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Enhanced Public Records Tools Equip Lawyers for Anticipated Real Estate Recovery

June 26, 2024 (3 min read)

By: Aaron Eberle

The spring and summer buying season is in full bloom in the American real estate industry, a time of year when lawyers who advise clients in real estate transactions tend to be busier than usual. And expert forecasts suggest that business activity this year may be warming up right along with the weather.

In spite of the major question marks looming over the industry right now — such as the uncertainty regarding broker commissions and differing predictions about where mortgage rates are headed in the short-term — the industry is on track for a strong year. Fannie Mae forecasts an increase in home sales transactions compared to last year and Forbes notes that average home sale prices have continued to escalate modestly month to month in 2024.

Technology Driving Growth

One of the key drivers of this steady real estate industry growth is the emergence of technology-enabled solutions that are delivering new workflow efficiencies and surfacing new business opportunities.

“As the clouds recede from two years of economic headwinds, an anticipated real estate upturn could benefit from enormous advances taking place in technological innovation,” reported Law360 in April 2024. “Long viewed as a slow adopter of technology, the real estate industry in recent years has more broadly embraced the wide variety of available solutions in the hopes of increasing efficiency in operations and energy use, cutting costs and generating new revenues, and better serving its users across different segments.”

This same tech-powered business trend is also playing out in the legal research space, helping lawyers who advise clients on real estate matters to be better equipped for the looming industry recovery.

Enhanced Public Records for Real Property

Real estate lawyers are all too familiar with the concept of “public records” — items such as property deeds or tax liens that are filed with a government agency — but it is important to understand that, while some public records can be accessed by anyone who follows the proper request protocols, access to many public records is blocked due to confidentiality laws within a particular jurisdiction. This is where lawyers need to rely on premium legal research tools, which offer access to extensive online public records and user-friendly search capabilities.

LexisNexis® Public Records is one of the largest collections using more than 92 billion records from more than 10,000 sources of public and non-public records available in the world. Searching this vast collection of records provides legal professionals with results from government databases, public websites, social media accounts and to uncover information on individuals — as well as the businesses and organizations with which they are associated.

Legal professionals handling real estate matters have access to enhanced tools from LexisNexis Public Records for “real property” content and coverage. This delivers access to records tied to assets that are fixed property — such as land, buildings and homes — and includes deed transfer records, tax assessment records and mortgage records.

Once a search is completed, users can drill down into underlying records to uncover important legal insights, such as:

  • Deed Images
  • Parcel Maps
  • Deed Transaction and History
  • Legal Property Description

LexisNexis® SmartLinx® Hidden Connections

Lawyers are paid to be skeptical and to ask the tough questions. The reality is that individuals and business executives may miss things, such as undisclosed assets, associations that might trip up a transaction or even basic contact information that could be used to serve process. A well-informed lawyer is often the only thing standing between these folks and successful deception.

The LexisNexis Public Records Collection provides legal professionals with access to SmartLinx ® Comprehensive Report. Intelligent search and linking technology surfaces key information to help you efficiently uncover hidden connections or data on hard-to-find people, generate summary reports that are easy to read and empower you to take swift action

SmartLinx reports come in three varieties: Comprehensive Person Report; Comprehensive Business Report; and Comprehensive Location Report. One of the powerful features is the Associate Section that uncovers “Hidden Connections” and important potential associations between various parties involved in a real estate transaction, regulatory dispute or litigation matter. These connections include:

  • Possible Relatives
  • Person Associates
  • Neighbors
  • Business Connections
  • Business Associates

See for Yourself

LexisNexis was named Best Online Public Records Research Provider by the National Law Journal in 2024. To request a product demonstration and a free trial of LexisNexis Public Records, please click here.

This document is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee the functionality or features of any LexisNexis Risk Solutions products identified. LexisNexis Risk Solutions does not represent nor warrant that this document is complete or error free.