Webster County Abstract Co., 628 Central Ave., is one of Fort Dodge's oldest businesses. It began providing real estate title services regarding Webster County not long after Fort Dodge was founded. The business has had a series of owners over the last century and a half. This summer, Tom Bernau, a Des Moines attorney purchased the enterprise.
Nancy Nevins, who has been the company's manager since 2007, said the team of professionals at Webster County Abstract Co. will remain unchanged despite the recent shift in ownership from First Federal Savings Bank of Iowa to Bernau. She said Bernau, who also owns an abstract company in Boone, won't be actively involved in the day-to-day functioning of the business.
Webster County Abstract Co. plays an important role in transactions regarding the sale and/or financing of land.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Nancy Nevins, manager of Webster County Abstract Co., shows some holiday spirit with a pumpkin carved by administrative assistant Kerri Pliner in their offices at 628 Central Ave. Webster County Abstract has a new owner, but Nevins and other staff remain on the job.
"We bring abstracts up to date," Nevins said. "We do abstract and title services. ... An abstract is the history of the land. .... (It is) a history of the ownership and a chain of title. ... Usually, it is done when they sell the property or when they refinance. Occasionally, we will do abstracts if they are doing probate work. ... We do a lien search on the abstract."
The company's long history makes it well-positioned to generate abstracts quickly and accurately.
"We have all of the records back into the 1800s here," Nevins said. "So we do all of our research here. ... I can build an abstract through all our records back in the vault. ... That's a big advantage for us."
What is an abstract?
An Abstract of Title is a history of all transactions shown in the public records affecting a particular piece of land. This history is typed out in an easily readable form and the pages are fastened together under a cover. An attorney reviews the abstract to determine whether there are any title defects which must be cleared before a buyer can purchase the property.
Source: Webster County Abstract Co. website
According to the company's website it possesses "the only complete in-house set of tract indices, as well as current records being electronically indexed."
The work products and services Webster County Abstract Co. can provide include or relate to abstract continuation, abstract addendum, root of title abstract, master abstract (developments), stub abstract (foreclosures), report of lien, certificate of title, title guaranty 900/901 search, rapid certificate (title guaranty form), mechanic lien search, personal lien (name) search, pre-closing search certificate, post-closing search, ownership search, assistance in locating abstracts of title, email delivery of title reports and name search, and a comparative lender monthly mortgage report.
The clients served include land owners, Realtors and banks. Nevins said a major reason the company has continued to thrive is its reputation for high-quality work.
"They can expect accurate work," she said. "A lot of people trust us to do good work. That's why we get a lot of big projects."
Additionally, she said its in-house resources and experienced staff members make it possible to generate the needed documents quickly.
Meet the manager
Nevins grew up in Atlantic. She graduated from Atlantic High School in 1979.
Nevins credits her father for introducing her to the abstract world.
"My dad actually suggested it," she explained. "He was friends with the abstracter in Atlantic. He thought that this was a good place for me to work."
Following that parental advice, Nevins went to work at Cass County Abstract in 1980.
"I found it interesting because of the history of the land," Nevins said. "It's challenging work and I'm good at it. ... I like being able to figure out the more challenging cases."
In 1994, she became the manager at Cass County Abstract and remained in that role until becoming the manager at Webster County Abstract Co. in January 2007.
Nevins is a member of the Iowa Land Title Association and has served as a regional vice president.
Webster County Abstract Co.
Webster County Abstract Co. participates in the Iowa Title Guaranty's "Standard of Excellence" program. Professional affiliations include the Iowa Land Title Association, American Land Title Association and the Iowa Title Guaranty.
According to the company website, abstracts are prepared according to the latest standards of the Iowa State Bar Association and the Iowa Land Title Association.