How do I retrieve a deed to my house?

Deeds are official public records, and as such are on file in every county. If you lose your deed, or if it is damaged by fire, flood, or another natural disaster, you will not be able to get another original, but you will be able to get a certified copy of the original. However if you sell the property, the buyers' lawyer will be able to prepare a new original for them. As long as a copy is available, the old deed is not needed to prepare the new deed.

Visit the county or municipal office that maintains land records, usually located within the county courthouse. Deeds are usually stored in the County Clerk's office, the Office of Real Property, the Land Registry Office, the County Recorder's Office, the Register of Deeds or an office similarly named.

Tell the clerk at the appropriate office that you need a certified copy of your deed. Be prepared to give the street address, owner's name or names and property identification number, if you have it. The property identification number, or parcel number, is on your tax bill, but if you don't have it, don't worry. They will be able to locate the deed without it.

Pay the clerk the fee, which should be small, and the clerk will give you a certified copy of the deed.


You do not need to produce identification to get a copy of a deed because deeds are in the public record.

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About the Author

Cat Reynolds has written professionally since 1990. She has worked in academe (teaching and administration), real estate and has owned a private tutoring business. She is also a poet and recipient of the Discover/The Nation Award. Her work can be found in literary publications and on various blogs. Reynolds holds a Master of Arts in writing and literature from Purdue University.

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