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Chain of Title, Landman Software, And You!

December 5, 2009 - David Wagner

It has been a couple of weeks since my last post but trust me when I say that the wait was worth it. Between eating too much turkey and a major testing cycle, I took pity on those poor landmen that must run title and redesigned one of the useful tools in LANDBOSS. Today I'm showing you the new Chain of Title page.

One of the most useful tools in LANDBOSS is the Chain of Title page which is used, as its name suggests, to run the title chain of a tract of land.  Anytime you want to lease a tract of land you must of course determine who owns it and its minerals.  I've seen landmen use everything from a bunch of legal sized pieces of paper taped together to clunky spreadsheets to help them work out the chain of title.

The Old: Better than a spreadsheet? Maybe.

LANDBOSS has had the chain of title page for awhile now but we found that the old design made sense to everyone except those that actually used it. One of the primary goals of LANDBOSS is to be the easiest to use land management software packages out there and a confusing chain of title page is not good for that goal.

(click to view full size image)

The chain of title page is split between the list of instruments on the right and the instrument fields on the left. To create a new instrument or edit an existing instrument the left side is used and the list on the right is updated when the instrument is saved.

The first thing that you might notice is that the grantors are familiar. Interestingly the lease was not actually written on a stone tablet. Let's take a look at our chain of title. The first instrument is a lease that gives Julie Ford all of Fred Flintstones interest which is half of the tract.  The second instrument, the one that is currently selected, is a lease that gives Julie the rest of the interest in the tract.

One of the most confusing things about the old design is the interest amounts in the list on the right. On both rows we show Julie Ford with 100% interest which is what she currently has instead of what she had at the time the instrument was executed.

The other major issue is with how the interest amounts are entered for the instrument.  First you enter the amount of interest conveyed and then you enter the amount of interest that the grantor has left and the amount of interest that the grantee NOW has. That means that you have to manually keep track of the amount of interest each grantee has TOTAL. Why doesn't LANDBOSS do this for you? My thoughts exactly.

The New: Better than a spreadsheet? Definitely.

The old design of the chain of title page required that you kept track of information outside of LANDBOSS. What is the point of landman software if you have to use notepads and spreadsheets anyway? The new chain of title page is designed so that a landman can run title using only LANDBOSS. No more spreadsheets.

(click to view full size image)

The screenshot is only a mockup of the new design since it won't be implemented in LANDBOSS until the next maintenance release at the earliest, but you can see that a number of improvements have been made. First, and probably the biggest, is that you will no longer have to keep track of the total interest each person has since LANDBOSS will do that for you. So instead of having to enter the amount of interest that the grantee now has, you only have to enter the amount of interest they are receiving.

We have also better organized the fields in the left column to make it easier to enter the details of an instrument. Also, typos are easy to make but the new design will help you prevent accidentally entering an instrument that conveys more interest than is received or vice-versa. LANDBOSS will let you know immediately when you save an instrument that isn't balanced.

A major feature that will be added with this new design is the ability to filter out certain instruments from the list. You could have LANDBOSS show you only the instruments that have a particular person as either the grantor or grantee.  Or maybe you only want to see instruments executed during a certain date range.  Or maybe only a certain type of instrument?

I'm excited, and you should be excited too, this new design will dramatically improve the usefulness of the chain of title page in LANDBOSS.

Your landman software should be easy to use.

Software is meant to make your job easier and that is what we aim to achieve with LANDBOSS so I spend a significant portion of my day thinking of ways to make it easier for people to use. If you think of something in LANDBOSS that could be improved I invite you to contact us to let us know and me and the rest of the team will do our best to do so.