It was Jan. 12 when Pitkin County had a final total of 2020’s headline-making real estate transfers. The final number came in at about $2.96 billion — and $596 million of that was recorded after Dec. 29.
The reason for the lag time in getting the information recorded is that there’s, well, a lot of information to process, Pitkin County Assessor Deb Bamesberger explained. For one thing, “a lot of closings happen at the end of the year,” she said. Right around the holidays, which slow down myriad processes in myriad sectors with fewer business days on the calendar.
“Pitkin County as a whole has over $38 billion in properties — not million, billion. That’s a lot of money,” she said of the market’s total inventory. “If it’s not verified, we’re not allowed to record it yet. Once we get it, we have to verify that the names are correctly spelled, correct on the deed, we have to make sure the legal description is correct … we have to go through a huge number of approvals and verifications — we’ll put the information into our system, but we won’t transfer property if it’s not correct. So it takes a little bit of time.”
How quickly a property transfer is recorded also can depend on who it is doing the recording, and where. A real estate broker, for instance, has much more professional motivation to record a closing immediately in the MLS, or Multiple Listing Service — but it may take more time before the county’s records reflect the sale for the aforementioned reasons. Attorneys, for instance, sometimes don’t have the same zeal to follow up immediately with the county.
“They’ll put the sale in the MLS, but they don’t rush down to the clerk’s office to record it,” Bamesberger said. “There’s a lot of different factors going on. Our office does a good job — and if it’s wrong, they’ll let us know!”