Recording Information

The following information is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.

What type of document can be recorded?

The County Clerk-Recorder, upon payment of proper fees and taxes, will accept any document which is authorized or required by California law to be recorded, if the document contains required information and if it is photographically reproducible.

How can I meet the legibility requirements?
We process all recorded documents using digital high speed scanners. All of the documents recorded in our office are inspected to ensure that the document is legible and will scan on our equipment. To ensure that your document will scan properly please do not use highlighter pens. Please use black or dark blue ink, use only standard fonts (Arial and Times New Roman) in a standard font size, 10 or larger, underline items you want to highlight and do not use bold type in the body of a document. Documents printed on a laser printer will scan far better than documents printed on an ink jet printer. 
Do you supply blank forms for recording documents?

This office does not provide document forms and cannot assist you in their preparation. Consult an attorney, a title company, or persons familiar with real estate record preparation.  If you choose to prepare the document yourself, you may purchase forms at many stationery stores or online.  In the vicinity of our office, there are businesses that have forms available for a nominal fee.  The Contra Costa County Public Law Library, the Contra Costa County Library, and self-help books may also assist you.

It is your responsibility to select the correct form to meet your needs.

Do I need an attorney to record a document?

You do not need an attorney to record a document, but please remember that documents presented for recording may affect ownership of real property.  It is a good idea to consult with a real estate professional before recording any document with our office.

What is a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report (PCOR)?

A Preliminary Change of Ownership Report is a document that must accompany any document that changes ownership on real property. This document is sent to the Assessor’s Office to determine the taxability of a transfer of real property. You may download a PCOR from the link at the top of this page.   Should you wish to record a change of ownership document without a PCOR, you will be charged an additional fee. 

What is the difference between a Grant Deed and a Deed of Trust?

A Grant Deed is an instrument that reflects a change in ownership of real property. A Deed of Trust is an instrument that secures a debt to real property.

What is a Substitution of Trustee / Deed of Reconveyance?
The Substitution of Trustee reflects the appointment of a new trustee in place of the original trustee as shown on a previously recorded Deed of Trust. The Reconveyance reflects full or partial payment of a loan under a Deed of Trust. It also reflects a payoff of a loan or a refinance. It is the responsibility of the County Recorder to record these documents and make them public record. If you have any specific questions pertaining to the recording of a Substitution of Trustee / Deed of Reconveyance, please contact your current lender and / or trustee.

For example: if you assume a loan the Substitution of Trustee / Deed of Reconveyance is recorded in the name of the original borrower, not the current homeowner. 

What type of document is a Survey Monument Fee collected for?

A Survey Monument Fee is collected on all Deeds (Deeds, Grant Deeds, Warranty Deeds, Gift Deeds, Trustee’s Deeds) with the following types of legal descriptions:

  • Record of Survey or Licensed Survey Map
  • Parcel Map
  • Official Map
  • Township and Range
  • Metes and Bounds
  • Rancho
  • Portion of a lot (i.e. the west 5 feet of lot 1)
  • Reference to a Certificate of Correction
What are your recording fees?

For recording fees, please click on the fee link on the right hand side of the page.  

What is the transfer tax rate for Contra Costa County?

The documentary transfer tax rate for Contra Costa County is $0.55 per $500 consideration ($1.10 per $1,000).  The City of Richmond charges an additional documentary transfer tax fee.  The rate is $7.00 per $1000 consideration ($7.00 per $1,000). 

What is the status of the document I submitted for recording?

Documents are recorded within two (2) business days of receipt of the document.  The average turnaround time for a document submitted for recording is 30 days.  Documents recorded electronically through an agent will not be returned from our office.   You may check to see if your document has been recorded and indexed into the system by clicking on the Search Recorded Documents link at the top of the page. 

There are errors on my credit report involving liens – can you take it off my credit report?

We cannot remove documents from the Official Record, they are listed forever.  You will need to contact the Creditor on your lien(s) and request that a Release of Lien be recorded with our office.  A Release of Lien does not remove the document from your credit report.  It is the responsibility of the credit agency to locate your release and remove it from your credit report.  We are not affiliated with any of the credit agencies.  You may request a copy of your release from our office should you wish to send a copy to a credit agency.  

Why can’t I see the document images on your website from home like I can at your office?

California law prohibits County Recorders from posting images of documents online.  You may, however, come to our office and view images of documents on the public search terminals in our lobby. 

How can I determine the sales price of a property?

If you view the deed that was recorded when the property sold, you may see a documentary transfer tax amount on the face of the document.  If you divide the documentary transfer tax by $1.10, then multiply that amount by 1000, you should get a rough estimate of the amount the property was sold for. 

How far back do your records date?

The County Clerk-Recorder’s Office maintains real property records back to 1849.  You may search our online index back to 1986.  If you wish to search records online, please click on the Search Recorded Documents link at the top of the page.  To search records prior to 1986, you must come to our office and search the old book database.

Can I visit your office and do my own research?

Absolutely! Our public search terminals will give you access to just about all official records back to 1849, including images. 

How can I obtain a copy of my title deed / recorded document?

We will need to know the date the document was recorded, instrument number, and name of the document. Should you wish to find that information, click on the Search Recorded Documents link at the top of the page. For copy fees click on the Fees link on the right side of the page.  Copies may be requested either in person or online. 

For further recording questions, please call (925) 335-7910.