Recorder of Deeds
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Fayette County > Recorder of Deeds

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 General

  • How far back do your records go?
  • What kinds of documents are recorded in the Recorder of Deeds Office? 
  • How do documents get recorded in the Recorder of Deeds Office? 
  • Can I get a copy of any record on file?

Deeds

  • Can I prepare my own deed?
  • How do I replace a lost or destroyed deed?
  • Are deeds and other documents all returned to the rightful owner?
  • How do I change, add or delete a name on a deed?
  • Is it necessary to delete a deceased spouse’s name on a deed?
  • Must I Record a Deed?
  • If I build a house on my lot, do I get a new deed for the house?
  • If I find a mistake in my deed, how do I correct it?

 
Mortgages

  • What is done with a mortgage after recording?
  • How is a mortgage satisfied?
  • Who satisfies my mortgage?
  • What do I do if satisfaction papers are sent to me?
  • What if the original mortgage was lost or destroyed?

 
Taxes

  • What is Real Estate Transfer Tax?
  • Who pays the Transfer Tax?
  • Are any transactions exempt?

Please scroll down for the answers to these questions.

 

General 

How far back do your records go?

Our records begin in 1784. We were part of Westmoreland County before that date.

What kind of documents are recorded in the Recorder of Deeds Office?

  • All Deeds
  • All Mortgages, including mortgage assignments, extensions, releases, and postponements
  • Agreements including Easement, Right of Way, Oil & Gas, and other types of agreements
  • Decrees awarding real estate or quieting titles to real estate
  • Declarations of trust
  • Releases
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Satisfaction Pieces
  • Articles of Agreement for sale of land
  • Leases
  • Notice of Bankruptcy
  • Adjudications
  • Secured Transactions
  • Severance agreements
  • Election to take against will
  • Plans
  • Charters of non-profit corporations
  • Military Services Discharges (DD-214)
  • Oath, bond and commission for notaries public, county officers and all others who receive their commissions for the State

For a complete list of documents and recording fees click here 

How do documents get recorded in the Recorder of Deeds Office?

All papers presented to us for recording must be original documents, properly executed, signed, dated and acknowledged before a Notary Public with the notary’s  signature and date of expiration of the commission, before they can be accepted for recording.  The use of a embossed notary seal is now optional for PA acknowledgements. All recordings fees and transfer taxes are payable at the time of recording.

If the document has met all the necessary requirements, the office will accept it for recording.   It will be assigned an Instrument Number, a Volume and Page number.  The document will also be printed with the time of recording, price, and other information. The instrument, volume and page number will be printed on each page. Then the recorder’s certification will be stamped on the document as well.  Receipts are issued at the time of recording.

If the necessary requirements have not been met, the document will be rejected for recording until it is corrected.  Click here for a complete list of recording requirements. 

NOTE: The recording of any document is NOT an approval of the contents of that document.  The Recorder’s Office merely records what is presented to us and in no way do we certify that the contents are correct.

When documents have been officially recorded, they are scanned and indexed into the office’s computer system.  Documents are then available to the public on our public search stations that are located in the office.  Documents recorded before January 1, 2001 are available in books in the office.  Our indexes are available on the public search stations for most documents back to 1975, prior to that the indexes go back to 1784 and are available in the office. Our indexes are available online for most documents from 1975 to present.  This is a free index search. Our images for most documents are also available online from 1975 to present.  This is a pay per access service.   Please click here for the link.

We have added a Archive viewer in 2017 on the computers in the office that have the Indexes from 1950 to 1974 for Deeds and Mortgages. Also the Plan index for 1791 to 1988.  The images are of the indexes that you use in our office. Documents are available from DB 819-1 to and including DB 1136.  The rest of the documents from DB 1137 to DB 1174 can be found in the Tract Search under book and page only.

The Archive Viewer is available online.  This is a free index search.  Document images are not available online.  Go to http://av.uslandrecords.com/PA/Fayette/ to use the online Archive Viewer indexes only.

The original documents are returned to the address that is noted on the document at the time of recording. Documents are returned after all necessary recording procedures have been completed.

Can I obtain a copy of a record?

Yes. Our index & images are now available for most documents at www.uslandrecords.com.  The index for most documents from 1975 to present is a free search.  The images for most documents from 1975 to present are a pay per access service. You are welcome to come into the office for copies. They are $.50 per page. You can print a copy for most documents from 1975 to present using the search stations available in the office. You will pick up the copy from our staff. They will also be available to make copies of the records prior to 1975. In 2017 we added the Archive Viewer to our public stations and online as explained above. Go to http://av.uslandrecords.com/PA/Fayette/ to use the online Archive Viewer indexes only. Certified copies are $.50 per page plus $3.00 for the certification.

 

Deeds

Can I prepare my own deed?

We suggest that you have someone with experience in the field prepare it for you to make sure it is correct . Attorneys can perform this service for you. IMPORTANT: employees for the Recorder of Deeds Office CAN NOT and WILL NOT prepare deeds for you.

How do I replace a lost or destroyed deed?

By obtaining a certified copy in our office.

Are deeds and other documents all returned to the rightful owner?

The original deeds are returned as instructed at the time of recording and this will be noted on the document.

How do I change, add or delete a name on a deed?

This can only be done by recording a new deed showing the change. Many people think they can come to our office and change the present deed on record. However, once a document or deed is recorded, it cannot be altered or changed in any way. A new deed is needed and can be prepared for you by your attorney.

Is it necessary to delete a deceased spouse’s name on a deed?

Please consult your attorney with this type of situation. There could be a special instance when, because of a particular legal situation, the name of the deceased spouse should be deleted. Generally, if the property was held jointly by husband and wife as tenants by entireties. If and when the widow/widower sells or mortgages the property, he or she simply explains in the new deed or mortgage that the other spouse is now deceased.

Must I Record a Deed?

NO. A deed is binding even if it is not recorded. However, for numerous reasons, it is in your best interest to record it. One good reason: the former owner can go on getting mortgages, judgments and suits on your property since records in the Office would show that he/she still owns it.

If I build a house on my lot, do I get a new deed for the house?

NO. The original deed usually covers any buildings erected on the lot at a later date. Check your deed for exceptions.

If I find a mistake in my deed, how do I correct it?

Usually, the same way you change a name – by recording a new deed. In this case, it would be known as a "Deed of Correction." Contact your title company or attorney in this type of situation.

 

Mortgages

What is done with Mortgages after recording?

In most situations Mortgages are returned to the MORTGAGEE (bank or financial institution lending the money).If we have been instructed otherwise it will be noted on the document. The MORTGAGOR is the party receiving the loan and is usually the purchaser of the property being transferred. Generally, the original mortgage will eventually be returned to the mortgagor, by the mortgagee, when the final payment is made to the lender, and after a Satisfaction is recorded.

How is a mortgage satisfied?

A document called a Mortgage Satisfaction Piece is recorded in our office. All the information on this document must match the mortgage exactly.

Who satisfies a mortgage?

This action must be initiated by the mortgagee (lender). The mortgagee may send the actual forms to you when you make your final payment. Contact your lender to see how it will be handled.

What do I do if satisfaction papers are sent to me?

Bring or mail the original mortgage and the Satisfaction Piece to our office with the proper fee.

What if the original mortgage was lost or destroyed?

Lost or destroyed mortgages may be satisfied using a certified copy secured from our office.

 

Taxes

What is the Real Estate Transfer Tax?

There is a State Tax and a Municipal Tax each amounting to 1% of the value of the property or interest being conveyed. The value could be the sale price or the fair market value of the property.

Who pays the Transfer Tax?

In most sales agreements, the seller and the buyer split the tax. However, the new owner is responsible if there is any question over the amount of tax paid. The Recorder of Deeds Office will not accept a deed unless the tax is paid at the time of recording. The State and Local Governments do not care who pays the tax as long as it is paid.

Are any transactions exempt?

YES. Conveyances between husband and wife, parent and child, grandparent and grandchild and brothers and sisters are exempt. A deed between ex-spouses is also exempted. There are also other exemptions that are allowed in certain situations. It is best to consult your attorney to find out what these exemptions are. For questions about transfer tax you may also call the State Department at 717-787-4994.