FAQ

Following are answers to our most frequently asked questions.  If your question is not answered below or in the tutorial, please feel free to contact us.

What is the difference between accessing a full abstract plant and in accessing the County Clerk’s records?

How do I sign up for RecordsOnline?

Can you explain how the one-hour minimum billing works? Am I charged this every day?

What do I do if my query returns no results?

What if I forget to name my runsheet?

Can I find Probates, Divorce, or Tax Information on RecordsOnline?

My search found several instruments. When I try to view, it says “no image found”. If I found the instrument, why can’t I view it?

Why don’t I have access to all counties with my subscription?
 
Q:     What is the difference between accessing a full abstract plant and in accessing the County Clerk’s records?

A:     Abstract plants are owned by Title Insurance Companies and are regulated and audited for accuracy by the Texas Department of Insurance. Since Title Insurance Companies are responsible for the accuracy of all title insurance policies they write, they regularly correct errors they find in the records from the County Clerk’s offices. These may be indexing errors, land description errors or inconsistencies, or spelling errors. 

        Additionally, abstract plants index their records geographically by each tract of land described, no matter how many tracts are included in the instrument. So where County Clerk indices will state “see instrument” for a multi-tract instrument, an abstract plant will have each survey and acreage indexed, ensuring that each tract is available in a geographic search. 

        By contrast, County Clerk records are concerned with getting Grantor/Grantee, instrument type, and basic land descriptions input accurately. They are NOT constantly scrubbing and updating the information in their records, as they have no reason to do this. 

        So when you use RecordsOnline for any of the counties where East Texas Title Companies owns abstract plants, you are getting all the benefits of our scrubs, corrections and updates. Even in the new counties we’re bringing online, where ETTC does NOT own abstract plants, we still work to scrub the data, primarily focusing on making land descriptions consistent and correcting any errors we find (or that our users report). In both instances, you are getting cleaner data than the raw data from the County Clerk offices.

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Q:     How do I sign up for RecordsOnline?

A:     Registration is easy!  Simply click the Register button on the left menu on any page of our site and complete the form.  Your email address is your user name, and you can even enter a preferred password!

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Q:     Can you explain how the one-hour minimum billing works? Am I charged this every day?

A:     You are not charged if you do not log on. When you do log on, you are only billed for the time you use RecordsOnline, subject to the one-hour daily minimum, which you can accrue in 15-minute increments. To make this easier to understand, here’s an example: 

        On a Wednesday, you log in to RecordsOnline and look up a few documents. You are online for 15 minutes and log off. At this point, you will be charged for the one hour daily minimum even if you don’t log on again. However, you can use your hour by logging on again for at least 45 minutes, or you can log on three more times for 15 minutes or less. After the first hour, your time accrues in 15-minute increments. 

        The following day, Thursday, you do not log on at all. You are not billed anything for that day.

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Q:     What do I do if my query returns no results?

A:     There are a few reasons for getting a “no results” to your query:

1) The most common reason is the Search fields are not cleared prior to beginning your new search.  It is always a good idea to click on the ‘Clear’ button so the search is not skewed.

2) You may need to need to broaden your search criteria.  For example, if you entered grantor name, survey and subdivision, you may need to search name-only or name + survey only.  It is always best to start with broad searches and narrow down as you build your runsheet.      

3) Name or Survey is misspelled or input differently from index. Try multiple variants of the same name (ex: Fay, Faye, Fae).  Or input only the first one or two letters of a name (‘smi+john’ instead of ‘smith+john’; or if you know the first name is Jonathan, ‘smith+jo’will pick up all Jonathan Smith’s AND John Smith’s, among any other first names beginning with Jo.)  You can also use the wildcard feature by inserting %.  To get all names beginning with Smi, enter 'smi%'.
       
4) For Surveys, try entering the Abstract number only, no survey name.

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Q:     What if I forget to name my runsheet?

A:     RecordsOnline will automatically save a copy of your runsheet with the date and time your runsheet was created.   You can always rename it later using the same method described in the runsheet section. 

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Q:     Can I find Probates, Divorce, or Tax Information on RecordsOnline?

A:     These instruments, along with some District Court records, are indexed in our plants.  You cannot view or print these instruments.  For tax appraisal information, you should visit the county appraisal district websites.  A list of CAD websites is available on our webpage.

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Q:     My search found several instruments.  When I try to view, it says “no image found”.  If I found the instrument, why can’t I view it?

A:     There are a couple of reasons:

1) The database you are using may contain indices but no images.  We have a few counties where this is the case, but once you know the recording information you can go to the imaged database and view the image.  Please check the RecordsOnline “Counties Available and Date Range” document for details.

2) The image has not yet been scanned.  This is rare but it does sometimes happen.  To get the image, simply submit an Error Report (see Error Reporting section of the tutorial for details) and you will be notified when the image is available.

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Q:     Why don’t I have access to all counties with my subscription?


A:     There are a couple of reasons for this; one protects our intellectual property and the other protects our clients from unauthorized billing. 

In many of our counties, our users are accessing a full abstract plant that is geographically indexed.  This is very different from most online records sources that simply provide access to basic courthouse records with a search engine interface.  Although our EULA expressly prohibits other title companies from creating abstracts using our online plants, this is a security measure that protects our intellectual property.

Secondly, user logins are tied to specific bill payers.  Limiting access to counties actually needed for a project protects the users by giving brokers or companies the assurance that an end user will not inadvertently run up charges in a county that’s not part of a project.  Of course, many projects involve more than one county, and in those cases we are happy to provide access to all counties needed.  We will always check to make sure that the entity paying the bill approves of this arrangement.  If you have any questions about this policy or need access to multiple counties simultaneously, please contact us and we’d be happy to help.

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