Register of Deeds and Real Estate in a Post-Covid World

Posted By Brad Walker

Wake County Register of Deeds Charles Gilliam provided insights into one of Wake County’s busiest government departments.  As an elected official, Gilliam leads the office that handles all real estate transactions and vital records, such as births, deaths and marriages. He explained that the office has “no political power: we just keep records and make that information available to the public.” 

Wake County Register of Deeds Charles Gilliam (Left) and Karlene Turrentine (Right)

Gilliam assumed office in 2017 following the embezzlement issue that ended the long tenure of former ROD Laura Riddick.  After Gilliam took office, he trained about 30 employees to be internal auditors and “everyone to be head cashiers,” following weekly rotations to ensure accountability.   Furthermore, he insisted that the county audit the ROD office yearly; in Riddick’s case, no audit had occurred in 17 years, he said. 

While Wake County’s vital records go back to 1918, the office’s primary work today occurs in real estate: in 2018-2019, the office recorded 30 million transactions, receiving $5 million in fees with $2 million in expenses. This year, the pace is even greater.  For example, Gilliam said the office was recording 700 daily transactions last year.  During the first half of this year, the daily count was 912 and is currently running at 1,100 daily.

With a strong online presence, the public can access all ROD services conveniently and quickly, making it very covid-resilient for employees as well as citizens. Click here to review Giliam’s slide presentation showing statistical changes over the years for real estate and vital records. For more general information about the ROD office, here is its website:

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