One of the most beautiful things about recording deeds or any documents for that matter with a governmental body, is their right to change fees. County recorders do announce ahead of time that fees will increase by x dollars at some point in time and fortunately it does not happen all that often, but with 3,600 counties in America, it seems fees are changing weekly.
There are only a couple of third party vendors in the US that offer a fee calculation summary and most of them are only 90% accurate at best. These outfits have full time staff that do nothing more than call county recorders and assessors each day, to make sure their data tables are correct for the end user when calculating recording fees.
While we are customer to some of these vendors, because we record documents and they do not, we find that our data tables are more accurate than theirs.
We continue to observe that counties typically reject on fees due to either underpayment or overpayment.
Imagine sending in a deed that includes a transfer tax of $1,500 with recording fees of let’s say $45. Logically, you remit $1,545.00. The county receives the document package and notices that you neglected to pay the .85 stamp tax that you had no idea existed since the fee calculator you used did not know either. The county then sends back your entire package and check, informing you of how to correct it. No big deal, you can resubmit.
County Recorders used to let you send a check with a NOT TO EXCEED x dollars just to deal with this issue but not many do anymore due to fraud. Some even used to be kind and keep your check and documents in the queue then call you or send a letter telling you to send in the missing change. Not anymore.
Another risk factor is if you mail your documents into a recorder, you should know the estimated recording time, as in, is it six weeks, twelve weeks? The reason you should check, is, if you send in a document to record and while your documents are sitting there, the county has published change in fees, you will need to remit the future fees or your documents will get rejected.
If you have a document that can handle being rejected then mail it in. If you have an extremely important document that needs to be recorded first time through, please contact the county and speak to a human, as well as refer to their website to ensure you have all of the fees you need in order to reduce your risk of rejection.
Thank you for reading this post. The title was intended to bring humor for the hockey fans out there.
Happy recording in 2016!
Aaron A. Romano, is the founder and owner of Smartdeeds.com, which since 1997 has focused solely on preparing and recording UPL compliant deeds with their respective required forms in all 3,600 counties across America. Aaron’s background was in the financial services industry which spawned Smartdeeds and affiliate companies to assist his client’s that owned property in states other than where they resided, to be placed securely in a newly created living trust document.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
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Phone: (800) 846-1555