- Why should I record my deed?
Under Pennsylvania law, for the transfer of property to be binding on third parties, the deed must be recorded in this office. The purchaser named on the last recorded deed is the current legal owner.
- Where is my deed?
When a deed is recorded, a permanent record (scanned image) is made and a specific deed book volume and page number is assigned to the deed. The very next working day, the original deed is mailed back to the address placed on the deed by the recording party. This is normally the name of the new purchaser or the attorney or title company who prepared the deed. If you do not have your deed, check with your attorney or title company, or you may obtain a copy from this office. A mail request for a certified copy of a deed is $10.00. If you prefer to come into the office to obtain a certified copy, the charge is $5.00
- May the Manager of Real Estate change a name on my deed?
NO. The Department of Real Estate is not permitted to change the name on any deed. If you want a name changed, added, or removed, a new deed must be prepared and recorded in this office. Consult with an attorney about preparing a new deed.
- I have a deed for my land. Do I need another deed for my house?
NO. Many people purchase a vacant lot prior to constructing a new home or another type of dwelling. We are frequently asked, “When do I get the deed for our house?” A deed indicates ownership of property, (land). Whatever is constructed thereafter is automatically yours.
- Can the deeds in your office tell me the age of my house?
NO. Prior deeds on existing property may or may not indicate the existence of a structure (home) going backwards following the chain of titled ownership. Pennsylvania law does not require the party preparing the deed to state on the document the existence of a structure, but only a complete legal description of the property.
- If my spouse dies, do I need a new deed?
NO. If your deed reads “John Jones and Mary Jones, his wife” and either spouse dies, the surviving spouse does not need a new deed. By operation of law, the surviving spouse automatically assumes full title to the property.
- I live in a mobile home. Am I supposed to get a deed?
If you own the property the mobile home sits on, then yes, you should have a deed. If you lease the property then no, you will not receive a deed. A mobile home is actually classified the same as a motor vehicle. You should possess a mobile home title issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles. You will, however, be assessed as a home owner by the Office of Property Assessment. That means you will receive a county, municipal and school district tax bill every year.
What happens to the original documents that are recorded in the Department of Real Estate?
Any original document, either submitted in person or by mail, must include a “Return To” mailing address to be accepted for recording. Typically, deeds indicate the address of the new buyer or the title company/law firm that handled the closing. Mortgages are mailed to the lender (mortgagee) and the majority of mortgage satisfactions are also returned to the lender.
- What is the difference between Deed Transfer Tax and Property Tax?
Deed Transfer Tax is the tax owed at the exact time a deed is recorded transferring real property to a new owner (buyer). This tax is normally 2%, but as high as 4%, (depending upon the municipality where the property is located) of the consideration (purchase price) of the property, or if no consideration is declared, on the adjusted fair market value assessment (current fair market value x common level ration) of the property.
Property Tax is quite simply a tax on real property (real estate). Three separate tax bills are generated on a yearly basis. All property owners receive a County, Municipal and School District Tax bill. All three tax bills are calculated based on the current fair market value multiplied by the current millage rate of that particular governing body. All governing bodies review and/or adjust their millage rates on an annual basis according to budgetary needs.
- If I give my property to my child, do I have to pay Deed Transfer Tax?
NO. Certain transactions are exempt from Pennsylvania and local Realty Transfer Tax. The most common example is between parent and child. Examples of other exempt familiar transfers are between brothers and sisters and grandparents to grandchildren.
- When must a Realty Transfer Tax Statement of Value accompany a deed?
All deeds claiming exemption from Deed Transfer Tax, (with the exception of familiar transfers), must be accompanied by a fully executed Statement of Value in duplicate. “Section E. Exemption Data” must specify the exemption claim. Typically, estate deeds, deeds conveying property to a living trust, and all deeds in lieu of foreclosure, (including Sheriff Deeds), must always be accompanied by a Statement of Value. Refer to “Section E” for additional property transfer exemptions.
Taxable transactions that do not declare a consideration must also be accompanied by a Statement of Value. Transfer tax must be paid on “Section D, Valuation Data.” The Valuation data is calculated on the Current Assessed Value of the property times (x) the Common Level Ratio Factor which then becomes the Adjusted Fair Market Value. “Section D, Box #6.”
- What is a Common Level Ratio Factor?
A common level ratio is a figure calculated and/or adjusted every July 1st by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue for all 67 Pennsylvania counties. The figure is designed to elevate and/or adjust individual county fair market values to a more realistic and current figure, based on recent sales of properties in various geographical areas of the state. The common level ratio and the adjusted fair market value must be declared on all deeds that are accompanied by a statement of value, regardless of the taxable or exempt status of the transaction.
- When I pay off my mortgage, should I do anything else?
YES. According to Pennsylvania law, the lender of record has up to 60 days to record a “mortgage satisfaction piece” in our office. This recorded document officially removes the lien of record. Check our free search website at: https://pa_allegheny.uslandrecords.com/palr/ to verify the recording of this document.
Will the mortgage lender send me my deed after I submit my final mortgage payment?
NO. The lender never had possession of the original deed. It was either mailed from our office to you the owner or the title company/law firm the day after it was recorded in our office.
- Once the mortgage is satisfied, should I do anything else?
YES. Contact the county treasurer and the local tax collector (municipal and school district) that all current and future tax bills are to be sent directly to your address.
- Am I permitted to view the recorded documents in your office?
YES. All recorded land documents are a matter of public record. However, Military Service Discharges, (DD-214’s) are confidential records. They are accessible only to the specific veteran or his immediate family. This office provides the recording and copy service of these documents free of charge.
What is an e-recorded document?
Since 2006, an increasing number of land documents recorded in Allegheny County are e-recorded, simply put, documents are submitted by e-mail. An e-recording vendor submits documents from companies all throughout the country for recording in Allegheny County. The two main advantages of e-recording versus a mailed submission are almost instantaneous recording and no return mailing costs, (postage, envelopes, paper and labor).
- Where can I get a copy of my survey?
Individual surveys of property are not a matter of public record. If you need a survey (plot plan), contact a Pennsylvania Registered Surveyor. Most surveyors are listed in the yellow pages of your phone book.
- How big is One (1) Acre of ground?
One acre is equal to 43,560 square feet. Visualize a football field. An acre of ground is nearly but not quite that large of an area.