The first electronic document was recorded through the Iowa Land Records e-submission service on December 22, 2005 in Allamakee County. That year there were 762,534 documents recorded in the State of Iowa. It was a humble start. Unlike the Iowa Judicial Branch, which has mandated that documents be filed electronically (See Chapter 16 – Iowa Rules of Electronic Procedure – Rule 16.302), Iowa county recorders have worked to encourage the voluntary adoption of electronic filing.

Fourteen years later, e-submission has grown incrementally as professionals in the real estate industry have become more comfortable with technology. In calendar year 2019, a little more than 45% of all documents recorded by Iowa county recorders were electronically submitted. For the first time more than a quarter-million documents were electronically recorded in Iowa in a single calendar year.

Goal: 50/50 in 2020

Iowa Land Records will continue to work for a higher proportion of documents that are electronically submitted and recorded. An aspiration for 2020 is to reach a 50% proportion of electronically recorded documents. For January and February 2020, electronically recorded documents were up by over 28%.

Things could change by the end of 2020, but the early trend is positive. The trend for overall recording in 2020 is not yet clear. In the meantime, the Iowa Land Records team will continue to encourage real estate professionals to adopt electronic filing – which is much more efficient and timely than traditional paper filings.