Navigating and conducting business within the Dallas County Recorder’s Office in the Court House in Adel has gotten a lot easier as of late, whether you are trying to look up deeds in the County or recording your own. You can now look up deeds from your own computer, wherever you may have access to the internet and the process has gotten a lot more efficient if you need to go into the Court House to have your own deed filed.

You can get to the search tool by going to www.dallasrecorder.com, clicking on "Real Estate" on the left side and then clicking "Recorder’s Indexing."

Using the online search tool by Cott Systems, you can search by name or firm name, you can select a date range, and decide what types of documents you are looking for. You can even search by book and page if you know where they are within the recorder’s files.

Another feature that is available on the new search website is "Property Check," which allows people to sign up to receive email and text notifications if documents are filed in your name. Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart reccomends signing up in multiple ways, such as using a full legal name with first, middle and last names, and signing up with first name, middle initial and last name.

Airhart described the Property Check feature as a "property fraud check."

"We don’t like to think that this kind of stuff happens in Dallas County, in Iowa, in the midwest because that’s not the kind of people we are, but it does from time to time" said Airhart. "And while the records are available online for the public to go access and see what’s been filed, are you going to stay on that and check it regularly? Most people won’t.

"With this the public can sign up and have access to this tool that will notify them if a document has been filed in their name."

He said that he has read about instances outside of Iowa where houses have sat vacant for a couple of years and when the owner returns someone is living in the home.

"Well, somebody found out that house was vacant," said Airhart. "The yard hadn’t been mowed and whatnot. Somebody goes and files a deed, deeds it over to them, sells it, collects the money and, property fraud."

In the past, they had three separate systems for indexing, imaging and accepting payment. Now they are all in one system, making the office more efficient.

On the computer at the front counter they are able to enter all the pertinent information such as who the customer is, how many pages there are to scan in and how much it will cost the customer. They are also able to enter the payment information and print out the receipt for the customer and then scan it in from a different station within the office.

Finally, once the document has been recorded, they need to index it, meaning that they type in information such as what type of document it is, the grantor, the grantee, and any other information to make it searchable on the website and release it to the public.

"This helps us to be more efficient so we can better aid the patrons that are coming into our office that need help with other stuff," said Airhart. "So it allows us to have more time on focusing on our constituents in other ways by saving us time in dealing with the computer system."

When they get the rest of their documents put online and indexed, they will then be able move them out of the office and into an archives area.

"Now we’ve just freed up a considerable amount of space in our office that helps us solve the space problems that we have now and are going to have as we continue to grow," said Airhart.

Since the new system went live on Monday, June 20, Airhart said that they have received good feedback from the public, especially from the local abstractors such as Iowa Title, Russel Abstract and American Abstract in Adel.