1. What is the Register of Deeds Office?
The Register of Deeds office is a place where all transactions having to do with real estate including most liens and mortgages are recorded and maintained so that the public is made aware of their existence. This is also a place where financing statements and security agreements are filed on personal property under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC).
2. What is a deed?
A deed is an instrument by which a buyer obtains title to a piece of property being sold. A deed comes in many forms. The most common form of passing title is called a warranty deed. The seller warrants that he has a good and clear title and guarantees that his predecessors have no interest in the title. Another form commonly used is the quitclaim deed. This is used to obtain a release from a person who is believed to have some interest or claim to the property. By this form of deed the grantor “quits” any claim the grantor may have.
3. Does a deed have to be recorded?
Although there is no time limit on recording a deed, a deed should be recorded as promptly after the transaction as possible. Failure to record a deed could render transfer or mortgaging of the property impossible and create numerous legal difficulties. However, an unrecorded deed is still valid.
4. What if I lose my deed?
The primary evidence of ownership of land is not so much the deed itself as the recording of the deed. If your deed is misplaced or lost, a copy may be obtained from the Register of Deeds office or certified with its official stamp. The copy may then be kept among the buyers personal records.
5. What is a lien?
Many times the owner of property may owe money to various creditors. The lien allows the creditors a means of preventing the property from being sold or mortgaged until the debt is paid. Among the many types of liens are tax liens (for nonpayment of taxes) and mechanics liens (for labor and materials furnished in construction). However, a mechanics lien on real property is filed with the Clerk of the District Court.
6. What happens to a document when it is brought to the Register of Deeds?
There are a number of steps taken when a document is received for recording before it is returned to the customer. The document is first evaluated for obvious errors and recordability and the correct fee is ascertained. The document is then entered on the reception book. A file stamp is affixed to the document and each page is given a book and page number. The file stamp is typed with date, time, and book & page and fee amount. The Register of Deeds or Deputy proofs the file stamp information and then acknowledges with signature. The document is then microfilmed for the record and the official county seal is applied before returning to the customer. The document is then indexed in the numerical land index books and the Direct and Indirect books. Each morning the preceding days recordings are entered into the computer by name, book & page, time/date, legal description, comments and fees. The return address is listed in both the reception book and the computer.
7. What are the fees for recording instruments in the Register of Deeds office?
State law sets the recording fees, which are $14.00 for the first page and $10.00 for each additional page. In addition there is a technology fee charged of $2.00 per page for ROD office, .50 per page each for Treasurer's and Clerk's Office and $1.00 per page for Heritage Trust Fund. Before a mortgage is recorded a mortgage registration fee of the amount of the mortgage X’s .0010 during 2017 and .0005 during 2018 is required to be paid. A release or assignment of mortgage is $13.00 per mortgage listed regardless of number of pages (the technology fees and Heritage Trust fee also applies being an additional $4.00 per page), and Plats of Additions are $29.00 per page. The recording fees for UCC’s are $15.00 for up to 10 pages and $1.00 per page after that. These fees listed apply for 2017 ONLY and will change January 1, 2018.
8. How long will it take for a deed or other document to be returned?
After imaging and indexing the documents are sorted and envelopes addressed ready to be placed in the mail within 48 hours of recording.
9. How do I find the deed to my property?
The easiest way to locate your deed would be to supply the Register of Deeds office with the legal description for your property. The staff will then look in the appropriate numerical land index book for your name to obtain the correct book and page number of your deed. If you do not know the legal description of your property the address can be entered into the Appraisers menu of the computer to obtain the correct legal description. Upon locating the book and page number you will then find a copy of your original deed. You may obtain a copy of your deed for a fee. And it can be certified for an additional fee of $10.00.
10. Can I locate the mortgage on my property in the Register of Deeds office?
Yes, mortgages are listed in the numerical land index books, as are the deeds.
11. Who do I talk to in the Register of Deeds office about matters of this sort?
The office staff at the front counter as you enter the Register of Deeds office will be more than happy to answer your questions. It is better if you personally visit the office. However, if you cannot you may obtain certain information over the phone. Since there are certain kinds of information that can only be answered by an attorney it would not be feasible to have the information given you by one who is not an attorney. Basically the Register of Deeds office is a recording agency only and therefore the information it provides is limited to that which is contained in the records. If you call, the number is 785-238-5531. The Register of Deeds office is open to the public during the hours of 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Monday – Friday, excluding State and National Holidays.
12. May I make my own deed?
Yes, you could, but the Register of Deeds and staff always recommends the retention of an attorney or you may also contact an Abstract & Title Company. The Register of Deeds office is a recording agency and therefore cannot make out deeds or answer questions that pertain to legal matters.
13. Can I record property in the Geary County Register of Deeds office if the property is not located in this county?
No, the property or part of it has to be located in Geary County.
14. Can the Register of Deeds office tell me if I have a good and clear title?
No. Professional title examiners or abstractors use the records in our office as well as searching records in other offices to determine if the title is good and clear.
15. What other kinds of records would I find in the Register of Deeds office?
Besides deeds, mortgages and liens, there are oil and gas leases, plats of additions to the cities of Geary County, easements, restrictive covenants, honorable discharges from the armed forces, power of attorneys and corporate records. Our office records a diverse range of very technical documents.
16. How far back do the records go?
The earliest records in the Register of Deeds office, written in elaborate manuscript, date back to the 1800’s. Among the early records are the Patent Deeds recorded when land was bought from the United States government that are signed by the President of the United States.
17. What is the Uniform Commercial Code?
Uniform Commercial Code more commonly known as UCC, became effective in Kansas in 1966. The Uniform Commercial Code is a code developed for uniform filing on personal property throughout the USA. Like all “uniform” attempts, fees and other things are different, but the basic concepts of security regulations are more uniform. The filing of a UCC financing statement is what perfects or secures the loan on consumer goods or personal property.
18. Who runs the Register of Deeds office?
A person referred to as the Register of Deeds administers the Register of Deeds office, who in turn has a Deputy and a staff that performs various duties.
19. Who is the Register of Deeds?
The Register of Deeds is an elected official for a four year term who makes certain that the documents are recorded properly according to the laws of the state and maintains and preserves those records. The current Register of Deeds is Diane Briestensky-Leonard.
20. Where is the Register of Deeds office located?
The office is located in the Geary County Office Building at 200 E. 8th St. in Junction City, Kansas (across from the Geary County Detention Center).
A note from Diane:
It is my sincerest wish that this information has been helpful and creates a better understanding of the Register of Deeds office. As you can see the Register of Deeds performs functions essential to local government and the general public. Please feel free to contact our office at 785-238-5531 for answers to any other questions that may arise.