When will my deed transfer show up on the county website?

Photo Credit: iStockPhoto

Photo Credit: iStockPhoto

I transferred the title to my property, but the county records still have the old information online! What happened? Was I ripped off?!?!

Whoa, calm down friend! Although it’s not outside the realm of possibility your deed was unintentionally or maliciously unrecorded, there’s a far more likely explanation we should explore first:  delay. Most counties take a bit of time to update their publicly available records (assuming they even have publicly available records). So before you jump to conclusions, give the county recorder, clerk or registrar a call and ask them how to get a copy of a recorded document. It’s usually pretty simple.

So how long does it take the county recorder to update their records?

As soon as document is recorded, it’s officially in the public record. Organizations like professional title plants gather and index information about recorded documents, and are usually current within several days (although the public usually doesn’t have access to this information). Many counties also have recording information publicly available on their website, and this can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few months to update. For example, here’s an excerpt from the Maricopa County Assessor‘s website:

The Assessor receives over 400,000 documents from the Recorder‘s Office each year, however you can expect that an ordinary house on a subdivision lot purchase could take 6-8 weeks after recording before the change displays on the web site. Purchases outside of a subdivision (mete/bounds legal descriptions or splits of property) take longer unless the Assessor‘s parcel number of the property is included in the legal description on the recorded deed.

(Here’s a link to the Maricopa County Assessor‘s search page – usually a couple of months out of date.)

Isn’t there a faster way to find out if my document has been recorded?

Usually, yes! Every county has a unique identifying number for each recorded document. If you have access to this number (it will usually be stamped or otherwise shown on your original document) you can call the county and they will verify it has been recorded. Maricopa County, Arizona, has a website that allows you to input and see a recorded document immediately after it’s been recorded (here’s a link to that website). So if you need to check and see if something has been recorded, don’t just freak out on your escrow officer, legal document preparer or friend that “supposedly” recorded your document! Make sure you’ve allowed enough time to pass, and a phone call to the local recorder never hurts.

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