Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, readers! In the spirit of the holiday (pun very much intended), I’ve got some spooky real estate information for you…

hauntedhouse

It’s a common misconception that real estate agents are required to disclose whether someone has died in a particular home, or whether it’s been the location of a crime. In some areas, that’s true, but not here in Massachusetts; if the agent is aware of it, he or she isn’t legally required to spill the beans. That being said, my personal rule of thumb is that if I know about a death, a crime, or something else notorious about the home you’re looking at, I will tell you about it. If it’s something that you’d want to know about, I’d rather have you hear it from me than from your new neighbors when they bring over a plate of cookies after you’ve moved in.

However, Realtors don’t know everything, and that’s where the Internet comes in. For a small fee, a website called DiedInHouse.com will search public records (such as death certificates, police records, and more) related to a particular address, so you can find out if anyone died in that home, or even if it’s been the site of any meth lab activity. I haven’t used it myself, so I can’t speak to its accuracy, but if you plan to use it, note that one article about it states that its data currently only goes back to the 1980s, and it only works for addresses in the United States. If you do try it out, please drop me a line and let me know what you thought! (Hat tip to my buddy Mike, who alerted me to the existence of this site.)

Happy haunting!

Vote Early

Massachusetts is trying something new this year – early voting!


Between now and November 4, you can vote at the Town Clerk’s office here in Franklin, and they even have special extended hours (for voting only) on some days. If you want to avoid the lines and signs on Election Day, here’s the voting schedule for Franklin:

Thursday, October 27: 8 AM-7 PM

Friday, October 28: 8 AM-1 PM

Saturday, October 29: 8 AM-1 PM

Monday, October 31: 8 AM-4 PM

Tuesday, November 1: 8 AM-4 PM

Wednesday, November 2: 8 AM-7 PM

Thursday, November 3: 8 AM-7 PM

Friday, November 4: 8 AM-1 PM

I voted today and the process was quick and easy, so take advantage of the opportunity to vote early if you can! If you’re not in Franklin, just check your town’s website for information on early voting locations and hours. 

Filing Mortgage Discharges

So you’ve paid off your mortgage – congratulations! One of the best feelings in the world is knowing you own your home free and clear. But don’t celebrate just yet; there may be one more critical piece of paperwork you need to take care of before everything’s legally squared away. I’m talking about the mortgage discharge, which is a document from your lender confirming that the mortgage has been paid off and the loan officially discharged.

Check out the information below from the Norfolk Registry of Deeds about mortgage discharges, and don’t hesitate to contact them or your friendly local Realtor if you have any questions!

“Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell today reminded homeowners about the importance of filing a mortgage discharge in a timely manner after their mortgage has been paid off.

Register O’Donnell stated, “One of the most commonly asked questions I receive on a daily basis from homeowners is whether they have clear title to their property. One way to check on your title is by accessing the Registry’s online records and verifying if all mortgages associated with the property have been discharged.”

The Register went on to say, “When a mortgage is paid off, a mortgage discharge document needs to be recorded with the Registry of Deeds to clear a homeowner’s property title relative to that loan. A discharge is a document (typically one page) issued by the lender, usually with a title such as “Discharge of Mortgage” or “Satisfaction of Mortgage.”

In many instances stated O’Donnell, “Discharges are sometimes filed directly by banks or settlement closing attorneys with the Registry as part of a property sale or as a result of a refinancing transaction. In other cases, the mortgage discharge is sent to the property owner who becomes responsible for making sure the document is recorded at the Registry. Whether or not a discharge is recorded by the lending institution or the individual property owner, it is prudent that the property owner make sure that all necessary documents have been recorded at the Registry of Deeds.”

The Register further mentioned that there have been cases where no discharge has been recorded against a long paid off mortgage. Unfortunately, some of the lending institutions that provided funds for these mortgages are no longer in existence. In most other cases, financial entities have merged with another lending entity. “You cannot sell your property without having your mortgage discharged,” the Register warned.

If a property owner needs to retrieve an original discharge of a mortgage and is unclear which lending institution is now responsible for providing the document, an option is to contact the Massachusetts Division of Banks at 1-800-495-2265. This government agency can assist the consumer in tracking down contact information for the lending institution that is responsible for the mortgage.

When recording a discharge, the original document is required. The Registry of Deeds does not accept photo copies or faxed copies of documents. The filing fee, set by state statute, is $76.00.

In conclusion O’Donnell stated, “After paying off all the mortgages on their property, homeowners want to be assured that they have clear title to their property, especially if they are contemplating selling. Being diligent and aware of what is required will go a long way in giving the homeowner peace of mind. Therefore, I once again urge homeowners to make sure their mortgage discharge has been filed with the Registry of Deeds once their mortgage has been paid off. There is no reason to wait.”

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is staffed with a team of customer service representatives who can be reached Monday through Friday, 8:30AM-4:30PM at 781-461-6101. These representatives have been trained in researching documents and are well versed on the subject of mortgage discharges and what, if necessary, needs to done to clear title to a property.”

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/orInstagram.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

 

Franklin Halloween Parties

If your neighborhood’s not the best for trick or treating (whether that’s because of a lack of streetlights and sidewalks, houses too far apart, or just full of people who give out bad candy), you have a couple of other options in Franklin this year!

treat-clipart-halloween3

On Thursday, October 27, from 4 to 6 PM, you can check out the Franklin Public Library‘s free Halloween Party, with crafts, prizes, games, and pizza. If you come in costume, you can join the parade and get the chance to win an award from the local celebrity judges! Scariest, cutest, and funniest costumes are just some of the categories with a chance to win. The Library is still in its temporary home at 25 Kenwood Circle in Franklin, so don’t get lost.

If you can’t make it to the library party, stop by the Franklin Police Department’s Halloween Party on Sunday, October 30. From 3 to 7 PM, the Police Department will become the “Hall of Justice,” complete with superheroes and villains, and there will be face painting, a bouncy house, and a “spooky trail,” among other entertainments! This event is also free, but donations to the Franklin Food Pantry will be gratefully accepted. The police station is located at 911 Panther Way in Franklin.

Research Deeds Online

Did you know that you don’t have to go all the way to Dedham to do research at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds? It’s true – you can access the Registry online! Here’s the scoop from the Register himself…

“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 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.

“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 (not plot plans which are not 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 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 atfacebook.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 at (781) 461-6101, or on the web atwww.norfolkdeeds.org.

Register William P. O’Donnell

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

If you need to research deeds in a different Massachusetts county, just about all of them have similar online research capabilities. Just visit Mass Land Records and click on the county you need, and if you need help or advice, give me a call!

#ShopFranklin Small Business Showcase – November 17

Save the date because you do not want to miss this event! On Thursday, November 17, Franklin’s Center for Adult Education and Community Learning is partnering with #ShopFranklin to bring us a Small Business Showcase. 


Stop by the Franklin High School cafeteria from 5 PM – 8:30 PM for this fantastic free event. Our independently owned local businesses will be providing demonstrations and displays, food, and musical entertainment by local ensembles, and you’ll also have the opportunity to participate in a round table discussion about small business in Franklin. And if that’s not enough, you’ll have the chance to enter to win several raffles! 

If you’re a business owner interested in participating, just call the Center for Adult Education and Community Learning at (508) 613-1480, or email Sarah Mabardy at shopfranklin @ gmail.com. See you there! 

Franklin Library Book Sale – October 15-16

It’s getting chilly out there – perfect timing to grab some new reading material and snuggle up by the fire with a good book! 

Fortunately, the Franklin Public Library has you covered. Check out their book sale tomorrow from 9 AM-3 PM for books for a dollar, and if you can’t make it tomorrow, you have a second chance Sunday from 9 AM to noon to fill a bag for $5! 

Don’t forget, our library has a new temporary home at 25 Kenwood Circle in Franklin, so come on by this weekend and pick up some great new tales to get you through the fall.