A few weeks ago, a notice appeared on the front of the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS), the city’s online property record database.
“Please be advised that neither ACRISasap nor ACRIS.com is a New York City Department of Finance approved service or website,” the notice read. “Any errors that occur as a result of using these sites are the responsibility of the filer, including any resulting penalty and interest.”
David Miller, a spokesman for the Department of Finance, said a counsel had advised them to put up the disclaimer, which targets ACRISasap, an electronic tool for filing ACRIS e-tax forms.
The program was developed by TitleVest Agency, Inc., a title insurance provider that serves six major underwriters. ACRISasap began in 2005 and last July, TitleVest was awarded a patent for the program.
“We have a very friendly and cooperative relationship with the city,“ said Brian Tormey, executive vice president of TitleVest. “The most important thing is that there’s no negative inferences that should be drawn by the fact that they’ve been posted now.”
ACRISasap is a free service, and the goal is bring real estate professionals to the company’s other services, such as insurance, which provide the bulk of its revenue.
“It’s a goodwill generator,” said Tormey.
In a separate effort, TitleVest has made thousands of digital copies of condo and co-op offering plans available for free, and searchable by keyword. It charges $150 for a print copy of the plans.
Both ACRISasap and the offering plans have been characterized as efforts to bring more access to real estate professionals, streamlining potentially frustrating processes. And the positive feedback appears to overshadow any recent disclaimers.
“Real estate attorneys, brokers agents and managing agents have been thrilled with this service,” said Tormey. “The viral goodwill – it’s very atypical of the title insurance industry agency.”