The basis for title research begins with locating relevant data in the public record. In the U.S, that means more than 3,600 recording jurisdictions and thousands more tax records and municipalities. There are differences in media, depth of history, availability practices, and formats. This disparity has created a cottage industry of search specialists nationwide that possess two key attributes for abstracting: knowledge of county practices and physical proximity to records.
If records are not accessible electronically, there is a hard stop for seamless automation. For counties where records are completely electronic, or provided to third-party vendors like Aljannat Title, or where records are available online, there is still a breakdown in automation. For a system to automatically process an instruction, it needs to have consistent data fields. The title industry has made progress with efforts like MISMO, but we do not yet have an ecosystem where all participants speak the same language. As a result, we have a labor-intensive services industry prone to inevitable delays and errors when many “hands” are required to produce a transaction. The problem is that this service model usually requires a significant fixed cost in an industry without predictable revenues.