e-file your home purchase!
December 23, 2002 10:10 AM   Subscribe

"e-filing" your land transactions - could it streamline a process that is quite cumbersome? 11 of the 21 counties in New Jersey are working to convert their current paper-based system of filings to an electronic format. Some say it would lower mortgage costs and time constraints because of the movement of paper. Some say it's a disaster waiting to happen. I think it would be an excellent move and would give NJ some first mover status (I think?) to be proud of.
posted by djspicerack (5 comments total)
"The cost of mortgages is driven up now because banks have to hold them for 45 days or more while the transactions are properly recorded. M. Dean Haines, the clerk of Ocean County, said e-filing will end the delay."

thus converting the holding charges to pure gravy for the banks.
posted by quonsar at 10:14 AM on December 23, 2002

I've never heard of "holding charges," quonsar. I cover the mortgage industry for Bankate.com, and I would be interested in the details of these "holding charges." More info, please.

From what I know, lenders would welcome e-filing because they could sell loans more quickly to the secondary market (and sell mortgage servicing rights more quickly, too). The increased efficiency likely would decrease closing costs to the consumer.
posted by Holden at 10:23 AM on December 23, 2002

I have in the past year bought and (thanks, Alan Greenspan!) refinanced a house in New Jersey and found it to be a quick and painless process, in great part because the procedures are very routine and very well understood by all players (bank, seller's lawyer, buyer's lawyer, mortgage broker, and real estate broker). I can only imagine how messed up the first few years would be on a new system, and how it would add thousands of dollars to the cost of buying or refinancing, to compensate the attorneys for working under a new, doubtless buggy and unevenly understood, system.

Both from my experience as a mortgage consumer, and from my experience as a corporate lawyer closing significantly larger and more complex finance transactions, which nevertheless still have basic elements in common with a real estate financing, I can tell you that the effort to reduce documents to paper, and then to rely upon the paper documents and transmissions of faxes and scans thereafter, is actually a positive process. Electronic documents are constantly subject to change, and the effort to manage them can be titanic.
posted by MattD at 10:35 AM on December 23, 2002

the fact that you never heard of them is irrelevant. the quote is right out of the mouth of the county clerk, who opined that mortgages are more expensive due to the need to hold the paper 45 days. i'll wait until you've understood that...
... ...
ok, lets move right along... assuming he knew what he was talking about (a large assumption) then mortgage firms are recovering this cost from consumers.
... ... ... got it, so far? good!
now, technology eliminates the need for the papers to be held. do mortgage firms immediately lower cost to consumers? in your dreams! we'll let this lesson in elementary capitalist economics sink in for a bit...
... ...

"The increased efficiency likely would decrease closing costs to the consumer."

oops! you weren't paying attention, were you! the increased efficiency of ATM's reduced your banking costs too! yep, losing all those expensive tellers totally altered the landscape of my personal finances, let me tell you! i've never been as grateful for anything in my life, and now electronic deed filing is going to dump even more free money in my pocket! gawd, i'm just delerious with joy!
posted by quonsar at 10:39 AM on December 23, 2002

I didn't think this issue was glamourous enough for Mefi. Is someone trying to legitimately use Metafilter as part of their billable hours?
posted by ParisParamus at 10:47 AM on December 23, 2002

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