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​Recorder of Deeds FAQ
What are your hours of operation?
Weekdays from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
 
How may I obtain a copy of my deed or mortgage?
You can visit our website at http://www.dauphincounty.org/government/Publicly-Elected-Officials/Recorder-of-Deeds and print your document, or you can visit us in person at the Dauphin County Courthouse at 101 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA  17101.
 
How do I change, add or remove a name on a deed?
A new deed must be prepared showing the change and then recorded in our office.
 
I paid off my mortgage, should I receive my deed now?
A deed should be delivered to you shortly after the purchase of the property.  After the mortgage is paid, a mortgage satisfaction is usually sent from your lending institution to our office noting the mortgage is satisfied.
 
How far back do your records go?
Our records begin in 1785 with our first recorded registry.
 
How do I register as a notary?
You must come into our office with identification, your completed notary bond, and payment.  We will record your bond and commission and administer your oath.  You will then proceed to the Prothonotary to register your signature.  No appointment is necessary.
 
Is it necessary to remove a deceased spouse’s name from my deed?
Generally no, if the property was held jointly by husband and wife as tenants by entirety.  If and when the survivor sells or mortgages the property, he or she simply explains in the new deed or mortgage that the other spouse is deceased.  There could be special circumstances such as when title is held as tenants in common that would require different handling.  You should consult your attorney.
 
What are your recording fees?
Our fees are set by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through action of the General Assembly and may change from time to time.  Our current fee schedule is available by visiting our website at www.dauphinc.org/deeds and clicking on Fee Schedule and Printable Forms.
 
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash or check for recording fees.  Checks are made payable to "Dauphin County Recorder of Deeds."
 
May I submit documents for recording by mail?
Yes, but make sure all documents meet all legal recording criteria and that the proper fee is enclosed.  All documents require a self-addressed stamped envelope for return.
 
Can I obtain information over the phone?
General information can be obtained by phone, but for more detailed information you should come into the office or contact a title searcher or attorney.  Our responsibility is only for recording, reproducing, and indexing recordable documents. 
 
How long does it take to get documents back?
The Recorder’s Office will return original documents, in most cases, to the party that presented them for recording within 1-2 days.  Document return time is affected by volume of recordings, holidays, and staffing levels.  If you have not received your documents after two weeks, contact the person or firm who recorded them for you.
 
Why does it take 1-2 days?
For your protection and accurate permanent records, all documents are electronically imaged and the original is retained until the indexes and records are verified and proofed by at least two people.  All electronic images are also backed up on hard drive and microfilmed to meet Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission requirements.  The microfilm is stored off-site in a specially designed underground center so in the event of a disaster in the Courthouse the records can be duplicated.
 
Can anyone look at my deed or mortgage?
Yes.  All documents recorded in our office are of public record with the exception of Military Discharge Papers (DD214).
 
Can I prepare my own deed?
Yes, however, it is usually a good idea to have someone with certain expertise in the field, such as an attorney, prepare it for you to make sure it is done properly.
 
If I build on my lot, do I get a new deed to include my house?
No.  The original deed usually covers any buildings erected on the lot now or at a later date. 
 
What is Realty Transfer Tax?
There is a 2% tax on the consideration or value of the property and interest being conveyed.  The tax is split between the state, local municipality and the school district.  Department of Revenue receives 1% and the municipality and school district each receive ½ %.
 
Are any deed transfers exempt from Realty Transfer Tax?
Yes.  Conveyances between husband and wife, parent and child, grandparent and grandchild, brothers and sisters are all considered to be tax exempt transactions.  There are some other exemptions allowed in certain situations.  It’s best to consult your attorney or contact Pennsylvania Department of Revenue concerning them.  
 
How can I determine my property line?
Your deed should have a legal description of the boundaries of your property, but you may need a surveyor to use this information to locate the property lines and place markers on the land.
 
Do you record deeds for cemetery lots?
No.  Usually a cemetery lot deed only gives you permission to use the ground.  The cemetery still retains title to the property.  Such deeds or titles are maintained in the office of the Cemetery Company or Association.
 
How can I check for liens against my property?
Except mortgages, most liens are filed in the Prothonotary’s Office.  Our office maintains records of mortgages and secured transactions affecting real estate.  Judgment liens, municipal liens, state tax liens are filed with the Prothonotary.
 
How can I determine the owner of a property?
Our records are by name, not location.  If you want all the property owned by an individual, our records will list that.  If you want to know who owns a certain lot, that information will be available in the Dauphin County Tax Assessment Office, on the second floor of the Dauphin County Administration Building at 2 South 2nd Street Harrisburg.
 
Can I record my Military Discharge (DD214)?
Yes.  It is a good idea to record it so if it is ever lost or destroyed you can obtain a certified copy free of charge from our office.  Military discharge records are not available for the public to view. Only the veteran or a qualified family member may inspect their discharge records.
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