You have probably heard me tell this story before but for those of you that haven’t heard it I’ll throw another log on the fire. The story is on the record because Iowa still requires abstracts of title instead of title insurance when it comes to the exchange of real property. In fact Iowa, Oklahoma and sections in North Dakota are the only three states that still do it the old fashioned abstract way.
An abstract is simply the history of a defined piece of property. An abstract may be in a small roll of legal documents or in a flat book of historical legal papers. It may be a little musty depending where it has been stored. Best place to keep an abstract is in a bank box. In fact, I have an abstract for a half section of land in northeastern Colorado near the small community of Grover, which lies about 12 miles south of the Wyoming border. This one inch thick, 4 x 10 inch abstract, which at first glance looks like a long, narrow check book, is actually covered with a genuine brown soft leather binding.