Title Plant Services

Title Document Resources for Real Estate Transactions

About Title Plants:

Title Plants:

As you probably know if you are visiting this page, a title plant (sometimes called an abstract plant) is a collection of recorded documents that contain the history of a parcel of real estate. States require that a search of that history must go back either to patent (when the sovereign first conveyed the property to its first private owner), or a set number of years (typically 20-50 years). Every day, title plants are posted with new data. That simply means that the prior day's recorded documents are indexed, then placed into the plant.

Where are Title Plants located? Are the records paper or film or digital?

Modern title plants (like ours) are digital and virtual. They are housed on large recording media called Storage Area Networks (SAN) that house millions of documents. SAN arrays are inherently redundant-if one of the drives making up the array fails, others pick up the slack and fill in. The SAN array itself is backed up in the cloud. Original title plants were all paper, and later were film media like 16mm film, microfilm, and aperture cards.

A few years back all title plants consisted of paper documents, typically carefully organized down to a particular lot. Every day someone would gather up the prior day's recordings, then place (post) them into the files for property impacted by that recording. A title examination consisted of pulling the file containing those documents and basing the report on what was in the file.

How large are Title Plants?

How many documents are in a title plant? It's directly proportional to the number of real estate parcels in the county, and the number of transactions involving that real estate. Smaller counties with low populations and relatively few real estate parcels might have less than a million recorded documents. On the Maps page, check out Kittitas County, WA, with a population of less than 50,000 people and around 600,000 recorded documents. In contrast, King County, WA, has 2.3 million people and 27,600,000 documents.

Why are Title Plants necessary?

In most of the counties in the Northwestern States you must have access to a title plant to issue title insurance. Access to title plant data is often very restricted-the owner of the title plant does not share it with anyone outside the owner's business. That's why, in many counties, there are very few title agents, each with their own title plant. For someone to compete with them they'd have to build or purchase their own title plant.

What does TitlePlantServices.com do?

TPS owns title plants throughout the Northwest and Hawaii. It's business is owning plants and making them available for purchase, lease, and subscription. TPS also:

1.  Indexes its own title plants as well as indexes for others.
2.  Purchases title plants throughout the United States.
3.  Assists buyers and sellers of title plants in establishing values, including appraisals.
4.  Evaluates title plants to assist with underwriter and state audits.