Virtually every county in the United States has a place
where records of title are publicly recorded. The recording
system gives constructive notice to the world of the
transfer of title to property. Recording simply involves
bringing the original deed to the local county courthouse
or clerk and recorder's office.
The original deed is copied onto computer or microfiche,
recorded in ledger books (or computers), then returned to
the new owner. There is a filing fee for the deed, which
runs about $8 per page. In addition, the county, city and/or
state may assess a transfer tax based on the value of the
property or the selling price.
William Bronchick gives practical tips about the property
recording system in his CAREI coaching. He says that if
you are trying to find out how much someone paid for a
property, simply read the edge of the deed.
The recorder usually prints how much transfer tax was paid
on the margin of the deed. If you know the tax rate for
transfers in your county, simply do the math backwards. By
doing so, you will discover what was paid for the property,
even if the purchase price is not stated on the deed.
In his CAREI coaching, William tells that the most common
indexing system is by grantor (the person conveying an
interest, usually the seller or mortgagor) and grantee (the
person receiving an interest, usually the buyer or
All documents conveying property or an interest therein
(deed, mortgage, lease, easement, etc.) are recorded by
the grantor's last name in the grantor index. The same
transaction is cross-indexed by the grantee's last name in
the grantee index. A few areas of the country use a
geographical grid system. By locating the property on a
grid map, one can obtain all records of transfers and liens
on the property.
A few areas of the country use a title registration system,
which is much like a car title registration. Proof of
ownership is presented to the county recorder, who then
issues a certificate of title. The certificate of title is
conclusive proof of ownership.
William’s CAREI coaching explains that every state has a
recording statute, which dictates who, wins in a battle over
ownership. Most states follow a "race-notice" rule, which
means that the first person to record his document wins, so
long as he received title in good faith, paid value, and had
no notice of a prior transfer