Frequently Asked Questions

Real Estate Transfer Tax Exemptions – County

Real Estate Transfer Tax Exemptions – State


Can the Register of Deeds Office prepare my document or give me the forms to use?
No, the Register of Deeds Office does not prepare any legal documents, nor do we give legal advice. Some forms may be obtained from an office supply store. If you need assistance, please contact an attorney, title company or real estate agent.

Do you furnish abstracts/titles to property?
Our Abstract Office can do a search to update your abstract/title to your property. There is a fee for the service.

What payment methods do you accept?
We accept cash, checks, debit cards and credit cards.  There is a small fee to use debit or credit cards.

Can I record a fax or a copy of a document?
No, only documents with original signatures can be recorded by State Statute.

Can I record a COPY of a court document?
No. Court documents must be certified with the court seal to be recorded. Death certificates must be certified with the Clerk’s seal.

Can you fax or e-mail me a copy of a recorded document?
We can fax, e-mail, or mail copies of documents (payment is required first). The cost for copies is $1.00 per page.  You can e-mail us at for more information.

Do you have standard document requirements?
Yes, Michigan does have standard Recording Requirements. Check our website for a list of those requirements.

Can I get documents through the Freedom of Information Act?
No, all documents in this office are public information or covered by state statute. The copy fees for documents are set by state statute at $1.00/page.

Who can get a copy of my deed?
Anyone can. Once your document is recorded, it is public record.

What is the purpose of recording a document, and what do you do with it?
The purpose of recording is to make a public record of the transaction. Your document(s) is scanned and indexed for the permanent record. Microfilm copies are made, local units of government are notified of land transfers and the recording information. The images are made available to the public. The original document is returned to whoever sent it in to be recorded.

When will you record my document and what do you do with the document after recording?
We record and return the document within 1-2 days of receipt, as long as it meets the recording requirements. The document is returned to whoever sent or brought the document to us.

When does transfer fee have to be paid and to whom?
Transfer fee is paid at the time of recording to the Register of Deeds Office.

Can you give me a current SEV on a piece of Property?
You can get an SEV from our website by logging onto the Property Parcel Search.

When was my house built?
We can’t answer that. We only deal with land records. Check with your township, city, village, Planning and Zoning, or Health Department.

Do you have a survey of my property?
Only if it has been surveyed and recorded. The Register of Deeds Office only records boundary surveys, not mortgage surveys, and there is no requirement that a survey has to be recorded.

How can I find out who owns certain property?
Go to the online Property Search, and click on “Begin Search”. Note that this database is only updated about once a year and the Register of Deeds Office does not maintain these records.

Why is there a 2 ½ inch top margin requirement?
The state passed a law on April 1, 1997 that requires a 2 ½ inch top margin and ½ inch on all other sides. This is to allow room for the recording information, stamps, etc.

Does the marital status have to be shown on documents?
The marital status of males must be shown on documents that encumber or convey property, such as deeds and mortgages. Please check our “Recording Requirements” link to see which documents require marital status.

Does the document need to be witnessed and notarized?
Documents no longer require witnesses. Most documents require notarization. Please check our “Recording Requirements” link to see which documents require a notary.

What documents have to be tax certified?
Warranty Deeds, Land Contracts/Assignments with warranty causes, and Master Deeds required a tax certificate from the Treasurer’s Office.  Please check our “Recording Requirements”.

Will you record a copy of a death certificate?
We will record a County Clerk certified copy (with embossed seal) of a death certificate.

I’ve paid off my mortgage. How can I get a copy of my deed?
When you pay off your mortgage, you should receive a Discharge, Release or Satisfaction of Mortgage. You should have received your deed when you first purchased the property. If you do not have your deed, you can get a certified copy at the Register of Deeds office.

Can the Register of Deeds tell me whom to contact about a property that is going up for Sheriff’s sale?
No, we know nothing about a sale until after the sale has taken place and the Sheriff’s Deed is recorded.

After a Sheriff’s Deed is recorded can we redeem the property with the Register of Deeds Office?  
Yes, we can take the redemption fee, but we do not figure the amount to redeem.

Does the Register of Deeds Office have anything to do with Property Taxes?
No, to find out about property taxes call the Tax Assessor of the property where the property is located. Or for delinquent taxes, call the Barry County Treasurer’s Office.