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Register of Deeds Checklist

This checklist is a brief instruction to help avoid the most common errors when having instruments recorded, and is not intended to cover all laws in the recording of documents.  It has only been prepared for the convenience of the public, in respect to recording of documents and in no way has been provided to give legal advice on how to effectuate a legal and valid transaction.


You may use the following checklist, for convenience, before delivering documents to our office for recording.  However, it is the recommendation of the Register of Deeds that you seek legal counsel when preparing any and all documents for recording with our office.





  1. All documents must comply with the document standards law.  (SEE DOCUMENT STANDARDS FORMAT FOR MORE SPECIFICE DETAIL.)​

  2. Correct legal descriptions must be on the document.

  3. Documents recorded must have typed or printed the words "Prepared by" followed by the full name, address and phone number of the person preparing the document.  This must be placed on the upper left side of the first page in the top 3 inch margin.

  4. Post Office Address of Grantee - The full post office address must be listed for the purchasers.

  5. Certificate of Real Estate Value - Deeds, Contract for Deed, Assignment of Contract for Deed, etc. which convey an interest in the title from one person to another are dated after July 1, 1988 shall be accompanied by the Certificate of Real Estate Value.  The Certificate must be fully completed, signed and dated.  

  6. Mortgages - Must contain a legal description, mailing address of mortgagee (lender), the amount of the mortgage and the date it is due.

  7. Seals (Notary) - Instruments that must be executed in front of a Notary Public must bear the seal.

  8. Transfer Fee Exemption Statutes - Transfer Fee exemption statutes must be typed on the face of a deed if the transfer is exempt.  The words "Exempt from Transfer Fee" Pursuant to SDCL 43-4-22, (applicable subdivision must be put in parenthesis) are to be typed or printed on the face of the instrument.  Click here for the full list of exemptions.

  9. Satisfaction of Mortgages - Requires:

    1. a legal description

    2. a book and page number of the mortgage to be released

    3. the date of the mortgage

    4. the names of the mortgagors

    5. the name of the mortgagee

    6. execution and acknowledgment in front of a Notary Public

  10. Assignment of Mortgages - Please be sure to include the following:

    1. the legal description

    2. the name of the mortgagor

    3. the name of the morgagee

    4. the name of the assignee and its post office address

    5. the date, and book and page of the recorded mortgage

    6. county and state

    7. execution and acknowledgment in front of a Notary Public

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