Norfolk Registry of Deeds – January 2017 Report

Fresh from the Norfolk Registry of Deeds, here’s the Register’s report on real estate activity for the beginning of 2017!

“Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported a good but not spectacular start to 2017 Norfolk County real estate scene. While sales volume exhibited a modest increase, lending activity showed solid gains in both the number of mortgages recorded and the overall amount of money lent to home and business owners.

During the month of January 2017, the total volume of residential and commercial real estate sales increased by 3% to $532 million from the previous January. The average sale price, again including both residential and commercial, did not show any statistical change from January 2016. The average sale price for the month was $678,916. Register O’Donnell noted, “While the number did not pop, Norfolk County did hold its own.”

On the other hand, lending activity was more robust in January than compared to one year ago with a total of 2,282 mortgages recorded, a significant 15% increase from the previous year. “What these numbers prove,” stated O’Donnell, “is that consumers and business people continue to take advantage of relatively low interest rates in a historical context. Some of the increase in mortgage activity may also be tied to interest rates starting to creep up.” In addition, total mortgage lending in January increased an eye-popping 131% to $1.7 billion. This figure was influenced by a $573 million mortgage taken out against Quincy property in early January.

Norfolk County foreclosure activity was a mixed bag in January. The bad news was 30 foreclosure deeds were filed compared to 15 the previous January, a 100% increase. The good news was a significant decrease in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings, the first step in the foreclosure process. A total of 41 Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings were recorded in January compared to 97 in January, 2016.

Register O’Donnell noted, “As I have stated many times, one foreclosure deed filing is one too many. However, I do continue to be encouraged by the trend lines relative to foreclosure activity. As we saw in the 4th quarter 2016, there continues to be a reduction in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings, which could have been triggered by the state’s low unemployment rate of 2.8%, the lowest in 16 years.

“With that said, some of our neighbors do continue to face economic hardship. The Registry continues to partner with Quincy Community Action Programs at (617) 479-8181 x-376 and NeighborWorks Southern Mass at (508) 598-0950 to help anyone who has received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage from a lender. Another option for consumers is to call the Massachusetts Attorney General’s HomeCorps program at (617) 573-5333. I urge anyone who is facing a foreclosure issue to avail themselves of these excellent programs.”

However, a source of good news was Norfolk County homeowners continuing to avail themselves of the Homestead Act. “A Homestead,” stated O’Donnell, “provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. I urge homeowners who have not recorded a Homestead against their primary residence to consider this valuable consumer protection tool.”

In conclusion, Register O’Donnell stated, “Overall, when considering all the indicators January was a good month for real estate activity in Norfolk County. The county held its own relative to property sales. Additionally, homeowners continue to avail themselves of the relatively low interest rates. As long as the economy remains sound, I am hopeful that the Norfolk County real estate market can gain further momentum.”

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

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, located at 649 High Street, Dedham, is the principal office for real property in Norfolk County. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center at (781) 461-6101, or on the web atwww.norfolkdeeds.org.

Register William P. O’Donnell

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

Norfolk Registry of Deeds – Protect Your Homestead

From the Norfolk Registry of Deeds, here’s some valuable information about homestead protection…

“Stating that for many people their house is the most important financial asset, Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell today reminded homeowners about filing for Homestead protection.

Under Massachusetts law, a Homestead recording provides for limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000.  
“Protecting one’s primary residence is a key objective for all homeowners,” noted Register O’Donnell. “If you own a home and it is your principle residence, one way to protect your home’s asset is to file a Homestead. The Homestead law also allows the filing of an Elderly Homestead application, defining elderly as a person who is 62 years of age or older. This protection can be increased if the elderly couple files jointly. ” 
Register O’Donnell further stated, “One of the major changes under the 2011 Homestead Law passed by the Massachusetts Legislature is that a valid homestead cannot be terminated when refinancing a mortgage. Another clarification of the statute is that a Homestead can provide protections for a primary home kept in trust. Primary residence can also include a manufactured or mobile home.”
It is important to note there are certain debts that are exempted from protection under the Homestead Act, such as 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.
Filing a homestead application at the Registry has become a popular consumer protection. “Last year,” stated O’Donnell, “There were approximately 12,500 Homesteads filed at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds in 2016, a 4% increase over the previous year.”
Homestead recordings can be filed at the Registry of Deeds for a state imposed fee of $36.00. To find out more about the Homestead law, or to get a free application, please go online to the registry’s website at http://www.norfolkdeeds.org or contact the Registry’s Customer Service Center at 781-461-6101.
Register O’Donnell concluded, “It is important to make clear that a Homestead protects consumers against the forced sale of their primary owned residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. While the debt is still owed, homeowners will at least have the comfort of knowing that with a Homestead filed at the Registry of Deeds, their primary residence cannot be forcibly sold to satisfy most debts.”
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, located at 649 High Street, Dedham is the principal office for real property in Norfolk County. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or on the web at http://www.norfolkdeeds.org.”

SAFE Coalition Narcan Training – February 15, 2017

Those of you who know me personally know that I don’t take myself too seriously. However, there’s a serious issue facing our communities here in Massachusetts, and I think it’s important to bring attention to it and help out in any way we can. I’m talking about the opioid epidemic, and fortunately, there’s a fantastic group here in the Franklin area that’s working to combat it. (Watch this space for more info on this group soon!)

The SAFE Coalition, together with the Franklin Fire Department, Franklin Police Department, and Brockton Area Multi-Services Inc. (BAMSI), will be hosting a life-saving training session on February 15, 2017 at the Franklin Fire Department (40 West Central St.). Drop in any time from 4 to 8 PM to receive training in the use of Narcan, a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. At 4 PM, 5:15 PM, and 6:30 PM, hands-on CPR training will also be provided. If you’d like to attend one of the CPR classes, please register by emailing the SAFE Coalition at info @ safecoalitionma.com with your name and desired class time. No registration is necessary for the Narcan training, and both Narcan and CPR training are free of charge.

I know I say “don’t miss out” about pretty much every local event I feature on this blog, but I really mean it in this case. This class could give you the power to save someone’s life, so please, take advantage of it!

Norfolk Registry of Deeds – 2016 Highlights

From the Norfolk Registry of Deeds, here’s a look back at the highlights of 2016…

“It was a year where history came alive, consumer milestones were reached and legislative successes were achieved,” noted Register William P. O’Donnell in referring to the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds operation in 2016.

The Register noted that in 2016, the Registry was indeed an extraordinarily busy time when it came to real estate transactions. The Registry collected more that $55 million dollars in revenue and recorded more than 160,000 transactions, including processing approximately 12,500 homestead applications, a 4% increase from 2015.

The Registry in 2016 also hit a couple of milestones. The first was its completion of its 34,000th book of land transactions. “Today for the sake of security and convenience,” noted Register O’Donnell, “we maintain documents in 3 forms; hard copy, electronically and on microfilm and our materials are backed up and stored 3 different ways.”

On the consumer front, the Registry reached its 500th subscriber milestone for its Consumer Notification Program. The free program allows any county resident to opt in and be alerted when any document is recorded against their name. To sign-up, please see the Registry’s website at www.norfolkdeeds.org.

One of the programs brought online this year that the Registry is quite proud of is its “History Comes Alive” transcription project. The initiative, the first of its kind for a New England Registry, makes land recorded documents written in the 18th and 19th centuries in the old cursive handwriting style much easier to read by converting the words to text. This is a great breakthrough for historical commissions and societies as well as genealogists who want to trace their family’s history. Famed historian David McCullough sent a note to Register O’Donnell expressing his belief that this project was, “a large and important contribution.”

Register O’Donnell noted that public accessibility is a key focal point to the Registry’s operation. “In 2016, you didn’t need to come to the Registry to get your work done. You could view all documents online from your home or work computer. Additionally, we have added resources to our Customer Service Center which you can call from 8:30AM to 4:30PM,MondayFriday at 781-461-6101.”

In 2016, the Registry focused on upgrading its computer security network, along with educating its workforce not to fall victim to a cyber-attack. On the capital improvement side, it also made several extensive renovations to its historic building opened in 1903.

Register O’Donnell noted that the Massachusetts Registries of Deeds were the recipients of 3 major victories on Beacon Hill in the last year. “We were able to have our tech fund extended through the year 2020 which pays for our projects and initiatives. We were also able to provide input to the Legislature with regards to the Public Records Law so that we can remain responsive and cost efficient in our operations. Lastly, the Governor just signed into law legislation designed to modernize and make more cost efficient how Registries store their vast documentation.”

The Register concluded by stating, “The year 2016 was a productive and pivotal one for the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds. What was accomplished last year will only make us better equipped to meet the challenges of 2017.”

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

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, located at 649 High Street, Dedham, is the principal office for real property in Norfolk County. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center at (781) 461-6101, or on the web at www.norfolkdeeds.org.

Register William P. O’Donnell

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

Small Business Administration Workshop – January 25, 2017

Do you own a small business in the Franklin area? Thinking about starting one? If so, don’t miss the upcoming workshop on the Small Business Administration!

This Wednesday, January 25, from 9-11 AM, come to the Franklin Municipal Building to learn more about the various programs and services the SBA has to offer. From Guaranty Loan programs and government contracting opportunities to the Center for Women and Enterprise and the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, you’ll leave with all the information you need about the resources that can help your business flourish.

This event is free, and you can RSVP by clicking here. Don’t miss out!

2017 Reader’s Choice Awards

It’s that time of year again! The voting is open for the 2017 Wicked Local Reader’s Choice Awards.

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This is a great opportunity for you to show your appreciation for your favorite local businesses, and once the results are out, it’s a great way to find some new favorites! To vote, just click on the link above. Don’t forget that you need to vote in at least ten categories for your votes to be counted, so be generous and creative and share your opinions freely.

Voting is open until February 15 at 5:00 PM, so get started and have fun!

Franklin Ranked #4 in Nation for Safety

New rankings from NeighborhoodScout are out, and once again, Franklin’s near the top! Ranked the fourth safest city in the entire nation, Franklin also leads the Boston-area contenders (three of which made the top ten). Thanks to our hard-working police and other city officials who help to keep us that way!

Every year, NeighborhoodScout looks at the number of property and violent crimes per 1,000 residents in cities of 25,000 or more to create their final rankings. With 4.53 crimes per 1,000 residents, Franklin’s considered safer than 93% of cities in the United States.

Check out the full report on Franklin here, and if you’re looking to make Franklin your home, give me a call!