Original Property Rights
Property Law: Mortgage Defaults
Remedying Breaches of Title Covenants

Comply with Conditions for Recording Title

A person records a recordable document by taking it to a county official, who has the duty to maintain such real property records concerning property in the county. The county official doesn’t evaluate the legal validity of the document. If the document meets the basic requirements, the county official will record the document, index it, and return it to the person who filed it.

Here are the three requirements that must be met in order to record any document affecting real property:

  • The document affects ownership of land within the county.

  • A notary public or other authorized official witnessed and verified the signatures of the parties to the document. (Some statutes may have different witness requirements.)

  • Any necessary document-recording fees have been paid. (Some states don’t consider the document legally recorded if the fee isn’t paid.)

The county recorder used to record documents by including a copy of the instrument in a book. Documents were included in the book as received, so they were kept in chronological order. Deeds might be included in one book, mortgages in another book, and other interests in yet another book.

So when a deed or other document refers to a recorded instrument, you’ll often see a reference to a book or volume number and a page number within that book, where a copy of the recorded instrument may be found. As you’d expect, today county recorders generally make electronic images of the documents instead of putting them in books.

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