In Iowa, the purpose for recording instruments which relate to real estate is for “constructive notice.” The Office of Recorder was created by the First Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Iowa in 1839. In 1860, the law provided that “each organized county shall elect a judge of the county court, a prosecuting attorney, a clerk of the district, a recorder, a sheriff, a surveyor, a coroner and a supervisor of roads.” It also provided that the recorder shall be treasurer of the county. The law required the recorder to “keep books for entering deeds” and a deed was not to be considered lawfully recorded unless previously acknowledged (notarized) or proved as provided by law.
Today, examples of documents that are recorded are: deeds, contracts, mortgages, assignments, releases, state and federal tax liens, affidavits, land surveys, subdivision plats, section corner certificates, condemnations, leases, trade names, bills of sale, financing statements, and military discharges. Recording fees are collected for all documents, except military discharges, and the money is paid into the county general fund quarterly.
Much has changed since that first recorder’s office. Today, the recorder’s office maintains real estate records, issues marriage certificates, boat, snowmobile, and ATV registrations, and processes passport applications. As passport agents, recorders assist in completing and mailing applications for passports. On July 1, 1997, recorders became registrars of vital records (births, deaths, and marriages).
Application for Military Record of Service
Military discharge papers (known as DD214’s) may be recorded as permanent records and certified to perfect claims. In order to obtain a certified copy, the original document must first be recorded at the Recorder’s Office upon discharge from service. You may request a certified copy by completing the Application for Certified Copy and mailing it to the Buena Vista County Recorder’s Office P.O. Box 454, Storm Lake, Iowa, 50588. There is no charge for the copy.
If you did not record your discharge papers at that time, and cannot locate the original, a copy of your discharge papers may be obtained by contacting the National Archives and Records Administration at http://www.archives.gov .
The DD214 must be recorded before the military exemption can be applied toward property tax reduction.
Document Formatting Standards
In order to comply with national standards, Iowa has adopted Document Formatting Standards. Effective July 1, 2009, all documents presented for recording (except those listed below) MUST meet the requirements outlined in chapters 331.606A and 331.606B,
Code of Iowa.
- All documents shall consist of one or more individual pages not permanently bound or in a continuous form. A page means a writing, printing, or drawing, other than a plat or survey or a drawing related to a plat or survey, occurring on one side only, and not larger than eight and one-half inches in width and fourteen inches in length. The document shall not have any attachment stapled or otherwise affixed to any page except as necessary to comply with statutory requirements. However, individual pages of a document may be stapled for presentation for recording. Labels that are firmly attached are acceptable.
- The first page of each document shall have a top margin of at least three (3) inches of vertical space from left to right which shall be reserved for the recorder’s use. All other margins on the document shall be a minimum of three-fourths of one inch. Nonessential information such as page numbers or customer notations may be placed in a margin except the top margin.
- All preprinted text shall be at least eight point in size and no more than twenty characters and spaces per inch. All other text, typed or computer generated, including but not limited to all names of parties to an agreement, shall be at least ten point in size and no more than sixteen characters and spaces per inch.
- Each document shall be of sufficient legibility to produce a clear reproduction.
- Each document shall be on white paper of not less than twenty-pound weight without watermarks or other visible inclusions.
- All signatures on a document shall be in black or dark blue ink and of sufficient color and clarity to ensure that the signatures are readable when the document is reproduced. All names shall be typed, printed, or stamped beneath the original signature.
- Embossed or inked stamps shall not cover or otherwise materially interfere with any part of the document.
- Each document that is presented for recording shall have the following information on the first page below the three-inch margin: a) the name, address, and telephone number of the individual who prepared the document; b) the name of the taxpayer and a complete mailing address for any document or instrument of conveyance; c) a return address; d) the title of the document; e) all grantor’s names; f) all grantee’s names; g) any address required by statute; h) the legal description of the property and parcel identification number, if required. If insufficient space exists on the first page for all of the information previously described, the page reference of the document where the information is located shall be noted on the first page.
- Documents dated on or after July 1, 2007, may not include any personally identifiable information. Personally identifiable information is defined as an individual’s Social Security number, bank account numbers, credit account numbers, or debit account numbers.
The following documents are exempt from document formatting requirements:
- A document that was signed before July 1, 2005.
- A military separation document.
- A document that executed outside of the United States.
- A certified copy of a document issued by a governmental agency, including a vital record.
- A document where one of the original parties is deceased or otherwise incapacitated.
- A document formatted to meet court requirements.
- A federal tax lien.
- A filing under the uniform commercial code, chapter 554.
- A plat or survey or a drawing related to a plat or survey.
On or after July 1, 2005, a document that does not conform to the document formatting standards shall not be recorded except upon payment of an additional recording fee of ten dollars per document or instrument.
However, the non-standard fee may not be applied to
- the legibility requirements;
- the requirement to include the name of the taxpayer and a complete mailing address for any document or instrument of conveyance; and
- the requirement that all documents have original signatures in black or dark blue ink and the names of the parties typed below their signatures.
DOCUMENT FORMAT AND RECORDING REQUIREMENTS
All documents presented for recording must be legible and reproducible and shall have typed or legibly printed on them the names of all signatories including the names of acknowledging officers beneath the original signatures. Documents must be signed, dated, and notarized. For all documents pertaining to real estate, a complete legal description is required. (The abbreviated legal description found on tax statements should not be used.)
A minimum of 3″ of space is required at the top of all documents. Immediately below this space must be typed the name, address, and phone number of the individual who prepared the document.
Each document of conveyance (excluding mortgages and assignments and releases of mortgages) is required to have the following statement immediately below the preparer’s information: “Address Tax Statement To: (Name and address of the taxpayer).”
See “Document Formatting Requirements” for additional requirements.
Transfer tax will be affixed to all deeds conveying real estate with a consideration of over $500. Transfer tax is based on $.80 per each $500 of value, with the first $500 being exempt. If a document is exempt from transfer tax, the exemption pursuant to Chapter 428A.2, Code of Iowa, must be stated on the face of the document.
All conveyances of real estate recorded after January 1, 1979, must be accompanied by a Declaration of Value form, unless exempt pursuant to Chapter 428A. In addition, effective July 1, 1987, all conveyances, including leases and subdivision plats, must also be accompanied by a Groundwater Hazard Statement.
|Land Recording:||$7.00 per 1st page then $5.00 for each additional page|
|Includes but not limited to:Mortgages, Corner Certs. Assignments, Releases, Foreclosures, Affidavits, Tax Liens, Easements||
|Surveys:||$7.00 per 1st page then $5.00 for each additional page|
|Multi-Purpose Land Recording:||$7.00 per 1st page, $5.00 per page thereafter|
|$5.00 per each additional transaction.
(i.e. Instruments that release multiple mortgages, assign, modifications, amendments)
1 page release referencing 2 mortgages -$12.00
1 page assignment referencing 2 mortgages -$12.00
2 page release referencing 2 mortgages -$17.00
|Land Recording Conveyances||$7.00 per 1st page then $5.00 for each additional page|
|Including Changes of Title:||$5.00 Auditor fee per parcel:|
|including but not limited to: All deeds except cemetery Deeds, Affidavits of Surviving Spouse, Forfeitures of Contract, Assignments or Amendments of Contract & Contracts||1. All contiguous land lying within a numbered section.
2. All contiguous land lying within a platted block or subdivision
3. Auditor’s fee shall not exceed $50.00 per document Examples:
|Real Estate Transfer Tax:||This shared state/county sales tax on real estate is due on all Conveyances in which consideration has been paid and is not Exempt from tax according to Iowa Code Section 428A.2|
|Uniform Commercial Code Fee:||All UCC filings: first page $7.00 Each additional page $5.00|
|Land Records Certified Copies:||$5.00 first page plus $1.00 for each additional page of the document.|
|Military Discharge Certified Copies:||No Charge|
|Vital Records Certified Copies:||$20.00 per copy. Only the following people are eligible for
Certified copies: the person of record, a spouse, mother, father (must be named on the record as legal father), stepparent if married to parent of record, legal age sister or brother, maternal or paternal grandparents, attorney, legal guardian, physician, funeral director, abstractor, insurance or legal agent.
|Plain Paper Vital Record Copies:||$5.00 per copy given to in-person applicants only. Phone request prohibited according to the Department of Public Health Bureau Of Vital Records.|
|Marriage Application, License And Certificate of Marriage:||$35.00 at the time of application. The parties and one witness attesting to the party’s ages and ability to enter into a Civil contract must sign the application. All parties must have Valid photo ID’s. Iowa law requires a 3-day waiting period before License is valid. License is not proof of marriage. Certificate of Marriage is returned to the County Recorder where application is made within 15 days after marriage is solemnized. Certificate of Marriage is valid statewide.|
|Faxed & Email copies:||Faxed is $1.00 for the first page and $.50 for each additional page; Emailed is $2.00 per document.|
|Mailed Copies:||$.50 per page|
|In office copy fees for land records:||$.50 per page|
|Email fees:||$2.00 per document.|
|Computer printouts:||Please check with the Recorder’s Office.|
Time of Transfer Groundwater Inspection Law
Property Transfers to require groundwater inspections
The Iowa “Time of Transfer” inspection requirement became effective July 1, 2009. Information on the requirements for inspections can be found within Chapter 69, Private Sewage Disposal Systems, specifically Sec. 567-69.2 (455.B).
All properties that are going to be sold and/or transferred that include a private wastewater treatment and/or water supply must have these facilities inspected by the Buena Vista County Health Department or a certified inspector licensed by the Iowa DNR, and any deficiencies addressed before the sale/transfer takes place. The inspections and statements must be recorded with the Buena Vista County Recorders Office at the time of legal transfer. Please refer to the instructions listed here for details on what defines a “transfer” governed by this policy.
New Forms for Property Transfers
Effective July 1, 2009 the State of Iowa that the following reports, if applicable to be recorded with this office at the time of Property Transfer.
- Groundwater Hazard Form (if applicable)
- Time of Transfer Inspection Report
- Time of Transfer Binding Acknowledgement
- Time of Transfer Demolition Waiver (if applicable)