STRAFFORD COUNTY REGISTRY OF DEEDS
259 County Farm Rd
DOVER NH 03820
Dennis Vachon, REGISTER
The Strafford County Registry of Deeds is the land records office for the three cities and ten towns which comprise Strafford County. This office has been in operation since the early 1700's when it was created to facilitate the registering of documents related to property ownership and making those documents accessible to the public. Strafford County became one of the original five Counties on April 29, 1769 by an Act of the General Assembly and with the consent of King George III. One of the main reasons for the creation of Strafford County was to make Alegal services, especially the registering of property ownership and recording of deeds and other transactions, be made more accessible.
As the Register of Deeds, I am committed to following the law as it applies to the recording, indexing and safeguarding of the documents filed in this office. In 2013, there were 20,997 documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds, including deeds, mortgages and other instruments relating to the transfer of interests in real estate. The Registry makes every effort to maximize its use of new and current technology in order to provide the best and most-efficient service to the taxpayers. For example, the recording public now enjoys the convenience of researching and copying documents from the comfort of their home or office as a result of the Registry making these services available over the internet. We will continue to keep abreast of new and evolving industry trends so that the Registry will remain at the forefront in its use of technological advances.
In particular, the Registry has been accepting documents by e-filing which has become a growing source of our workload since April of 2011. The percentage of the Registry's workload represented by e-filings has gone from 17% in 2012 to 24% in 2013 by dollar value. This is also reflected in the number of documents recorded where the percentage of e-filings has gone from 11% the first year to 24% in 2012 and to 31% in 2013. While the Registry staff has the same responsibilities relative to processing and handling of documents filed over the internet, the Registry does save money on postage and other office expenses related to these documents. However, because there is a potential lag of as much as fifteen minutes between the recording of a document and having it available to those on the web, closing this gap is critical for those doing e-filings if we are going to realize the full potential of this new technology.
In 2013, the Registry also achieved a new, more modern and efficient look as a result of much-needed office renovations. By eliminating out-of-date office equipment and furnishings, the registry was able to relocate the copy and recording counters, and spread out the overly cramped staff workstations. The new office set-up allows the staff to more easily service submitters, searchers and constituents while also offering them a greater opportunity for quiet concentration at their personal workstations. In addition, the Registry has created a video presentation which is available for viewing by the public in its foyer which provides useful information about Registry services and interesting tidbits from the history of recording in this County.
The real estate market in Strafford County continues its slow but steady recovery from the bottom of the so-called “Great Recession” reached in 2009. Although the total value of the real estate market, as shown by the transfer tax, was down to $357,294,267 in 2009 from its high in 2005 of $816,861,333, it continues to inch up slowly to $482,790,600 in 2013. This is also reflected in the total number of property transfers which was up to 4194 in 2013 from a low of 3645 in 2009 after falling from 5732 in 2005. The number of foreclosures has similarly continued to decline since it rose from 40 in 2005 to 354 in 2009, affecting 420 properties in 2010, 374 in 2011, 371 in 2012 and 277 in 2013. Using the transfer tax as a measure, the average home price continued to hold steady in 2013 at $115, 115 after rising to $106,770 in 2011 from its 2009 low of $99,549 (after falling from $143,473 in 2005) and reaching $115,743 in 2012. The New Hampshire Realtor's Association reports that the median price of a home in Strafford County in 2012 was $180,500, down 2.4 percent from 2011.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Strafford County for the trust they have placed in me as the newly elected Register of Deeds. There are many laws regulating the functioning of this office and the recording, retrieval and security of the public=s land records. I am committed to fulfilling those legal requirements to the best of my abilities and with a view to providing the best customer service possible. I would also like to thank the dedicated Registry staff, the Strafford County Delegation, the County's Administrative staff, and my fellow County Elected Officials for their support and counsel. You could not ask for a better team.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT US AT www.nhdeeds.com.