County real estate numbers in May signal a continued slowdown in the market compared to 2021 but show a slight uptick from last month,” noted Register O’Donnell. “There were 11,556 documents recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds in May, a 29% decrease from May, 2021 but an increase of 3% from April, 2022”.

“The number of deeds for May 2022, which reflect real estate sales and transfers, both commercial and residential, show a slight decrease of 3% from May, 2021 but an increase of 25% from April 2022. Sale prices continue to surge as compared to last year but may be starting to level off. The average sale price in May was $1,264,350, a 26% increase compared to May 2021 but down 18% from last month. Total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales also showed gains from one year ago, increasing 22% and up 3% from last month,” noted the Register.

Overall lending activity show a continued trend downward for the month of May. A total of 2,283 mortgages were recorded during the month, a significant decrease of 40% compared to a year ago. “It appears that the interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve Board and the fact that many consumers have already refinanced are impacting mortgage activity,” noted O’Donnell.

A continuing cause for concern in Norfolk County is the number of pending foreclosures. The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has been closely watching the foreclosure market. During May, there were 5 foreclosure deeds recorded as a result of mortgage foreclosures taking place in Norfolk County, one more than in May, 2021 and one less than in April.  However, there were 21 Notices to Foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process, recorded in May, up significantly from 14 recorded in May 2021. “The dramatic increase in the number of these notices is alarming. It indicates that more of our neighbors are facing financial challenges going forward”, said O’Donnell.  “We will continue to monitor these numbers.”
 
For the past several years, the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has partnered with Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181 x376, and NeighborWorks Housing Solutions, 508-587-0950 to help anyone facing challenges paying their mortgage. Another option for homeowners is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400. Register O’Donnell stated, “If you are having difficulty paying your monthly mortgage, please consider contacting one of these non-profit agencies for help and guidance.”
 
Homestead recordings by owners of homes and condominiums decreased again this month at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds.   There was a 8% decrease in homestead recordings in May 2022 compared to May 2021 but increased 16% from last month. “The comparison from last May is not too surprising where the sales of homes have started to level off, but all homeowners, not just new purchasers, should keep in mind that a recorded Declaration of Homestead provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000,” noted O’Donnell. “We want to see folks protecting the biggest asset most of us have, our homes.  I would urge anyone who has not availed themselves of this important consumer protection tool to consider doing so.  The recording fee is only $36. Feel free to visit the Registry website at www.norfolkdeeds.org  to get more information on homesteads and to make sure you have taken advantage of this protection.”
 
Register O’Donnell concluded, “May real estate activity in Norfolk County continues to show a decline from last year. We still see the increase in sale prices from last year as indicating a continuing lack of available real estate inventory but looking at the numbers from last month, it appears the market may be starting to cool down a bit.”

The Registry of Deeds continues to be open to the public for business. Registry personnel are processing in-person recordings as well as electronically filed recordings.  The drop-off box located at the main entrance of the Registry building will continue to be available for use by those members of the public who may not be comfortable entering the Registry of Deeds building The volume of documents recorded electronically for many of our institutional users continues to increase. We are also receiving documents in person, via regular mail, Federal Express, UPS and from the outside drop-off box at 649 High Street, Dedham, MA.”   
 
To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at facebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds and Instagram.com/NorfolkDeeds.
 
The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham.  The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information.  All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website www.norfolkdeeds.org.  Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or email us at registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org.

May 2022 Real Estate Activity in Norfolk County (activity continues decline, $$ continue to increase)
May 2022 Real Estate Activity in Norfolk County (activity continues decline, $$ continue to increase)

Monday, May 30, 2022

Good Deeds: No More On-Site Direct Report Registry Info Technology (IT) Staff

The residents of Norfolk County and Registry users are being informed that effective July 1, 2022 there will be no more on-site direct report Registry Information Technology staff.  This final decision dates back to a 2 to 1 vote NOT to appoint a Registry CIO to fill the position of a retiring Registry CIO made by Norfolk County Commissioners Peter Collins and Joe Shea nearly one year ago on June 30, 2021.  The vote on June 30, 2021 was a poor decision in a line of questionable decisions made by the Norfolk County Commissioners.

I greatly appreciate the voices and efforts of so many attorneys, real estate brokers, assessors, trade organizations and just regular citizens who were concerned about the title to their homes in trying to keep the Registry IT Department as it has been for over 35 years.  You have to accept decisions although I and my Registry senior staff are still trying to envision a plan that will not negatively impact Registry operations and services due to the elimination of on site direct report in the Registry budget Registry IT staff.

The decision NOT to keep the Registry IT staff as is has been made.  Many feel there has not been a compelling reason given for the decision.  I along with the Registry senior staff were prepared to and are prepared to accept the decision and as is so often said “to move on.”  However, it was not enough to eliminate the Registry direct report IT Department.  No sooner was the County IT consolidation decision made did the Norfolk County Commissioners have a deposition notice served upon me as Register of Deeds one week later.

I certainly have no issues with answering questions at a deposition about actions taken to advocate for homeowners whose legal title to their home are authenticated by the documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds.  I would not have been doing my job under the laws of Massachusetts or fulfilling my fiduciary duties to the Registry stakeholders and the public if I did not “fight the fight” to shed light on the decision of Commissioners Collins and Shea especially with hackers, cybersecurity risks and ransomware present in today’s world.

I can assure the taxpayers of Norfolk County that I will not spend months in legal time as well as legal expenses trying to prevent questions being asked of me as the County Commissioners did for their hired consultant Mark Abrahams who first recommended “IT Consolidation” without speaking to senior Registry staff nor visiting the Norfolk Registry of Deeds.  Imagine a paid consultant who was hired by the Norfolk County Commissioners to do a “study” with taxpayers money being protected from answering questions about that “study”.  Why would the Norfolk County Commissioners do that?  When that consultant Mark Abrahams who was ordered to answer questions then states that there was no cost savings from the County IT consolidation proposal and that the County IT consolidation will not lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness the voters should be asking the County Commissioner up for election this year - Peter Collins – the why all of this.

The Norfolk Registry of Deeds IT matter is not the only controversy the Norfolk County Commissioners has found themselves in.  The Norfolk County Commissioners have been involved in a number of lawsuits and open meetings law violations brought by citizens and those opposed to acres of forest being cut down to put solar panels up on county school grounds.  It has been the Registry’s turn in the proverbial Norfolk County Commissioners tumbler.  Good government process that is transparent should also be a part of government decisions that have impacts on individuals.  Apparently, the Norfolk County Commissioners want to continue their battles and their litigation. In the meantime the Norfolk Registry of Deeds staff will try to do the best it can given the circumstances and poor decisions that have come down on Registry operations and services.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your interest in this matter.

By William P. O’Donnell, Norfolk Register of Deeds


Good Deeds: No More On-Site Direct Report Registry Info Technology (IT) Staff
Good Deeds: No More On-Site Direct Report Registry Info Technology (IT) Staff

Monday, May 23, 2022

Register O'Donnell Promotes Massachusetts Homestead Act

Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell today reminded Norfolk County homeowners about the importance of filing for Homestead protection. 


O’Donnell noted, “If you own a home, and it is your primary residence, you have an automatic homestead exemption of $125,000. However, if you file a Declaration of Homestead at the Registry of Deeds, the exemption increases to $500,000. The Homestead law provides a homeowner with limited protection against the forced sale of their primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000 if they have filed. This is especially important when you consider that for most of us, a home is our most valuable asset.  Consumers should take steps to protect that asset.” 


Another feature of the Homestead law is the allowance for the filing of an Elderly Homestead Declaration, which defines an elder as a person who is 62 years of age or older and provides protection of $500,000 for each qualified person.


The Register further noted, “Back in March of 2011, the Homestead law was updated so that a valid Homestead cannot be terminated when refinancing a mortgage. Other changes that took place back in 2011 state that a Homestead can provide protections for a primary home even if it is held in a trust. The definition of a primary residence was also expanded to include a manufactured or mobile home.” 


While the Homestead statute provides important protections for homeowners, it is important to note there are certain debts that are exempted from protection under the Homestead Act. These include federal, state and local tax liens, as well as mortgages contracted for the purchase of a primary home and nursing home liens. Most other mortgages, debts, and encumbrances existing prior to the filing of the Declaration of Homestead, along with probate court executions for spousal and child support, are also not covered under the Homestead protection statute. 


Declarations of Homestead are recorded at the Registry of Deeds for a state imposed fee of $36.00. Additional information about the Homestead law, and the forms are available at no cost by going to the Registry’s website at www.norfolkdeeds.org.  


Register O’Donnell concluded, “I want to reiterate that a Homestead provides limited protection against the forced sale of a homeowner’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. While the debt is still owed, homeowners can have peace of mind knowing that with a Homestead recorded at the Registry of Deeds, their primary residence cannot be forcibly sold to satisfy most debts. If you have any questions about a Homestead, please contact our Customer Service Center at 781-461-6101, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30AM-4:30PM. Our trained staff are more than willing to answer any questions you may have.”


To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at Facebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds and/or Instagram.com/NorfolkDeeds.


The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham.  The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information.  All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website www.norfolkdeeds.org.  Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or email us at registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org.


Register O'Donnell Promotes Massachusetts Homestead Act
Register O'Donnell Promotes Massachusetts Homestead Act

Monday, May 16, 2022

Register O’Donnell Reports on April 2022 Real Estate Activity in Norfolk County

Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that the April numbers relative to Norfolk County show a continuing decrease in real estate activity compared to April 2021 and even compared to the March 2022 numbers.

 “Our data indicates that the Norfolk County real estate numbers in April indicate a continued slowdown in the market compared to 2021 and, except for a slight increase in sales, when compared to the overall numbers from last month,”, noted Register O’Donnell. “There were 11,179 documents recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds in April, a 37% decrease from April, 2021 and a decrease of 10% from March of 2022”.

“The number of deeds for April 2022, which reflect real estate sales and transfers both commercial and residential, decreased by 16% from April, 2021 but did increase by 3% from March. However, sale prices continue to surge. The average sale price in April was $1,534,065, a 32% increase compared to April 2021. Total dollar volume of commercial and residential sales also showed gains from one year ago, increasing 11% and surprisingly are up 41% from last month,” noted the Register. 

Overall lending activity show a continued trend downward for the month of April. A total of 2,210 mortgages were recorded during the month, a significant decrease of 48% compared to a year ago and down 8% from last month. “It appears that interest rate increases and the fact that many consumers have already refinanced may be impacting the numbers,” noted O’Donnell. 

A continuing cause for concern in Norfolk County is the number of pending foreclosures. The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has been closely watching the foreclosure market. During April, there were 4 foreclosure deeds recorded as a result of mortgage foreclosures taking place in Norfolk County, two less than in April, 2021 and one less than in March.  However, there were 22 Notices to Foreclose, the first step in the foreclosure process, recorded in April, up significantly from 4 recorded in April 2021, and up from 11 recorded last month. “The dramatic increase in the number of these notices is alarming. It indicates that more of our neighbors are facing financial challenges going forward”, said O’Donnell.  “We will continue to monitor these numbers.”

For the past several years, the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has partnered with Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181 x376, and NeighborWorks Housing Solutions, 508-587-0950 to help anyone facing challenges paying their mortgage. Another option for homeowners is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400. Register O’Donnell stated, “If you are having difficulty paying your monthly mortgage, please consider contacting one of these non-profit agencies for help and guidance.”

Homestead recordings by owners of homes and condominiums decreased again this month at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds.   There was a 13% decrease in homestead recordings in April 2022 compared to April 2021 but a slight increase from last month. “The comparison from last April is not too surprising where the sales of homes have started to level off, but all homeowners, not just new purchasers, should keep in mind that a recorded Declaration of Homestead provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000,” noted O’Donnell. “We want to see folks protecting the biggest asset most of us have, our homes.  I would urge anyone who has not availed themselves of this important consumer protection tool to consider doing so.  The recording fee is only $36. Feel free to visit the Registry website at www.norfolkdeeds.org  to get more information on homesteads and to make sure you have taken advantage of this protection.

Register O’Donnell concluded, “April real estate activity in Norfolk County continues to show a decline from last year. We still see the increase in sale prices as indicating a lack of available real estate inventory which for buyers, particularly first time buyers, suggests a disadvantage.”

The Registry of Deeds continues to be open to the public for business. Registry personnel are processing in-person recordings as well as electronically filed recordings.  The drop-off box located at the main entrance of the Registry building will continue to be available for use by those members of the public who may not be comfortable entering the Registry of Deeds building The volume of documents recorded electronically for many of our institutional users continues to increase. We are also receiving documents in person, via regular mail, Federal Express, UPS and from the outside drop-off box at 649 High Street, Dedham, MA.”    

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at facebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds and Instagram.com/NorfolkDeeds.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham.  The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information.  All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website www.norfolkdeeds.org.  Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or email us at registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org.

Register O’Donnell Reports on April 2022 Real Estate Activity in Norfolk County
Register O’Donnell Reports on April 2022 Real Estate Activity in Norfolk County

Monday, May 9, 2022

One Last Try – Registry of Deeds IT staff

Dear Registry users and citizens,

We recently posted on our website www.norfolkdeeds.org  a video of a recent April interview outlining why the Norfolk Registry of Deeds should keep its 2 person on-site direct report Registry IT Department.  Sometimes “a picture is worth a 1,000 words” given all that has been written about this matter.  State Law has provided funds to pay for all Registry IT positions in an IT Department that has been in existence for over 35 years at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds.  The on-site Registry IT staff must be kept.

 

On May 4, 2022 Commissioners Peter Collins and Joseph Shea in a 2 to 1 vote eliminated all Registry IT positions out of the Registry Budget.  This is reckless.  It is unprecedented not to have on-site Registry IT services.  The Registry, its staff and those that the Registry serves are being targeted by a full scale dismantling of the Registry of Deeds on-site direct report IT support.

 

You can help stop the reckless and poor decisions with too many possible bad outcomes by contacting the Norfolk County Advisory Board members. A list of the members is also posted on our website. Please let these representatives know to keep the direct report Registry IT staff when they vote on May 11, 2022.  Also, please contact members of the Finance Committee of the Advisory Board from Avon, Plainville, Randolph, Milton and Brookline who will be voting a recommendation to the whole Advisory Board.

 

Professional Registry staff, Registry users and citizens who have supported the need for on-site Registry IT professionals are NOT being listened to by County Commissioners Collins and Shea.  Why would these Norfolk County Commissioners oppose their paid consultant Mark Abrahams answering deposition questions and their attorney write as one of the reasons that is could cause “embarrassment”?  For who?  The two county commissioners – Collins and Shea – who voted as they did?  For all county decision makers who influenced the IT review, actions and reports with the goal to dismantle the direct report Registry IT Department?  This is what you Registry supporters are up against but we all must keep “fighting the fight.”

 

You will also find posted on our website a letter from Attorney James McKenzie that says it all. It is just a sample of the support the Registry of Deeds has received since the 2 to 1 Norfolk County Commissioner vote going back nearly a year to June 30, 2021 to not have a Registry CIO. Was this the plan all along to not have any Registry IT professionals in the Registry IT Budget? On behalf of myself, the Registry staff and all who depend on the Registry of Deeds including homeowners I want to thank you for your kind words and support that has been given throughout this whole unfortunate matter.

Sincerely yours,

 

William P. O’Donnell,

Register of Deeds

 


To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at facebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds and Instagram.com/NorfolkDeeds.

 

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham.  The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information.  All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website www.norfolkdeeds.org.  Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or email us at registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org.



One Last Try – Registry of Deeds IT staff
One Last Try – Registry of Deeds IT staff

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

For Norfolk County Registry of Deeds IT Dept

I am writing to you today as you are a member of the Norfolk County Advisory Board and there will soon be a vote by the Advisory Board concerning the County budget to keep or abandon a Norfolk County Registry of Deeds IT Department and its Chief Information Officer.

I have been a practicing attorney in Brookline since 1973 with a concentration in real estate, and have seen great advances in Information Technology at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds from a time when the only way to find out what documents were recorded there was to go there, to instant access from any computer. The most recent technological advance has been the ability to record documents from the office where the closing took place. This is a great advance that needs to be maintained. There has been a system of sequential closings that allowed a seller of a piece of real estate to use their sale proceeds to buy their next home that day, and allowing the seller of the second piece of real estate to buy their new property that same day, and sometimes to a third sequential transaction on that day This, as you would expect, would require a lot of coordination between the Buyers, Sellers, real estate brokers and the attorneys for all the parties. Like I said, you could stack these closings in a row when well coordinated. Sellers can not use the proceeds from their sale until the necessary documents were recorded, which until recently required delivery of the documents to the Registry of Deeds. With the ability to record documents electronically these progressive closings can be extended to four because physically delivering the documents to the Registry is no longer required, and verification of recording is instantly available to all. This is only allowed by the well maintained information technology presently in place at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds.

In addition to the Recorded documents section of the Registry of Deeds there is the Registered Land, or Land Court, Section of the Registry of Deeds in which property that may have some sticky issue or issues relating to its title goes through the Land Court to have it resolved. Access to the often technical and complicated Registered Land Section documents is also instantaneous because of the advanced system of information technology, including security, the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds employs.

Just this past year I had an unusual problem with access to some documents concerning my office condominium unit. I called the Norfolk Registry of Deeds and received a prompt call back. The entire issue was resolved in twenty minutes.

That type of service for all the various users of the Norfolk Registry of Deeds is invaluable, and can not be abandoned. Failure of the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds to function as it does would result in personal and/or financial chaos for your Norfolk County neighbors who are coming, going, or relocating within the county.

I sincerely urge you to vote to keep the funding for a Chief Information Officer and Registry IT  Technology Department in the budget. Thank you. 

Very truly yours,

Ludwig Alban


For Norfolk County Registry of Deeds IT Dept
For Norfolk County Registry of Deeds IT Dept

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Letter from Register O'Donnell: Appealing for Commonsense Action on Registry IT

April 25, 2022

Dear Registry Stakeholders and Citizens,

AN APPEAL FOR COMMONSENSE ACTION ON REGISTRY IT

Please listen to the professional staff that runs the Norfolk Registry of Deeds as to why the Registry needs its Information (IT) Technology Department. (click here to listen to the Registry staff at a Norfolk County Commissioners Meeting). The Registry staff who did a compelling job in arguing on behalf of all Registry users in this video have over 149 years of legal and land document recording experience.  Shouldn't the words of a professional Registry staff that takes care of the land records to your house count more than some consultant who come in like "a hired gun" to say whatever they get paid to say?  Doesn't the words in this video of staff that has given reliable service mean something when assessed against consultants who have never visited a Registry of Deeds or knew anything about Registry operations until they got paid as a consultant?

On May 4, 2022 there will be a vote by the Finance Committee of the Norfolk County Advisory Board made up of Avon, Randolph, Plainville, Brookline and Milton from the attached list of Advisory Board members (click here for a list of members). Please tell these Finance Committee representatives and the Advisory Board representative from your community who will be voting on May 11, 2022 to vote to keep the on-site direct report high level Registry IT staff in place.

Commonsense in this day and age would mean the Norfolk Registry of Deeds would keep its on-site direct report in the Registry budget Registry IT staff.  This Registry IT Department has been in existence at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds for well over 35 years paid for by the Registry of Deeds.

Commonsense would say why jeopardize the land records that authenticate the legal title to your home.  Commonsense would take note of all the fraud and cybersecurity risks in today's world and keep the Registry IT Department as is.  Commonsense would say we use the Registry of Deeds dedicated revenues to pay for this IT technology staff which has played a key role in the modernization initiatives implemented at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds. 

The Norfolk County Commissioners chose Plymouth and Bristol counties as the "benchmarks" to compare Norfolk County.  The Registries of Deeds in these counties do have on-site direct report IT Departments.  This should logically mean that Norfolk Registry should keep its on-site direct report IT Department. It did not.  Why not?  If this was a fair and impartial process the fact that the Registries in Plymouth and Bristol have on-site Registry IT staff should have ended all debate about the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds not keeping its on-site IT Department.  Why should residents and taxpayers of Norfolk County get less service than what the people of Plymouth County and Bristol County get?

Thank you for your attention to this very important issue.  Any action you take is appreciated by all who use and rely on the operations and services of your Norfolk Registry of Deeds.

Sincerely yours,

William P. O'Donnell
Norfolk Register of Deeds

Appealing for Commonsense Action on Registry IT
Appealing for Commonsense Action on Registry IT

Monday, April 25, 2022

Register O’Donnell Delivers 2022 First Quarter Real Estate Activity Report

Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported that first quarter (January-March 2022) real estate stats showed an uptick in residential and commercial sales and sale prices, while overall numbers indicate a downturn. 

Register O’Donnell noted, “During the recently concluded first quarter of the 2022 calendar year, the average Norfolk County real estate sales price, both residential and commercial, increased 38% to $1,261,0181. Total real estate volume, again both residential and commercial, was $2.56 billion, a 53% increase year over the same period in 2021.”

Register O’Donnell further stated, “The lack of inventory and new construction have continue to push prices up. It remains to be seen if this trend continues as overall activity is starting to slow.”

For the first quarter of 2022, the number of land documents recorded, (such as deeds, mortgages, homesteads, mortgage discharges, etc.) was 34,315, a 33% decline from the first quarter of 2021. Register O’Donnell noted, “This figure tells us there is still a healthy real estate market, however we are not seeing the volume we saw in 2020 and 2021.”

There were 6,664 mortgages recorded at the Registry during the first quarter of the calendar year 2022 compared to 14,001 for the same time period in 2021, a 52% decrease. However, total mortgage borrowing was $7.5 billion for January through March compared to $5.7 billion during the same period in 2021. “With the increase in interest rates, consumers seem to be less inclined to borrow. The discrepancy between the decrease in the number of mortgages and the increase in the amount of mortgage indebtedness is due in part to some substantial mortgage loans on a few commercial properties”, stated the Register.

Norfolk County homeowners continued to benefit from the Homestead Act. A total of 2,378 declarations of homestead were recorded during the first half of the calendar year, a 12% decrease over the same period a year ago. “The Homestead law provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. I urge Norfolk County residents to consider this important consumer protection tool,” noted O’Donnell.

A sharp increase in foreclosure activity in Norfolk County is a cause for concern. A total of 20 foreclosure deeds were recorded in the first quarter versus only 6 filed during the first quarter of 2021. In addition, there was a significant 81% increase in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process.

O’Donnell stated, “While the eastern Massachusetts economy remains on a solid footing, there are still those in Norfolk County experiencing economic hardship, in many cases through no fault of their own. The Registry continues to work with Quincy Community Action Programs, (617-479-8181 x376), and NeighborWorks Housing Solutions, (508-587-0950) to help homeowners who have received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage document. A third option is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400.”

Register O’Donnell concluded, “The economy, particularly the job market in eastern Massachusetts, appears to be improving but inflation, rising interest rates and the lack of inventory may result in a slower real estate market going forward.”

Attached is a link to a Quincy QATV “Good Deeds” episode with host Mark Crosby and Register O’Donnell discussing the 2022 Norfolk County real estate statistics and other issues relating to the Registry of Deeds:

            To visit click here or copy the URL link below:       

https://www.qatv.org/GoodDeeds?modal=413,episode,201742

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at facebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds and Instagram.com/NorfolkDeeds.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website www.norfolkdeeds.org. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or email us at registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org. 

Register O’Donnell Delivers 2022 First Quarter Real Estate Activity Report
Register O’Donnell Delivers 2022 First Quarter Real Estate Activity Report

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Matthew Sheehan running for Norfolk County Commissioner

Dear Norfolk County,

My name is Matthew J. Sheehan, and I’m running for Norfolk County Commissioner. I'm a Dedham resident and graduated from the Norfolk County Agricultural School in 2003. I am a pilot for American Airlines and volunteer at the Above the Clouds kids flying charity in Norwood. We take kids who face adversity flying out of Norwood Airport. I also serve on the Board of Trustees at “Norfolk Aggie”. Norfolk County has a commissioner position up for re-election this year, and I would like the opportunity to be considered!

I have attended some Commissioner meetings. There is a dispute between the Norfolk County Registry and the commissioners over hiring a full-time IT director. This position would be on-site and would handle over $80,000,000.00 worth of Real Estate transactions. The incumbent is against this position, which has resulted in a lawsuit at the expense of our taxpayer dollars. Our future is online and we need to start treating cybersecurity seriously.

Matthew Sheehan
Matthew Sheehan
Norfolk County offers veterans services that include rides to the VA and meals during the holiday season. Each city and town has a Veterans agent who I would like to work closely with not only expanding these services but focusing on suicide prevention. I have many friends and family who have served in all branches of the military. This is extremely important to me, and I would be honored to help where I can.

Norfolk Aggie sits on some of the most beautiful land in the county. The students learn about Agricultural Mechanics, Animal, Plant, and Environmental Science. There is currently a solar project which would potentially destroy 30 acres of irreplaceable green space. I support solar panels on existing structures but not the clearing of forests and fields. The constituents, students, and the aggie community are overwhelmingly against this. The town of Walpole has stopped this project due to the public outcry. In response, the county government has hired a lawyer to appeal and push the project through

It's time to end these lawsuits that equal $200,000.00 worth of taxpayer money. May 2nd at 7 pm at Norfolk County Agricultural High School is the town hearing regarding the solar panels. Everyone in the county has a right to attend. Join My campaign! We’re on social media and will have a website soon. It’s time for a new Generation of Leadership!

Download a copy of Sheehan's flyer can campaign info ->
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1f8NURyF5_6oesLaBoa8Nj8R4pcaf1RvE/view?usp=sharing

Monday, April 18, 2022

Good Deeds: Top 20 Reasons for an on-site Registry IT Department

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has been a soundly managed agency that delivers quality services to the residents of Norfolk County.  This quality delivery of services to homeowners and registry users has been a team approach that utilizes an on-site direct report in the Registry budget Registry Information (IT) Technology Department.  Two Norfolk County Commissioners, Peter Collins and Joseph Shea, voted to not appoint the Registry Chief Information Officer (CIO) designee who was replacing the retiring Registry CIO on June 30, 2021.

Now the Registry of Deeds and those that use the Registry of Deeds services are fighting to keep the two person on-site funded Registry Department.  The Registry CIO position still has not been filled due to votes by the Norfolk County Commissioners the most recent one being another vote earlier this month.  These decisions are reckless given the possible bad outcomes that could take place from cybersecurity breaches and ransomware. 

The college basketball tournaments just ended so with that in mind let’s look at the top 20 reasons you should want the Norfolk Registry of Deeds to keep its Registry IT Department as it has had for over 35 years.  If after reading these reasons and you agree with them please contact the Norfolk County Advisory Board members (click here) who will be voting on this in the budget process. Ask these representatives to support the Norfolk Registry of Deeds by keeping its on-site Registry IT staff under the leadership of a high level direct report Registry Technology expert.

REASON 1
The legal title to your home is authenticated by the land records recorded at the Registry of Deeds.  When you go to sell your home and for that matter when you as buyers purchase a home do you want title issues on that property?

REASON 2
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) says that the fastest growing white collar crime is property and deed fraud.  Do you think that property records that affect your home or business are not an inviting target for hackers and cybersecurity incidents?

REASON 3
The Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts which represents thousands of attorneys wrote “Technology has been the foundation of the modernization initiatives that have been implemented over the years at the Norfolk Registry.  Technology overseen by the Registry CIO is essential and critical for services to the users and stakeholders of the Norfolk Registry of Deeds.”

REASON 4
The White House has issued documentation that outlines several ways to protect against cyberattacks including checking with your IT professionals.  Does it make sense not to have an on-site Information Technology (IT) professional staff at the Registry of Deeds in this day and age?

REASON 5
An arm of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from its Information Technology Division wrote in March of this year “In light of the ongoing geopolitical situation between Russia and Ukraine, attempted cyberattacks towards state and municipal IT systems are expected to increase over the coming weeks and months.”

REASON 6
Over 205,000 land records were recorded between January 1 and December 31, 2021 at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds.  Technology allows those recordings to take place and protects the over 45 million pages of images in the Registry internet land recording library.

REASON 7
There is internet land record research at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds via its website www.norfolkdeeds.org.  There are land records on line that can be viewed and researched back to 1793 available to any and everyone who has access to a computer, tablet or mobile device.

REASON 8
Modernization Initiatives driven by technology have allowed real estate professionals as well as those interested in historical and genealogical research to use indexes and documents dating back to 1793 at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds.

REASON 9
This on-site direct report 2 person IT Department at the Registry has developed a disaster recovery office to keep the Registry operational should there be a fire, flood or some other business continuity interruption.

REASON 10
Besides a dedicated staff it was the tremendous work of the Registry IT Department that kept the Norfolk Registry of Deeds open and operational every work day since Governor Baker declared a COVID-19 emergency on March 10, 2020.

REASON 11
As the Town of Millis Selectboard wrote to the Norfolk County Commissioners “We stand with the Register of Deeds in his fervent request that the Registry be able to maintain professional, expert and full-time oversight over the county’s land records system.  The funds collected by the Registry provide vital revenues to the county as well as the many municipalities that participate in the Community Preservation Act program.”

REASON 12
Over 82 million dollars of revenues were collected by the Norfolk Registry of Deeds between January 1 to December 31, 2021.  Isn’t this a target for hackers, cybersecurity incidents and ransomware? 

REASON 13
The Norfolk Registry of Deeds works with your community’s Board of Assessors and Assessor Departments to transmit critical records and data.  Don Clarke Chief Assessor of the Town of Norfolk wrote to the Norfolk County Commissioners “The coordination between the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds IT and our IT personnel has been outstanding in regards to the safe and secure e-delivery of deeds and plans which has allowed this office to stay current in its ownership date and therefore in compliance with DOR regulations.”

REASON 14
The on-site direct report Registry IT staff with its acquired knowledge of Registry operations and technology gives timely responses to the needs and requests of the Registry staff, Registry users and stakeholders as well as the general public.
 
REASON 15
In Norfolk County you can sign up for the Consumer Notification Service for free.  Through the efforts of the Registry IT staff you get notified of any transactions in your name.  This will allow you to detect any fraudulent activity involving your property.

REASON 16
The work of the Registry IT staff has allowed the Registry of Deeds to bring the Registry land records out into the community as part of the Registry of Deeds outreach program.

REASON 17
There is a remote electronic recording of land records. A real estate closing that takes place in any location can transmit the required land records to the Norfolk Registry of Deeds via electronic recording.  The Norfolk Registry can conduct remote recording for Recorded Land as well as Land Court (registered) land.  Not all registries in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can do this.

REASON 18
The Customer Service Center at the Registry of Deeds where you can walk in for help or call the staff for help at (781) 461-6101 depend on the technology as well as the work of the on-site 2 person IT Department.

REASON 19
Krysta Hendrix of Reliable Research Solutions, a title examination company, wrote to the Norfolk County Commissioners “I have experience working in every Registry of Deeds in Massachusetts and can say without hesitation that Norfolk County is the gold standard, most certainly in the Technology Department.”

REASON 20
There are too many possible bad out comes that can happen not allowing the Registry of Deeds to keep its on-site direct report in the Registry budget Registry IT staff.  In addition, the Registry of Deeds has dedicated revenues from state law to pay for the positions.

You may have come up with some of your own reasons.  Please forward these to me at registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org. In any event sometimes those in government make decisions and you just can not help but wonder why.  Through your efforts we can work to have a transformative effect with a positive impact on this technology decision. 

Good Deeds: Top 20 Reasons for an on-site Registry IT Department
Good Deeds: Top 20 Reasons for an on-site Registry IT Department