You have a signed North Carolina Deed transferring property – now what? How do you put it on the public record?
Is your Deed properly executed? Before beginning the recording process, make sure your Deed is properly signed and notarized. The name of the Grantor should be the same in all parts of the Deed, including the signature. The Grantor is the person or entity transferring the property and the Grantee is the one receiving the property. The notary public will fill in the date the Grantor signs and the date their notary commission expires before signing the notary section. Make sure the notary’s seal is clear and readable.
How to find your Register of Deeds. In order to put on the Deed on the public record, it must be recorded at the Register of Deeds office in the county where the property is located. The exact procedure may vary slightly from county to county and has changed due to COVID. Some North Carolina counties allow “e-recording,” but due to the set up and maintenance costs, it is not well-suited for the one time user. This article is a general overview of the manual steps to get your Deed properly recorded. I recommend that you call the local Register of Deeds when you are ready to record and ask for their specific current procedure. You can find the phone number for the local Registrar at this website: www.ncard.us/find-your-register-of-deeds/.
Why is the county tax office involved in this process? In addition to recording of your Deed, the local property tax office records need to be updated. Some counties have internal procedures for real estate transfers that do not alter the steps in getting the deed recorded. Some counties require that the Deed be presented to the tax office before recording. Some counties require a separate form (that they provide) that sets out the parties’ names and addresses, purchase price and a description of the property. Some counties also require that all past due property taxes be paid before they will approve the recording of the Deed.
Once the tax office requirements are satisfied, you must deliver the original Deed to the Register of Deeds office for recording. The Register of Deeds staff will check that the signatures are correct and the notary provisions are properly completed. North Carolina has strict formatting rules, including a 3 inch top margin on the first page of the Deed. This is to allow for the recording data at the top of the first page. If the Deed violates the formatting requirements, the Register of Deeds will not record it without payment of a “non-standard instrument” fee of $25.00.
How much does it cost to record a Deed? The Register of Deeds will charge a recording fee of $26.00 for up to 15 pages. In addition, the Deed must recite the amount of the fee known as “excise tax” or “revenue stamps”. Revenue Stamps are $2.00 for every $1,000.00 of the purchase price. For instance, a Deed to transfer a house for $100,000.00 would cost $26.00 for recording plus $200.00 in revenue stamps. In addition, a few counties in NC have a local transfer tax of 1% of the purchase price. If the transfer of property is a gift, then the Deed will show no revenue stamps and there is no “excise tax” charged.
Due to COVID restrictions, many counties now prefer that you mail Deeds for recording. The Register of Deeds staff will tell you how to coordinate getting the tax office information to the right place and explain what to send where. Whatever the procedure, the county officials are glad to get you on the right track.
After the Deed has been recorded, the Registrar of Deeds will return it by U.S. Mail to the Grantee at the address on the Deed. It will then be available online at the Register of Deeds website for that county. Having possession of the “original” Deed is less important once it has been officially recorded with the Registrar of Deeds.
Let us help you prepare and record your Deed. All Deeds prepared by Irvine Law Firm include our assistance with any steps necessary to get your Deed recorded. Preparing a Deed and understanding the recording procedure can often be accomplished conveniently online for a modest fixed fee. Click HERE if you are ready to have your Deed prepared.