AKRON, Ohio - The Akron Area Board of Realtors has formed a task force in the search for solutions, after receiving complaints about numerous home sales being held-up by slow transfer of property deeds at the Summit County Sheriff's Department.
Board President Tony DeLuke confirmed some deed transfers are taking two to three months, when it normally should take no more than two weeks.
"There's such a backlog of these that it's really frustrating," explained DeLuke. "In our office alone we have 16 or 17 transactions that are waiting for deeds."
Summit County real estate companies report homes sold at Summit County Sheriff Sale are being held in limbo and buyers are walking away from deals, keeping many of these homes vacant and targets for vandals.
5 On Your Side spoke with Debbie Clark of Clark Realty Inc., who confirmed her company has more than a dozen homes under contract that have been waiting for a deed transfer for months.
The Akron Area Board of Realtors acknowledged the problem has been partially caused by an increase in the number of foreclosed properties being sold at Sheriff's sale. The Summit County Sheriff's department reports 17,000 foreclosed homes have been sold at a auction since 2009.
The board's task force will soon be meeting with Sheriff Steve Barry next week, to explore ways the deed transfer process can be made more efficient.
Inspector Bill Holland, at the Summit County Sheriff's Office, admitted budget cuts have hurt the department that handles deed transfers, and the department is in the process of transferring additional personnel to help with the backlog.
"We've lost some key personnel that have been transferred to other divisions and retired," explained Holland. "So we are still try to get caught up."
The Sheriff will also approve additional overtime, and is looking to hire an additional employee who is qualified to handle the complicated deed transfer process.
Meanwhile, some of the homes that remain occupied are falling victim to vandals.
Board President DeLuke stood in front of a vacant Akron home that was stripped of its copper plumbing, after its sale was canceled by a slow deed transfer.
"These transactions are very critical to the health of the real estate market, and the stability of these neighborhoods," said DeLuke.
NewsChannel5 is trying to encourage residents to report vacant homes and promote better neighborhood communication when it comes to dealing with condemned properties.
We're inviting residents to report nuisance properties through our Building Better Neighborhoods initiative. Just send us pictures and information on vacant homes in your neighborhood and we'll forward the information to your city building department in an effort to move the properties to progress.
We are also giving residents information on how they can volunteer in their neighborhoods to make them better. Those interested in starting a volunteer effort in their neighborhood should contact Hands on Northeast Ohio.