Member Highlight – Abstractor: Fred Signs

According to Fred Signs, semi-retirement is the best of both worlds.  The former Vice-President and Manager of the Gulf Coast office of First American Abstract Company recently wrapped up 24 years with the company and established Beachview Abstracting, LLC.  Fred says,

“Working independently allows you to have better control over your work product and time schedule. Managing my own company has given me the opportunity to partner with attorneys and firms who help make my work more enjoyable.”

Fred is a graduate of Florida State University with a master’s degree in social work.  He accepted a position as an oil and gas landman in Alabama in 1981 when there was little opportunity for advancement in his field of education.  During his decades-long 

career, Fred has provided abstracting services for many of the largest commercial and industrial properties across the Gulf Coast from casinos to shopping centers to power plants to apartment complexes.  These days, Fred is happily limiting his work to residential abstracting in Harrison County.

Looking back on how abstracting has changed, Fred observes,

“With the advent of fax machines and later email, the time frame for providing searches has been dramatically shortened.  At the same time, the public records systems in many counties have been digitized. Not so long ago in Harrison County, we had to search names in 18 separately bound Judgment Books alphabetized only by the first letter.  Today the same search can be accomplished at a computer terminal in a matter of seconds.”

Although computer skills are essential, Fred contends that abstracting is a dying art that still requires a great deal of judgment and local experience.  

In his free time, Fred stays busy following the Saints, the Braves, and the Seminoles and serving as an active Admiral Band Booster and as a Deacon and Upwards Basketball referee at First Baptist Church, Gulfport.  His wife, Jennifer, is a real estate attorney in Gulfport, and his son, Weston, is a senior at Gulfport High School.

To learn more about Fred, visit his member profile.