One of the most expensive bound pieces of paper most homeowners will own is their property’s abstract.  It might not seem like it since it is just a bunch of paper, but there is so much more to an abstract that makes it so valuable.

What is an Abstract?

An abstract is a legal document that contains the historical list of documents that affect (or have affected) the property’s marketability.  Things such as deeds, mortgages, easements, patents, covenants, etc. are all listed within the abstract.  Abstracts can be just a few pages or can be hundreds of pages depending on the type of property, the number of sales, and the amount of items that affect title. 

Why are Abstracts so Expensive?

Creating and maintaining an abstract is costly.  Abstracts are maintained by abstractors who research and review all of the documentation associated with a property.  This includes combing through the recorder’s office, the clerk of court’s records, treasurer and tax payments, and anything else that might be of interest to a property.  After completing their search, they then shrink down the information into a readable format and list only things that are a part of the property.  Once they do this, they print out the information, attach it to the current abstract (or newly created abstract), certify their work, and ship it to where it needs to go.  This level of detail and expertise is necessary to make sure that the marketability of a home is clean and can be passed from titleholder to titleholder with ease and perfection.

    Where Should I Store my Abstract?

    Whenever you sell a property, the seller will need to give the abstract to the new buyer.  This is why it is so important to know where your abstract is at all times. 

    Here is a list of the best places to keep your abstract:

    • Abstracting Office
      • Some abstract offices will store abstracts for clients free of charge.  This is the absolute best place for an abstract because if something happens to it in their possession, they will cover the costs to replace the abstract.
    • Safety Deposit Box
      • Safety deposit boxes are where most clients keep their abstracts if the local abstract company will not store it for you.  Safety deposit boxes are held at a bank, are lockable, secure, and typically have some insurance associated with them.
    • Fire Proof Safe
      • If you must keep your abstract at home, a fireproof safe is your best option.  This way your abstract stays safe, dry and in case anything happens to your home, it could stay safe.

    Keeping your abstract in a drawer, moving tote, or something similar is completely up to you, but keeping it safe should be at the top of your list.  Creating a new abstract could cost as much as $850-$1000 or more, so figure out if the risk is worth it to you.

    Need help finding your abstract?  Give us a call today.  We can help tell you some of the places that your abstract could be because sometimes remembering where you stored it years ago can be just as hard as moving!