Recording costs have always been a variable of nuisance when it comes to buying or selling a new home, refinancing an existing mortgage, or any other type of documents you may need to have recorded with the county’s Register of Deeds office. Why? Each county in the state of Michigan has the ability to set
their own costs, and these costs can vary dramatically from county to county. For example: in Grand Traverse County to recorded a 3-page document will cost you $20.00. $14.00 for the first page, and $3 for each page thereafter. However, that same document downstate in say Oakland County will run $20.00 for the first page, and $2.00 for each additional page, however that price also changes depending on the type of document. Now a 2 or 3-page deed might not seem like big nuisance and generally they are not. The real problem comes to Mortgages. New, refinancing, commercial, constructions, it doesn’t matter the type, mortgages as a whole are the largest issue facing recording fees.
The reason is simple, page count. Every lender is different, each loan is different, hence every mortgage document is different and can vary greatly. Some lenders have reduced their mortgages down to 5 pages, others are 22 pages with text on front and back, so 44 pages in actuality. Now let’s look at that with the 5-page Mortgage in one county could run $26.00, however with that second 22-page mortgage in that same county would climb to $143.00; keeping in mind those costs will also change from county to county. So when quoting costs to a client or anyone looking to buy or sell a home, there is a very large variable that exists. Further, our industries current regulations require us to have very accurate quotes to costs, and even putting financial and legal penalties in place for having quotes outside strict tolerance amount.
The solution? Flat Rate Recording Fee’s. Many states have mandated flat rates on recordings. In these states, the type of document, the number of pages, none of those factors matter as documents will have 1 set price regardless. Michigan is now working towards becoming a flat rate state.
Senate Bill No. 599 has been introduced, and is moving its way through the process of becoming a law. This bill would mandate that all counties in Michigan follow a flat rate of $35.00 for a document to be recorded. It could be 1 page, and could be 50 pages, or even 500 pages, the recording fee would still remain at $35.00. This would be a great tool for both quoting out accurate fee’s, as well as making sure you are staying compliant with the TRID tolerance levels. So far the bill has bipartisan support, and is moving forward through the process. States that have already instituted such rates have received great reviews from both customers using the recording system, as well as from the Registers Offices handling those recordings.
So are we ready to become a flat rate state?