County recorder revamps document search system

A new search system for Montgomery County property records that was developed in-house and will be maintained by the county stands to save taxpayers nearly $250,000 over the next four years, according to the Recorder’s Office.
A new search system for Montgomery County property records that was developed in-house and will be maintained by the county stands to save taxpayers nearly $250,000 over the next four years, according to the Recorder’s Office.

Credit: Montgomery County Recorder's Office

Credit: Montgomery County Recorder's Office

A new search system for Montgomery County property records that was developed in-house and will be maintained by the county stands to save taxpayers nearly $250,000 over the next four years, according to the Recorder’s Office.

RISS, short for Recorder’s Information Search System, went live April 1 on the recorder’s website and replaces a system that cost the county roughly $60,000 a year in maintenance fees paid to an outside vendor, said Montgomery County Recorder Brandon McClain.

“Looking at the backdrop of where we are economically as a community and as a county, I felt it was best we tried to do things when possible in-house,” McClain said. “The most beneficial aspect was the taxpayer savings and then, secondly, creating a system that was more efficient.”

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The county has more than 253,000 parcels of property and each time an owner takes out a mortgage, refinances one or pays it off, a new document is recorded. When a mortgage changes hands between lenders, a document called an assignment is also recorded at the office.

Users can search records by name, document types or within municipalities and subdivisions along with other criteria at https://riss.mcrecorder.org.

McClain said the county spent $15,000 on new scanners, validators and a one-time software license for the new system, which will be maintained by the county’s Data Processing Department.

The new RISS will eventually allow staff to take credit card payments when individuals file documents in person at the County Administration Building, McClain said.

The Recorder’s Office implemented an electronic filing system last August to limit exposure to COVID-19 and streamline document filings that increased in a real estate market unfettered by the pandemic.

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McClain said the office experienced a “monstrous 2020.”

County records show that 20,093 mortgages were filed in 2020, a 24% increase over the 16,155 filed in 2019. Mortgage releases jumped 35%, from 16,603 in 2019 to 22,354 in 2020.

“I attribute it to the low interest rates. Obviously, our housing market is on fire; that has not wavered and has remained consistently a top-tier housing market,” he said. “Our economy has remained strong amidst the pandemic here in Montgomery County.”

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