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Clerk/Register Of Deeds
Karen A. Spranger
120 N Main, Mount Clemens, MI 48043
(586) 469-5120

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

July 27, 2016

Scammers beware: committing real estate fraud in Macomb County is harder thanks to improved real estate records alerts and search technology

It just got harder to commit real estate fraud in Macomb County, thanks to improvements in technology that make potential fraud easier to detect, unveiled today by the Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds. The Macomb County Clerk said the system will also benefit renters, who can get alerts if the home they rent is sold, or if a landlord lets a property go into foreclosure for non-payment of taxes or mortgage.

This week the Macomb County Clerk launched an improvement to the search tool on her website called the “super index.” The improvement makes it easier for homeowners to be alerted when documents are recorded regarding their real estate. It also makes it easier to search the database of millions of records. This helps property owners ensure they are not the victim of conmen who seek to fraudulently claim property ownership, or file a second mortgage or lien against a property. The Macomb County Clerk has made protecting private property rights as easy as doing a Google Search.

“I want to make Macomb County real estate transactions the safest in the nation, and protect private property rights, by reducing the risk of real estate fraud,” said the Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds. “We are protecting the American Dream for those who choose to Make Macomb Your Home.”

A Mortgage Fraud Report published on the FBI website states, “Mortgage fraud schemes are particularly resilient, and they readily adapt to economic changes and modifications in lending practices.” The 2010 FBI report states Michigan as one of the top 10 states for mortgage fraud.

The improvements unveiled by the Macomb County Clerk today include fraud alerts that can be created from super index real estate records search results, unlike any other county’s system. The upgrade also includes a truly mobile experience for those using tablets and smartphones, enabling anyone at a real estate closing to quickly confirm whether additional relevant documents have been recorded. It also includes layout options for both individual and commercial users, letting people search faster by seeing more search results at a time.

“I really like the new “Tabular View” of the super index. It provides an easier to read list of recorded documents that can be examined more quickly to find what I’m looking for,” said Clark A. Andrews, Attorney, O'Reilly Rancilio P.C.

The alerts give people an easy way to receive an email based on a buyer’s or seller’s name, a property tax identification number, or even a property address. An email notice is sent if a document is recorded matching the criteria selected. Common examples of real estate alerts that might be helpful include: a renter creating an alert to get a foreclosure notice if the landlord does not pay property taxes or a mortgage; or, a person setting an alert to find out if a second mortgage or lien is recorded on their home or an elderly parent’s home; or, even commercial real estate professionals who want to monitor whether anything is recorded that could cloud the title on a pending real estate deal.

Unlike some other county real estate systems that also have alerts, Macomb County’s new alerts are not limited to only searching buyer and seller names. Macomb County’s alerts can be based on multiple criteria, such as a name and address. Macomb County’s real estate alerts are very easy to create.

The Macomb County Clerk first launched the super index in 2012. It was the first of it’s kind. The Macomb County Clerk believes it is the most efficient property records search system, and the hardest place to hide real estate fraud, in the nation. The super index was recognized by the National Association of Counties and the Google Government Innovator program, was featured by the County Recorders Association of California, and was copied by other counties across the nation.

The Macomb County Clerk said the super index protects against the kind of mortgage fraud detected a few years ago in which banks foreclosed on properties without possessing the proper legal documents or had fictitious notaries. Macomb County’s Register of Deeds system makes it possible to search real estate documents for potentially fraudulent witness or notary names, which is impossible in most county records systems without doing a manual search of millions of records.

The improved technology the Macomb County Clerk announced today allows searches for millions of pieces of property data, with results produced in seconds. Over 7 million records from 1818 to the present are searchable on the system. Searches and limited information are free. The cost to view a real estate document is $6.

The super index is made possible by Google Search Appliance technology and the Xerox land records system.

The improved Macomb County Register of Deeds super index real estate search link is http://deeds.macombgov.org.

This is not the only improvement to real estate records introduced by the Macomb County Clerk.

  • The Macomb County Clerk was recently joined by County Treasurer Derek Miller to provide consumer alerts via U.S. Mail to homeowners whenever a real estate document is recorded. This provides homeowners with early information about potential fraud, and homeowners do not need a computer to receive the protection of the consumer protection alerts. The Macomb County Clerk is the only county register of deeds in Michigan to offer homeowners this protection, and may be the only one in the nation to provide a U.S. Mail notification to homeowners whenever any document is recorded regarding a person’s real estate.
  • Created an online entry book, which has been called, “[T]he single most important step undertaken in the last several decades by any register in this state to stem the tide of real estate fraud.”
  • Makes it easier for homeowners to save their homes from mortgage foreclosure by being one of only three Michigan county registers of deeds to provide a mortgage redemption service that calculates the amount to be paid to redeem a home from foreclosure.

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