Norfolk Registry of Deeds – May Report

From the Norfolk Registry of Deeds, here’s the scoop on real estate activity in our county for May 2017…

“Despite a monthly trend of limited inventory, total real estate sale in May 2017, both residential and commercial, showed a solid 10% increase year over year.

Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell noted, “Surprisingly, Norfolk County real estate sales for May totaled 1,706 compared to 1,554 in May 2016. What was unsurprising is the low number of properties on the market which has given rise to competition, particularly for first-time homeowners, bidding against each other, resulting in healthy increases in both the average sale price and total sales.

“The average sales price for May, again for both residential and commercial, was $766,499, a 14% increase compared to the previous year. Total real estate sales volume increased a whopping 25% for the month coming in at $850 million. In light of the continuing low levels of real estate inventory, it will be interesting to see if this growth can be sustained.”

Lending activity for the month was a different story. A total of 2,426 mortgages were recorded during May, a 14% decrease from the previous year. Total mortgage financing for the month was $1.1 billion, a 3% reduction year over year. “An uptick in mortgage rates,” noted O’Donnell, “triggered these downward numbers. With the Federal Reserve projected to increase rates during the second half of 2017, I see the mortgage lending activity trend lines continuing for the foreseeable future.”

A bright spot for the month of May 2017 was Norfolk County homeowners continuing to take advantage of the Homestead Act. A total of 1,153 Homesteads were filed during May 2017, a 4% increase compared to the previous May. “The Homestead Act,” stated the Register, “is an important consumer tool. A Homestead provides limited protection against the forced sale of a homeowner’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000.”

Additional piece of good news was seen in the area of foreclosure activity. The total number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process was 60, a 28% reduction from the previous year. Foreclosure deed recordings, the final step in the foreclosure process, were flat. A total of 22 foreclosure deeds were processed in May, the same number recorded in May 2016.

“As I have said many times,” noted Register O’Donnell, “one foreclosure filing is one too many. With that said, I am heartened by the reduced foreclosure activity seen in Norfolk County. Please be aware the Registry continues to partner with Quincy Community Action Programs at (617) 479-8181 x-376 and Neighbor Works Southern Mass at (508) 598-0950. These two non-profits are there to help anyone who has received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage from a lender. Another option is to call the Massachusetts Attorney General’s HomeCorps program at (617) 573-5333.”

Register O’Donnell concluded, “Considering where we are in Norfolk County with low real estate inventory, I was pleasantly surprised by the upsurge in May’s real estate sales numbers. However, an important factor we need not overlook is the continued desire of individuals and families to live and work in Norfolk County. The strong quality of life and sound economy in eastern Massachusetts should be able to sustain the local real estate market through the rest of 2017.”

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, 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 at http://www.norfolkdeeds.org. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center at (781) 461-6101, or email us at registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org.

Register William P. O’Donnell

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

email: registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org

phone: 781-234-3336

web: http://www.norfolkdeeds.org”

Norfolk Registry of Deeds – April 2017 Report

From the Norfolk Registry of Deeds, here’s the latest on real estate activity in our county for April…

“A mixed bag of results is the best way to describe real estate activity in Norfolk County for the month of April, according to Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell.
April’s real estate sales fell by 8% year over year. A total of 1,248 properties were sold in April compared to 1,358 in April 2016. However, total dollar volume of real estate sales, both residential and commercial, came in at $774 million for the month, a whopping 56% increase from the same time period in 2016. “This increase was significantly impacted by a $199 million sale of the Windsor Gardens apartment complex in Norwood,” noted O’Donnell.

Lending activity decreased during April , in line with expectations. O’Donnell noted, “Just 1,907 mortgages were recorded in April compared to 2,636 in April 2016, a significant decrease of 28%. In addition, the total amount of borrowing for April was $999 million, a 3% reduction from the same time period in 2016. Clearly, consumers are taking into account the recent rise in interest rates when making a decision to purchase a home. Also, the lack of inventory to sell has impacted the numbers.”

There were also mixed results when it came to April’s foreclosure activity. The bad news: the number of foreclosure deeds doubled last month to 32 compared to 16 during the same time period in 2016. Conversely, the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings, the first step in the foreclosure process, was 48 in contrast to 68 filings in April 2016. This drop off in filings represented a 29% decrease from the previous year.

Register O’Donnell stated, “While I am concerned about the number of foreclosure deed recordings, I was heartened by the significant reduction in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings. It is my hope that the worst of the foreclosure crisis is behind us.”

The Registry continues to work with Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181 x-376, and NeighborWorks Southern Mass, 508-587-0950 to help homeowners who have received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage document. A third option is to contact the Attorney General’s HomeCorps program at 617-573-3333.

Norfolk County homeowners continued to take advantage of the consumer protections offered through the Homestead Act. A total of 855 Homesteads were recorded during April. “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 strongly urge Norfolk County residents to consider this consumer protection tool,” noted O’Donnell.

In conclusion Register O’Donnell stated, “While the economy remains on a solid footing in eastern Massachusetts, the continued low housing inventory levels are having a negative effect on Norfolk County’s real estate market. Prospective homebuyers, particularly first-time homebuyers, are bidding on a limited number of properties. This results in higher sale prices. With regards to the lending market, I see a continued drop-off in lending activity, based on expected interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve through the 2017 calendar year.”

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, 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 at http://www.norfolkdeeds.org. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center at (781) 461-6101, or email us at registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org.

Register William P. O’Donnell 

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

email: registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org

phone: 781-234-3336

web: http://www.norfolkdeeds.org”

Water Conservation In Effect

If you look out the window today (or left your house yesterday), you might be surprised that Franklin’s water conservation measures are in effect as of Monday, April 24. 


Even though we’ve had quite a bit of rain recently, it takes a long time and a lot more rain to replenish our wells and groundwater, which are still depleted from last year’s drought. Franklin’s current conservation measures are minimal and easy to follow (see the sign above), and designed to let that groundwater stock bring itself back up to normal levels. If you live in a nearby town, chances are good your town has enacted similar restrictions, so check with your local Town Hall for more information. In Franklin, check out the town’s website for more information. 

You can also help the Earth out by practicing good water habits at home, like turning the faucet off while you brush your teeth, and checking all your pipes and fixtures for leaks. It’s a good idea to do these things even when we’re not under restriction, to help make sure there’s fresh water for everyone! 

Norfolk Registry of Deeds – 35,000th book printed! 

One of the things I love about Massachusetts is how much history we have here, and it’s especially evident when you work in the real estate field. I’ve seen homes built in the early 1700s that are still being used and loved every day, but if that’s not enough for you, just head down to the Registry of Deeds and check out some of the old land records. 

The Norfolk Registry of Deeds just hit a significant milestone – they’ve printed their 35,000th book! Here’s what the Registry has to say about this event: 

“Celebrating a significant landmark at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, Register William P. O’Donnell today announced the Registry recently completed printing its 35,000th book of recorded land documents.

Register O’Donnell noted, “The printing of our 35,000th book – which includes but are not limited to such documents as deeds, mortgage discharges, and homesteads – is truly a significant milestone and a testament to the volume of work completed day in and day out here at the Registry. It also irretrievably links us to the Registry’s rich history that dates back to 1793, when George Washington was President.
“While we continue to print books, the Registry has embraced cutting edge technology allowing us to record land documents instantaneously. Documents are scanned and available for viewing within 24 business hours of recording at http://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 to be retrieved in the event of a catastrophe.”

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

Concluding his remarks, O’Donnell stated, “The Registry takes its role very seriously to serve as a depository for all recorded Norfolk County land documents, which is approximately 6,000,000 records. While we have embraced the latest technology to improve efficiencies, the printing of books allows us to keep a permanent record of each land document on-site.”

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 http://www.norfolkdeeds.org. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center at (781) 461-6101, or email us at registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org.

Register William P. O’Donnell

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

email: registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org

phone: 781-234-3336

web: http://www.norfolkdeeds.org”

Play ball! 

It’s a Bostonian’s favorite holiday – Red Sox Opening Day! 


If you live in my neighborhood, check your doorknob, because I just got home from delivering the last of my Red Sox season schedule magnets. (If you don’t live in my neighborhood, call me and I can help you fix that!) 

It’s a beautiful spring day for a walk outside, and every time I do this I remind myself I should do it more often. I love my neighborhood and it’s nice to get out and meet everyone and put faces to names. Delivering the Red Sox schedules just gives me a great excuse to do it, and if it helps bring me business somewhere down the road, then it’s a win-win. 

Enjoy your Opening Day, however you plan to celebrate it! 

Norfolk Registry of Deeds – Research Online

From the Norfolk Registry of Deeds, here’s a reminder that you can get all the info you need from the comfort of your own home!

“Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell is providing a friendly reminder to consumers that you don’t have to spend time and money to drive to the Registry to view land records since they are available online via the Registry’s internet-based document research system at http://www.norfolkdeeds.org.”Consumers can see up to 6,000,000 scanned land document images dating back to the founding of Norfolk County in 1793. These documents are available via our internet-based document research system. We are bringing the Registry records into people’s homes and businesses.

“Providing secure, accurate and accessible land record information, coupled with our on-site customer service center, is critical to our success at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds,” said Register O’Donnell.

Elaborating on the Registry’s research capabilities, O’Donnell said, “Land record information can be researched by multiple options, including the name of the property owner and property address. Consumers can access our internet-based document research system for many endeavors such as, to determine property ownership, to research land titles, to review land plans (only plans which are recorded at the Registry) and finally to confirm that documents affecting a person’s property – such as mortgage discharges – have been duly recorded.”

The Registry’s website also provides information on how to obtain copies of land documents. The Registry copy charges are $1.00 per page plus an additional $1.00 per document for postage.

In conclusion, O’Donnell stated, “Providing first-class customer service is a core objective of the Registry. Norfolk County residents and businesses deserve a Registry of Deeds that provides them with access to land record information in an easily accessible and consumer friendly manner. The Registry website http://www.norfolkdeeds.org does that by bringing the Registry records into your homes and businesses.”

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 http://www.norfolkdeeds.org. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center at (781) 461-6101, or email us at registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org.

Register William P. O’Donnell

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

email: registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org

phone: 781-234-3336

web: http://www.norfolkdeeds.org”

New Home Search Site

If you’ve ever searched for a new home online, this conversation is probably familiar to you: 
“You: Hi, Realtor! I found a listing on [that big real estate site that rhymes with “pillow”] that looks really nice! Can you tell me more about it?

Realtor: Unfortunately that home is no longer available. It went under agreement three weeks ago and it’s off the market now. [Or a month, or two, or…]

You: OK, how about this one? 

Realtor: Same deal.”

Unfortunately, many of the big-name real estate websites don’t provide terribly accurate information, which can be frustrating for both you and your Realtor. But now, there’s a better way! My office has just started using a new platform to help our clients with their real estate search needs, and since the information is pulled directly from the MLS, it’s guaranteed to be accurate. Plus, you’re not limited to searching on your desktop; you can download my mobile app for iPhone or Android, so you can search on the go as well. I’ll be able to see your search results so we can work together efficiently to find your brand new home. 

Once you’ve signed up on my site, your conversations with your Realtor will go more like this:

“You: Hi, Kiernan! I found a listing on your site that looks really nice! Can you tell me more about it?

Me: Sure! I think this one would be a great fit for you, and they’re having an open house this Sunday. Let’s go check it out!”

If that sounds more like your speed, check out my new site here, and don’t forget to download my app too. Let’s get started finding your dream home!