Explanation of the Abstracting Process in Oklahoma

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Judi Barrett~Integrity Real Estate Services~Idabel, Oklahoma
http://actvra.in/49Jd

Oklahoma is an abstracting state.  Since many of our buyers come from out-of-state,  states where they do not own an actual "hard copy" abstract of title to the property that they own, they have a blank look on their face when I mention an abstract of title.

 

When I ask them if they know what an abstract is, 99% of the time, the answer is "no". 

Every state has some form of "abstracting" or "title search".  It may be called a "title report" "title search" , "title exam", or "evidence of title", and some states do actually call it "abstractng".  In Oklahoma, there usually is a hard copy "abstract' that passes to the buyers of the property from the sellers. 

THE ABSTRACT is a "book" made up of bound photocopies of all documents that have been filed on a particular legal description, these documents can affect the chain of title or ownership of that piece of property.The abstract is a complete histoy of a legal description's chain of title. This abstract has monetary value.  Up until recently the cost was based upon the number of pages and the price of an abstract could run into the thousands of dollars.  McCurtain and Choctaw Counties have both changed to a price structure based upon length of time since the abstract's last certification, this has reduced the price of the abstracting process for many land owners. Abstracts must be prepared by Licensed Abstract Offices.  Those permits and liceses are obtained from the State Of Oklahoma.  Abstracts are prepared in McCurtain County by Southern Abstract in Idabel.  Abstracts are prepared in Choctaw County by Choctaw County Abstracting and Title in Hugo Oklahoma. 

Currently, from what I've read, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Maryland  are the only states that deal with abstracts that are hard copies of the actual documents, bound together into booklet form and quite valuable to the owner of the property because the Oklahoma "ABSTRACT" must be read by an attorney to determine marketability of a title before title insurance can be issued on that property. 

Many history buffs greatly value their "abstracts" for the historical reading..  it can be quite interesting to read through an abstract.. Base abstracts in Southeast Oklahoma usually go back to the "Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek". 

They contain such interesting and "juicy" documents as divorces, judgments, liens, probates, mortgages, and deeds (sometimes the older documents were much more interesting than our current ones because they might actually spell out why a piece of property was deeded back and forth between the same two people 5 times). 

Another interesting thing is the sale price of properties and the mortgage amounts from 100 years ago!  They seems so very small in comparison to the amounts of today. Of course we know that in true dollars that's not the case.

I have had some buyers exhibit more excitement over owning their abstract than their new home as they sat there and read through some of the documents.. I'm sure that they were really more excited about their new home but the exuberance came forth from reading the abstract!

Abstract of Titles have a certification page as the last page of the abstract, where the abstractor signs off on the abstract, certifying it.  It contains the signature and date of the abstractor.

The Oklahoma Abstractors Board's website has a lot of information on it about the abstracting process in Oklahoma.  The Oklahoma Abstractors act is contained here and details the time period that abstracting plant must operate within to prepare your abstract.  There is also information on filing a complaint if that becomes necessary. 

Abstract Law Reform of 2007 dealt with these things and also made a major change in the issuance of title insurance.  The reform of 2007 allows a title insurance policy to be based upon a supplemental abstract if that supplemental abstract goes back to the prior owner's issuance of title insurance.  Prior to this time the complete base abstract had to be read each time that a title policy was issued.

 

After the Abstract is brought up to date, it goes to an attorney for his opinion of marketability of the title. This is necesssary to determine marketability of title and for the issuance of title insurance.. That's next in this series.

If you're thinking of selling or buying a home, land, or commercial real estate in Southeast Oklahoma (McCurtain County and Choctaw County), you owe it to yourself to hire a professional, someone knowedgeable and honorable... Call me, Judi Barrett and let's talk about your needs. We care.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user bionicteaching made avaialble through creative commons licensing.

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Ambassador
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Bob Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Owasso, OK
www.BobHaywood.com

Judi - I don't get it.  BTY, did you call me the other day?  I think I missed your call.  Sorry

Oct 08, 2009 07:01 PM #1
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Judi K Barrett
Judi Barrett~Integrity Real Estate Services~Idabel, Oklahoma - Idabel, OK
Broker/Owner, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDAB

Hi Bob, Don't get what?  No, don't think so.... Did you call and ask me to? If so, I guess I missed it.   How are things?  This post is written for those out of state buyers that have not owned abstracts to their property. Our out-of-state buyers enjoy getting lots of info from us, including information about abstracts.

Oct 08, 2009 08:26 PM #2
Rainmaker
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Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC, e-PRO

Judi

If I would buy a home in Oklahoma I would use an attorney.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Oct 08, 2009 08:32 PM #3
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Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
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Judi, I loved reading that, I've never heard of an Abstract Title.  I imagine my clients would love the additional information it contains because they are interested in the history of the house.

Oct 08, 2009 08:35 PM #4
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Martha Brown
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Annapolis MD 21403 - Annapolis, MD
Your Homes Around Annapolis Agent

Judy- I am dealing with a property now where an abstract title would have been so nice to have. Interesting how each state does something so different from another. I just received a copy of a contract from Washington state where the whole contract consisted of 17 pages. here they consume up to 45. Amazing

Oct 08, 2009 09:00 PM #5
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William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - San Diego, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

Hi Judi, Now that was some interesting reading. This is the nature of what we REALTORS should be providing our consumers. Very good job of putting this together.

Oct 08, 2009 10:55 PM #6
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William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - San Diego, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

Hi Judi, Now that was some interesting reading. This is the nature of what we REALTORS should be providing our consumers. Very good job of putting this together.

Oct 08, 2009 10:55 PM #7
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Judi K Barrett
Judi Barrett~Integrity Real Estate Services~Idabel, Oklahoma - Idabel, OK
Broker/Owner, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDAB

Lou, You are not alone, each of our buyers does have an attorney that "reads" the abstract and issues a Title Opinion.  That's next in the series on things that Oklahoma sellers and buyers need to know about.  

Oct 08, 2009 10:56 PM #8
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Judi K Barrett
Judi Barrett~Integrity Real Estate Services~Idabel, Oklahoma - Idabel, OK
Broker/Owner, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDAB

Carole, It is interesting to read the abstract. 

Abstracts need to be kept in a fire-poof safe of some sort.  Many owners keep them in their safe deposit boxes at the bank. 

I have a fire-proof filing cabinet in my office and store abstracts for some of my clients.

Oct 08, 2009 10:58 PM #9
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Jane Peters
Power Brokers Int'l - Los Angeles, CA
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate scene

That is an interesting post, Judi.  Part of our escrow paperwork in California is a Preliminary Title Report which is a pretty basic document and the Seller pays for the Buyer's Title Insurance, but that is about the extent of it.  Those reports look like historic documents.

Oct 08, 2009 10:59 PM #10
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Judi K Barrett
Judi Barrett~Integrity Real Estate Services~Idabel, Oklahoma - Idabel, OK
Broker/Owner, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDAB

Martha, Oh my!  Our contracts are much shorter.  We usually have a cover page, 6 pages of the body of the contract, a financing addendum and maybe a couple of other addendums, hardly ever gets over 10 to 11 pages.

Oct 08, 2009 11:00 PM #11
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Judi K Barrett
Judi Barrett~Integrity Real Estate Services~Idabel, Oklahoma - Idabel, OK
Broker/Owner, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDAB

William, Thank you.. I am trying to refocus my blog ...

Oct 08, 2009 11:01 PM #12
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Judi K Barrett
Judi Barrett~Integrity Real Estate Services~Idabel, Oklahoma - Idabel, OK
Broker/Owner, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDAB

Jane, These are copies of the real documents.. in fact some of them have white out in them because they had to be typed copies waaay back before photocopy machines! 

Oct 08, 2009 11:02 PM #13
Rainmaker
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Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Hi Judi ~ In Massachusetts there is a tilte search done to make sure there are no defects but the buyer never sees any of it. Interesting how things vary from state to state.

Oct 09, 2009 06:58 AM #14
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Paul Durry
RE/MAX Professionals - Lawton, OK
Broker Associate, CDPE, CIAS, CHMS

Thanks Judi for providing this information to the out of state buyers and agents. I know many wish were were not an abstract state, why I have no idea. I thinks this document serves a great purpose for that next buyer, especially if someone comes forward from relatives who were in our earky days of statehood. If it was recorded it should be in there.

Thank you!

 

Oct 09, 2009 05:26 PM #15
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