October 7, 2015
by Scott W. Neal
Orlans Associates, P.C. – USFN Member (Michigan)
The numerous Michigan Register of Deeds offices currently charge per page when recording documents. Traditionally, the first page costs $14, while all following pages cost $3. This creates uncertainty when providing consumers with a closing statement. It is difficult to predict actual figures for the cost of recording mortgages, notes, and other related documents at closing.
The number of pages will vary depending upon the length of the legal description (which those of us in the industry know can be as short as a sentence or as long as a story), the size of the paper that is used, the number of people who must sign the document, the quantity of notary blocks required, and so on. Mortgages tend to be about sixteen pages in length, but this can change if there are riders (such as a condominium rider) or lengthy legal descriptions. These variations often cause closing statements to need amendment and, occasionally, for refunds to be given.
Moreover, effective August 1, 2015, new CFPB regulations require that consumers are provided with certain exact recording charges as part of the “Closing Disclosure” document. With the laws in Michigan currently as they stand, this will present a potential area of conflict unless change happens. It seems that the rational adjustment would be for Michigan to adopt a fixed, flat fee for recording documents with the Register of Deeds. Many states have already implemented flat fees successfully. Michigan will likely follow suit in light of these new CFPB regulations as well as the needs of lenders and borrowers.
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