Friday, March 10, 2023

Title Lock? Try File Activity Notification System - It's Free!

You don't need to spend money to monitor filings.

I noted before that Newt Gingrich was selling fear on Cable Television (which only old people watch anymore). Some "Sovereign Citizen" is going to file a bogus title document and steal your home out from under you!  If only it was that easy - every home in America would be stolen by now.

The reality is, if someone did try to file a bogus deed to your property, they still would not own it.  It might be a hassle to sort it out, but not impossible.  And the "Title Lock" companies, despite their name, do not actually lock titles.  For an annual fee, they agree to check to see if anyone has filed any documents relating to your property and then notify you, at which point, it is up to you (and your lawyer) to sort things out.

So these services are not a scam, just an unnecessary service that you probably don't need.

I was searching tax records online - it is amazing how many properties are tax delinquents and how many actually go to tax auction every year.  Yes, you can bid on such properties, but if they are encumbered by a mortgage, you would still have to pay that off.  And even if you "won" the auction, the owner would have a year to "cure" the defect and pay the back-taxes.  No one is giving away free houses.

But while I was searching for this, I came across a service called FANS - File Activity Notification System.  Once you log in (with your e-mail address and a login code sent to your e-mail address) you can enter names and addresses and the system will notify you if anything is filed in your name or address:

The Filing Activity Notification System (FANS),, is designed to offer individuals the ability to receive a notification when certain real estate and personal property records are filed with, indexed, and data is transmitted by Clerks of Superior Court throughout the state of Georgia.

Individuals may opt-in to this voluntary system designed to send an electronic notification of the filing and of a document in select official county records when document index data entered and transmitted to the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority by the Clerk matches the notification criteria you set. All notifications will only be forward-looking and generated for a document filed and index data received after the date the user creates a notification request.

All user notifications generated by the system are entirely dependent upon index data entered and transmitted by the Clerk of Superior Court in the county of filing. As a result, any notices generated by this system are not guaranteed by the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority to be either comprehensive, accurate, complete, or current. The user of the system acknowledges these conditions as well as additional conditions and restrictions related to the type of notifications the user may define and the general terms and conditions of this website.
That is the only flaw in the system - it only works if your County is part of the Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority.  If they didn't opt-in to this system (and not all Counties have) then you may not receive notices.  Also, if there is a typo in the address or name submitted, it may not match up with your search criteria.   However, it is a free service, so you can't beat that.

Whether they have this in other States, I do not know.  The best course of action is to not obsess about things like this, though.  Despite what Newt Gingrich says, your house is not going to be stolen out from under you.  Well, unless you got one of those reverse mortgages advertised by Tom Selleck!

You know what?  Whether it is Newt, or Tom, or "The Fonz", maybe it is just a bad idea to buy things off the television that are endorsed by washed-up celebrities.

Just a thought.