Title Plant – Ever Hear of It?
Have you ever wondered how records were kept with Real Estate? The answer is a Title Plant. By definition a title plant is,
Also known as abstract plants, title plants are used as the basis for title insurance policy issuance. The records show all the instruments connected to a piece of land within the county going back 25 years or more.
These are what your Title Company uses to insure your property. What many are not aware of is that this information is available online. You can also have an xml feed updated by the courthouse from these title plants.
How Much Does it Cost?
I will let everyone choose their own provider without recommendation since there are multiple available. I have used one that charges $100/month. I received the first 100 records as part of my subscription. Each record thereafter varied in price depending on volume.
You are allowed to resell this data in a couple of ways…
- Have the information updated directly on your website via xml feed (mls to zillow is an xml feed)
- Purchase data records as you go, the pay as you go option
At the lowest starter rate per record I found prior to using a title plant varied between $.10-.25 a record that did not include physical data about the property. Including physical data is an extra charge per record but available. Depending on the amount of records requested each month the rate decreased to $.03 per record.
Where Do the Records Come From?
These are the same records you are purchasing from online providers like ListSource. These data providers have contracts with each municipality to purchase their records. Unfortunately, we are no longer in an era that requires a physical check of records.
These records are only as accurate as the county clerks that enter the information since each Title Plant receives the information via xml spreadsheet.
If you ever wonder why records might not be accurate or up-to-date, there is your answer. The feeds are updated weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, and annually depending on the courthouse. If you are buying lists it only helps to call the courthouse or visit to find out how often the feed is updated. If you’re buying records from a feed that is updated twice a year the chances of your records being accurate decrease substantially.
It is good practice to check with your courthouse prior to purchasing property records. You will receive answers that you would expect when asking how often it is updated. The clerks will tell you every day but the majority of them won’t be aware the records are sold on an xml spreadsheet. You will likely be transferred a couple of times before you find the person that knows the answer. It’s worth it considering you are about to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on this information.
You should never be afraid to ask questions when you are spending money. That is money you earned and can now spend. The person providing the answer is earning their money to spend. It’s a two way street, always.