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What is a Deed?

Deeds have many names: Deed, Warranty Deed, Special Warranty Deed, Bargain and Sale Deed, and Quit Claim Deed. A Deed is a legal document that transfers ownership, interest or rights to real property. The grantors, who are transferring title to another party, and one or more witnesses sign the deed.

There are different types of Deeds. A Warranty Deed conveys ownership with some type of warranty, which differs by jurisdiction, but it generally provides a guaranty against title claims. A Special Warranty Deed coveys ownership but limits the guaranty against title claims generally from the time the grantor obtained ownership forward.

Another deed, a Bargain and Sale Deed, implies that the grantor has the right to convey title but makes no warranties against encumbrances or liens. It is used most commonly when property is sold at a sheriff's sale for unpaid taxes, or by an executor of an estate.

Finally, a Quit Claim Deed is commonly used to disclaim rights to a property and is not actually a deed, but rather an estoppel. It releases the grantor from claims against the property. However, in CT, it is also used to convey ownership to real estate without warranties.

What is a Mortgage or Deed of Trust?

Depending on the state, a Mortgage or Deed of Trust (or Trust Deed) are used in connection with a real estate loan. A Deed of Trust is generally used instead of a mortgage in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virgina.

In many states a mortgage is regarded as a lien, but not a transfer of title and, if not repaid the debt is recovered by a foreclosure and sale of the real estate. On the other hand, a Deed of Trust transfers title to an independent third party, the trustee, who holds "bare or legal" title to the property. The lender is the beneficiary and the borrower is the trustor. The trustee holds the power to sell the property if the loan is in default (foreclosure) and conveys ownership back to the borrower when the loan is paid in full.

As a user of Certus Recording, you do not need to know which document is used to calculate recording fees and taxes. We use a matrix to determine which document you mean, making it easier for you to get the fees you need for your GFE or HUD-1.

What is a Release or Satisfaction?

Once a mortgage loan is paid in full, the lien is removed through a release, satisfaction, cancelation, or discharge depending on the county. Some states use a Release and others a Satisfaction. When the debt is repaid, the mortgage is discharged, and a satisfaction of mortgage is recorded with the register or recorder of deeds in the county where the mortgage was recorded. In counties where a Deed of Trust was recorded, the lender surrenders the note to the trustee when the loan is paid in full and the trustee discharges the lien and conveys the title of the property back to the borrower by recording a Release or Satisfaction.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a written document signed by a person giving another person the power to conduct business on behalf of the signer. There are two types of POAs: 1) a general power of attorney which covers all activities, and 2) a specific or special power of attorney which grants limited power to act, such as selling or refinancing a specific property. Some states require a specific power of attorney on real estate transactions where a POA is used. Some also require the legal description of the property to appear on the POA. Most counties charge a separate fee for recording the POA.

What is an Assumption of Mortgage?

When a buyer purchases property with an existing mortgage using an Assumption of Mortgage, the buyer accepts the liability of the existing debt. Generally this requires consent of the lender and the seller may remain liable for the existing debt unless the lender agrees to release the seller from that liability.

What is a Loan Modification?

When the terms of a mortgage loan are changed, a Loan Modification is used. A modification may include a change in the length of the term, the interest rate, payment schedule, as well as other terms. In some states, a loan modification may trigger mortgage taxes.

Construction loan transactions and CEMA transactions are forms of Loan Modifications. When a construction loan is made, the initial loan is for the construction phase. Once construction is completed a construction temporary to permanent loan modification may be completed. It modifies the initial existing mortgage which may have a short term (usually 2 years or less) to a standard 30 year or less mortgage term.

For CEMA transactions, see What is a CEMA?

What is a CEMA?

CEMA stands for Consolidated Extension of Mortgage Act. It applies to refinances, and in some circumstances purchases, in NY. It allows the borrower to avoid paying mortgage tax by modifying (or consolidating) existing mortgage loans where mortgage taxes were previously paid. With a CEMA, the borrower only pays mortgage tax on the new money borrowed provided the transaction meets the CEMA requirements, which include only existing mortgages made during the previous 10 years. Not all lenders allow CEMA loans and not all title agents specialize in CEMA transactions.

There are many extra documents required when recording a CEMA transaction and Certus Recording adds an additional 35 pages to the mortgage recorded to allow for these extra forms and calculates the tax on the new money only.

How are recording fees calculated?

Fees and taxes are calculated by Certus Recording based on details of the real estate transaction, including but not limited to, the county or jurisdiction, documents being recorded, the loan amount, purchase price, assessed value, unpaid loan balances, original loan amount, number of pages of the document, number of names included, number of parcels included, and whether or not the document meets the formatting and other recording requirements for the county.

Recording a document often includes the fee for the document as well as several additional fees including additional forms required by the county, special processing fees such as copies and non-compliance fees, and other related costs such as fees for special state or locally funded projects, for example, low income housing fees, conservation funds, fraud and/or auditing fees. Often the term recording fee includes the taxes that may be required as well.

How are recording transfer taxes calculated?

Not all states or local jurisdictions impose a transfer tax. Of those that do, transfer taxes are generally calculated by multiplying the purchase price, also known as the consideration amount, by the factor set by the state or local jurisdiction. While most jurisdictions base the tax on the fair market value, some like VA use the assessed value. Additionally, transfer taxes are also known as conveyance taxes, excise taxes, documentary stamps, recordation taxes, et cetera. Regardless of what the tax is named and the figure the tax is based on, Certus Recording will ask for the required amount.

Often the formula is expressed as a dollar amount per $1,000. For example in Il, the state charges $0.50/$500 of the purchase price. Additionally, many counties and cities in IL charge a transfer tax. Certus Recording will calculate the state as well as local transfer taxes for your transaction.

How are recording mortgage taxes calculated?

Generally, mortgage taxes are calculated by multiplying the loan amount, also known as the face value of the note, by the factor set by the state or local jurisdiction. Some states, like MD and GA, base the tax on the new money borrowed rather than the full loan amount. Additionally, some states like MD, may not charge the mortgage tax when they collect transfer tax on a purchase transaction. Certus presents the accurate calculation based on the rounding instructions provided by the jurisdiction. Regardless of what figure the tax is based on, Certus Recording will ask for the required amount.

Often the formula is expressed as a dollar amount per $1,000, such as $1.00/$1,000. Additionally, many counties and cities in IL charge a transfer tax. Certus Recording will calculate the state as well as local transfer taxes for your transaction.

How are intangible taxes calculated?

Intangible tax is a mortgage tax charged in both GA and FL. Intangible tax is a tax on the loan amount on the note and is collected when the loan is closed. It is typically paid by the borrower and is required on all transactions where money is loaned, including purchase as well as refinance transactions. The states determine the tax amount which may range from $1.50/$500 in GA to $2/$1,000 in FL.

What information do I need to calculate fees and taxes for a Deed?

Generally the information needed to calculate the recording fees for a deed include the consideration amount or purchase price, the location of the property, including the state, county, and city, the number of pages to be recorded, and the number of names (depending on the jurisdiction this may be surnames, or grantor and grantee names). In some jurisdictions you will also need the number of parcels (lots, blocks, or sections) number of references, and the number of exhibits. Other details specific to a county may also be required. Certus Recording will guide you through the information needed in the specific county.

What information do I need to calculate fees and taxes for a Mortgage or Deed or Trust?

Generally the information needed to calculate the recording fees for a mortgage or deed of trust include the loan amount, the location of the property, including the state, county, and city, the number of pages to be recorded, and the number of names (depending on the jurisdiction this may be surnames, or grantor and grantee names). In some jurisdictions you will also need the assessed value or fair market value, the original loan amount and/or the unpaid balance if it is a refinance transaction. Additionally, the jurisdiction may require the number of parcels (lots, blocks, or sections) number of references, and the number of exhibits. Other details specific to a county may also be required. Certus Recording will guide you through the information needed in the specific county.

What information do I need to calculate fees for an Assumption document?

Generally for an assumption you will need to provide the location of the property, including the state, county, and city, as well as the new loan amount, the prior loan original amount (face value of the original note), the unpaid balance, and the number of pages. There may be taxes on new money and Certus Recording will calculate that for you. There may be other county specific information needed, but Certus Recording will ask for that information when needed.

What information do I need to record a release or satisfaction?

For a release or satisfaction Certus Recording only requires the location of the property, including the state, county, and city, as well as the number of releases included in the document and the number of pages.

What information do I need to record a UCC document?

Currently Certus Recording does not calculate the fees for a UCC document which is a lien on property that is not real estate; however, we do provide you with the contact details for the county so you can obtain this information if needed.

What are the common errors found when recording documents?

By far, the most common error is presenting the document for recording with a check for the incorrect recording fee or amount. Certus Recording is designed to help you calculate fees accurately so that your checks are accurate.

Signature problems are also common. Either the signatures are missing, or the names are not printed under the signatures. Additionally, counties report documents are often not originals or do not contain original signatures. Some counties may accept certified copies of original documents, but most require original documents with original signatures.

Formatting issues are another common problem reported by counties. Most have margin, page size, and font size requirements that must be met. Often, the document must have space, at least 3 inches at the top of the first page, for the county stamps. Depending on the county, a non-compliant document may be recorded if a penalty fee is included. Others will reject documents that do not meet the formatting requirements.

Additionally, notary issues are very common. Most documents, such as a deed or mortgage/deed of trust, must be notarized. Often the notary acknowledgment section is missing, not signed, not dated, or the notary stamp is missing or blurred.

How do I access or login to Certus?

To access the Certus Recording website from your Internet browser, go to www.certusrecording.com. In the Sign In section of the Home Page, enter your Certus ID and Password and select SIGN IN. If you have trouble signing in, select the link Can't access your account for instructions. If you don't have an account, contact us at info@certusrecording.com.

If you are using an integrated account, you can login to our website using the instructions above for a quote from our GUI interface, or follow the instructions in our Programmer's Guide to access your account. If you need help, please contact us at support@certusrecording.com.

How do I get a quote?

Using our website for a quote, complete the data entry pages once you have signed in to your account. The first tab will require property location details such as the zip code, or the state, county and city. Once the location is entered, Certus will provide you with a list of recording offices where the property is located with the primary office selected by default. However, you may select another recording office as needed. In most jurisdictions with more than one office, you can record documents at any office in the jurisdiction; however, there are some that will not accept or forward documents to the appropriate office if received at their office. Certus will alert you if an office will not forward documents.

Next, Certus Recording requires information about the transaction—the documents being recorded and the details required for recording those documents such as loan amount, purchase price, number of pages, et cetera.

Certus may need additional information to correctly calculate the fees and taxes, and may present you with questions specific to your transaction for the recording jurisdiction. Answer all questions presented in order to ensure the correct calculation of fees and taxes. For example, to calculate correctly on registered land, you would need to answer the registered land question to indicate the property is registered land so that Certus Recording adds the additional fees.

If there are exemptions allowed for your transaction, review and answer the questions on the Exemptions page. If there are no exemptions allowed for your transaction, you may skip the Exemptions page and continue to the Results page.

Certus will calculate your fees and taxes based on the information you provided. Each calculation will be assigned a Transaction ID number and a Quote ID number. When you are updating the quote for the same property, the Transaction ID number will be the same, but the Quote ID number will change so you can track the different quotes updates for a specific property when details of the transaction change, such as loan amount.

If you are using the integrated version of Certus Recording, please consult the Programmer's Guide for details on how to get a calculation from Certus Recording.

How do I understand the results?

The Results page provides you with your accurate fee calculations as well as important information about recording your documents. The top portion of the screen details the recording fees by document and the recording taxes by document. The amounts include summary figures and may be expanded or collapsed to view the summary or detailed information.

Other important information is shown at the bottom of the screen including the recording office address and contact details, notes, instructions and procedures for recording as well as other reference and helpful information.

How do I integrate Certus Recording with my application?

Please see our integration guide for instructions on how to integrate Certus Recording into your application.

How do I contact Certus for more information?

For more information or help contact us at info@certusrecording.com.

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