'You Saved My Son's Inheritance!'

16 March 2013  
How a check of the recorded documents averted a near-disaster.

Good morning! Isn't the weather we've been having during Spring Break absolutely perfect? Hello, this is Gary Edelbrock, and I've been talking to Nancy and Brian Biggs, who remind us how important it is to know all information about the property we own.

"You saved my son's inheritance!"

Those were the words of a recent seller. The seller was within a month of losing his house to an over-looked $329 sewer assessment payment. A law firm and two other real estate agents missed this vital record. Had we not located the record, the house would have been sold to a third party investor for $329! Thankfully, we were able to stop the sale and save the house.

Today's topic is Recorded Documents. The Yavapai County Recorder maintains a permanent database of 'recorded' documents and maps. The Recorder is a veritable gold mine of information regarding properties, yet few people know about it, and fewer people bother to mine its treasures. If something is very important and it relates to property, you can almost guarantee that it will be recorded. Read another way, the Recorder is full of very important documents!

In the situation above, a sewer assessment payment had gone unpaid for a significant amount of time. In order to pay off delinquent assessments, cities or districts reserve the right to sell a property. This is similar to a delinquent property tax sale. In this case, the sewer district held an assessment sale. An investor paid the assessment, and in return, the investor received a Certificate of Sale. The Certificate of Sale gives the investor a deed to the property if the home owner does not repay the assessment within a stated timeframe. In this case, the home owner was given one year to pay the assessment or lose the house.

Legally, the Certificate of Sale must be recorded with the County Recorder, because a recorded document is a guarantee that the home owner (or anybody else) has the ability to know of its existence. The law assumes that everyone knows of its existence regardless of whether they have searched the documents at the Recorder's office. For reasons we will not get into, the owner had no way of knowing about the Certificate of Sale without researching recorded documents. We, however, did research the recorded documents and found the Certificate of Sale in time to pay the delinquent assessment and nullify the sale.

You would be amazed at what you can find in the Recorder's database. We have found highly significant documents that could make or break a sale. We have found Federal Tax Liens affecting property; land sharing agreements; easements; loans that were paid off by the seller, but never released by the bank; and deeds recorded in the wrong county – by a title agency!

So how do you mine this treasure trove? It is actually very simple. Go to http://eweb.co.yavapai.az.us/recorder/eagleweb/docSearch.jsp, or Google Yavapai County Recorder. There are two tabs that allow you to search in various ways. If you know who you are looking for (e.g., the property owner), you can use the 'Basic Document Search' tab. Through the second tab ('Maps, Land Surveys…'), you can search by legal description. Keep in mind that no Recorder or recorded document is perfect. There might be mistakes in filing or typos in the documents, which prevent you from finding them. So, a document might be recorded, and you might not be able to find it, but if you are looking at all, you are way ahead of the curve. Happy hunting!

Nancy and Brian Biggs, Broker/Owners
Prescott Home Realty
1177 Old Chisholm Trail
Dewey, AZ 86327
Nancy's Cell: 928-273-7113
Brian's Cell: 928-273-7112


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Gary Edelbrock

Gary Edelbrock

Kim Horn Realty
(928)-778-0442 Home/Cell
(928)-778-7036 Office
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