Arizona Counties Recorder Offices

Recording Real Estate Documents With The County Recorder’s Office

Real estate law affects most people daily, whether they are homeowners, landlords, renters, home buyers or sellers. The term ‘real estate’ refers to ownership or use of land. Real estate law covers the right to use, possession and enjoyment of the land and any man-made, permanent additions that are attached to it. Purchasing a home involves the law of real property, and trained real estate lawyers deal with the unique issues inherent in property use and ownership.

To buy a home involves a seller and buyer who enter a written, informal contract called the purchase agreement for the sale of the property. Once the buyer has got a financing commitment, they search the title to establish the state of the seller’s title to the property. When the sale is final, they transfer ownership of the property. Buyer and seller sign the deed and mortgage instruments. The real estate broker or respective attorneys may be present to explain the terms and conditions and proper execution of the documents.

What is Title, and Why Does it Need to be Recorded?

A deed signed by the property owner is a legal document that transfers ownership and title to the purchaser of the property. Recordation of real estate documents is the act of submitting documents with the county recorder at the county recorder’s office, where the property is located. The real estate documents recorded influences ownership title to real property and include deeds, judgments, foreclosures, liens, mortgages, easements, and requests for notice of default. Recording is an important process, as it provides buyers with a traceable chain of title holders to the property. The most important types of real estate documents maintain proper real estate transactions that list ownership and any lien priority or encumbrances. The most common of the over one hundred types of documents that are recorded relates to deeds, including the quitclaim deed, mortgages, foreclosures, estoppels, licenses, leases, easements and fees.

Does Recording Real Estate Documents Invoke any Protection?

Recorded real estate documents do not establish ownership of a property, but are rather a means of making titles public record. When buying property, it does not hand you a piece of land, rather you take title to the land, which means you may possess and use the land.

Someone other than the owner may own the utility, air, or mineral rights to a property. This may include a bank holding a mortgage. Someone who has worked on the property may have filed a lien against it or the government may have liens for unpaid taxes. There may also be easements to the city to string utility lines across the property. A title search by a qualified third party will reveal the history of the property and any potential problems that may exist. It will also show any limitations on the use of the property, outstanding liens or monetary obligations, and rights that others may have on the property. Although the events that caused these problems existed before the latest purchase of the property, title insurance can provide coverage for its consequences as they affect the new owner. If there is a loan on the property, the lender may require a lender’s policy to cover any defect that may affect the value of its security.

Recorded documents are often used to help resolve disputes between two parties competing for a claim. The date of recording can help determine the ownership timeline where two parties have deeds to the same property. They provide important information that both buyers and sellers of real estate can use, as well as government authorities. With mortgage liens, for example, the court can use the date of recordings to determine priority on which ones will receive payment first.

There are many reasons recording real estate documents is important. One way to ensure that you have ownership of a property is to ensure the title. The costs of defending a title claim can be quite high and title insurance will improve your chances when actions are against you.

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