Some transactions are realty transfer tax-exempt. Conveyances between husband and wife, parent and child, grandparent and grandchild, and brothers and sisters are generally exempt from transfer tax. There are some other exemptions allowed in certain situations. It is best to consult your attorney, contact our office, or contact the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue regarding special circumstances for exemptions or a partial exemption.
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The Recorder of Deeds Office is the repository for documents primarily relating to real estate located in Luzerne County. The Recorder of Deeds Office records and maintains many kinds of legal documents, in addition to deeds.
The office records and keeps copies of land records including deeds, mortgages, mortgage assignments, mortgage releases, and mortgage satisfactions. We also record miscellaneous deeds and mortgages, leases, sales agreements, maps, easements, right of ways, and other assorted property-related documents. In addition to real estate documents, we record notary public commissions, bonds and commissions for elected officials, powers of attorney, court orders, affidavits, military discharges (DD-214), Uniform Commercial Code filings, and charter documents.
Luzerne County was incorporated in 1786. The first document was recorded at the Recorder of Deeds Office in 1787, and the office has been recording and maintaining records for the county since that time.
The deeds, mortgages and other miscellaneous documents, from the time period of 1787 through August 1993 are kept in bound books located at the Records Center in Hanover Township, with microfilm backups kept in a safe location for historical retention. Deeds and Mortgages from 1968 through the present are kept on our Landex computer system, with disc and microfilm backups. Deeds from 1787 to 1967 can also be found on the IQS efilm reader.
All records (except for military discharges) are public and anyone can access them. You may visit the office in person or you can get a copy mailed or faxed to you. The Recorder of Deeds Office is open from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. through 4:30 p.m., except for legal holidays. Luzerne County usually posts in advance in the newspaper the days that county offices will be closed. It may be a good idea to call the office at 570-825-1641, if you have any questions regarding whether we will be open or closed on a certain date. For an individual who wishes to obtain a copy of one document, a visit to the office or a mail request is recommended. In the office, retrieval stations with the ability to print copies at the price of $0.50 cents per page are available for public use, and photocopiers are available to copy pages from the books at the cost of $0.50 cents per page.In order to have the document mailed to you, you must make the request in writing and enclose the fee for this service. We must have the name, book and page number, and a self-addressed stamped envelope of sufficient size. The current fee for mailed documents is $5 for the first page, $2 each additional page and $2 to certify the document, if needed. You can get a copy faxed to you if you have the book and page number. The fee for this service is currently $2 per page. We cannot certify copies sent by fax. All of our computerized documents are also accessible through the Landex Remote; Landex Webstore and IQS Efilm Reader. The Landex remote access is most beneficial for individuals or companies who expect to access our records on a regular basis.
Information is indexed by the names of the grantor (seller) and mortgagor (borrower) and the grantee (buyer) and the mortgagee (lender). Prior to September 1993, the older books are grouped by years. Information after September 1993 is located on our computer system. To locate a deed or mortgage you must know the name of one of the persons involved and also the approximate year of the transaction.
Sorry, we cannot offer legal advice. Often the Recorder of Deeds Office will receive requests from the public to prepare deeds for them, determine if there are any liens against their property, or determine if a piece of land has been subdivided. Unfortunately, the Recorder of Deeds and the staff here are not authorized to do any of the above activities.
Office employees are not permitted to perform search work. A title search is a complicated process that includes searches in several other county offices, including , the Recorder of Deeds, Prothonotary, Tax Claim Bureau, Register of Wills, and others. For more information regarding previously recorded papers you must come to the office or hire a title searcher, title insurance company, or attorney.
Yes, general information can be obtained by phone at 570-830-5156, but for more detailed information you should come into the office or retain a title searcher or attorney.
Sorry, we do not provide blank forms or paperwork.
Sorry, the Recorder of Deeds Office does not provide notary services.
A person is not required to file a deed in the Recorder of Deeds Office, the document is still binding; however, it is strongly recommended. By filing your deed and making it public record, you are shown to be the record owner of your property. One good reason to file is that the former owner can continue obtaining mortgages or judgements against your property since records in the courthouse would show that he/she still owned it. For further information, you should consult an attorney for a better explanation of the consequences of not recording a deed.
Recorder of Deeds Office maintains copies of all documents recorded in the office. We do not keep original documents; they are returned to the person who recorded the document at the time of recording. You may obtain a copy of your deed in person or by mail at:
Recorder of Deeds200 N River StreetWilkes-Barre, PA 18711
In Office copies are $0.50 per page, check or cash
By Mail copies are $5.00 first page and $2.00 each additional page, check or money order
On Landex Webstore through credit card
This is currently not typical business practice in Pennsylvania. The property records stored in the Recorder of Deeds Office are for the parcels of property located in the county and the ownership of the parcel does not change if you erect on the lot - whether currently existing or if they are added at a later date. Check your deed for exceptions.
Recorder of Deeds Office cannot prevent newspapers or the public from accessing and sharing the information that is public record in our office. The only exception is military discharge information (this is impounded and therefore confidential).
You may prepare your own deed, however, we strongly recommend that you seek the assistance of a real estate professional like an attorney or title company for deed preparation.
The only way to correct a deed is by recording a new deed. In this case, it is known as a deed of correction.
You cannot alter any documents once they have gone on record. In order to replace the current deed for your property to reflect changes or corrections you will need to have a new deed prepared and recorded in this office. The only way to change the owner of record in the Recorder of Deeds Office is to have a new deed prepared, signed, and notarized. The Recorder of Deeds Office does not prepare legal documents; you simply bring your executed deed to our office when it is ready to record.
Generally it is not, if husband or wife held the property jointly as tenants by entireties. If 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 a special instance when, because of a legal situation, the name should be deleted. You should consult your attorney.
It is not legally required, but again, because of a particular situation, it might be desirable. Consult your attorney.
No. Records in the Courthouse show your original deed and the deed(s) for portions sold. Anyone searching records simply deducts the land you sold from the original deed. If you choose you may have a new deed prepared and recorded. You should consult an attorney if you decide to do this.
There is a state tax and a municipal tax (0.5% to the municipality and 0.5% to the school district) each amounting to 1% of the value of the property or interest being conveyed (that is 2% total). For properties located in Wilkes-Barre City, the municipal tax is 2.5% (that is 3.5% total); for properties located in Kingston Borough, the municipal tax is 1% (that is a total of 2,5%) and for properties located in Pittston City the municipal tax is 2.5% (that is 3.5% total). This value is not necessarily the sale price of the property; it may be computed on the fair market value of the property if the property is a gift, or under other special circumstances.
The state and local governments do not care who pays it as long as it is paid. The Recorder of Deeds Office cannot accept a deed unless the tax is paid at time of recording. In most sales agreements, the seller and the buyer split the tax.
This is a specified Pennsylvania Department of Revenue form that is used either to set the value of the property being conveyed or to give the reason for exemption. A Statement of Value Form must be presented in duplicate at time of recording and is forwarded to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.
A statement of value is required anytime the transfer tax is not paid or anytime the true value of the land is not shown on the deed (such as in a $1 consideration). State investigators then check the property and see if the value is as stated or if the reason given for exemption is valid.
We do not typically record deeds for cemetery plots. A deed to a cemetery lot usually only gives you permission to use the ground. The cemetery still retains title to the ground. Such “Deeds” or “Titles” are maintained in the offices of the cemetery company.
Actually, your original deed is returned to the person who presented it for recording at the time of recording. Even if you have a mortgage, secondary mortgage, or home equity loan outstanding on your home, you are still the owner of the property. You don’t get a new deed issued to you when you pay off a loan; your deed at time of purchase is still your deed.
The lender, also called the mortgagee, upon receiving all of the money due under the terms of your loan, is required to draft a satisfaction piece. In order to satisfy the mortgage of record and to show that the borrower, also called the mortgagor, has fully paid the loan, the satisfaction piece must be filed in the Recorder of Deeds Office. The lender may send the satisfaction piece directly to the Recorder of Deeds to be recorded, or they may send the satisfaction to the borrower, namely, you.
By sending the unrecorded satisfaction to the borrower, the lender places the responsibility of recording on the borrower. Upon making the final payment, contact your lender to see how the satisfaction of the loan will be handled. If you receive satisfaction papers in the mail from your lender and you cannot determine whether they have been filed or not, please contact our office and we can check the status of your mortgage for you.
The document may be presented at the front counter or mailed to the courthouse for recording at:
Please see our fee schedule (PDF) or call the office for more information.
No, but it is to your benefit. It will establish a clear title to your property.
Except mortgages, most liens are filed in the Prothonotary’s Office, not in the Recorder of Deeds Office. You can check with them for liens filed against you there.
Your deed will give you the legal description of your property but a surveyor is needed to use this information to actually locate your property lines and place stakes or other markers to indicate them. In some cases surveyors can locate markers that have already been placed when the lot was originally surveyed. We recommend that you have someone with some degree of expertise in this field, like a professional surveyor, help you determine the boundary lines of your property.
It is difficult to determine the age of a house by checking deeds since a deed is typically intended to describe land and not the buildings erected on the land. Some deeds may mention when the structure was built and what type of structure is present. Recent recordings tend to give you less detailed information than the older deeds.
The price of the conveyance may enable you to make a determination or a good guess as to when the structure was built. It is also possible that the municipality that you reside in may have this information on file, depending on the age of the house. In addition, the Luzerne County Assessor’s Office may also be helpful for information concerning more recent buildings.
Following the legal description in your deed, there is a section known as “recital.” It usually begins with the word “Being…” This clause states the prior owner and how they obtained title to the property, i.e., deed book volume and page, date of deed and the recording date. You simply continue to go back and find the same information on each preceding transaction involving your property.
Our records are by name or property identification number(1993 forward), not location. That information is found in the Assessment Office. The Recorder’s indexes list all property transactions involving a particular person’s name.
Contact your State Senator or you may fill out an application, obtain the appropriate signatures and submit it to the address on the form.. More information can be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State, Notaries Division. There are organizations that will assist you in becoming a notary and offer services after you have been appointed as a notary. Some of these organizations are The Pennsylvania Association of Notaries (PAN), and The National Notary Association (NNA), and the American Society of Notaries (ASN).
Once you completed the requirements for appointment as a notary public by the Commonwealth of PA, you have the responsibility to obtain a surety bond from a licensed insurance agent and to present all of your paperwork to the Recorder of Deeds Office within 45 days of appointment. An official from the Recorder of Deeds Office will swear you in as a notary public and administer the oath of office to you. The fee for recording a notary bond and commission is $33.50. After your commission is filed, you must report to the Luzerne County Prothonotary to file your signature card.
If you move within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you must notify the Department of State of your move by mailing a copy of the change of address form to the address listed on the form. If you move to a different county, you must file a signature card with the Prothonotary of that county.
If you legally change your name, you must notify the Department of State of your name change. You must also file a new signature card with the Prothonotary.
Subdivision plans must be 24 by 36 inches. We need the original on Mylar / Vellum or heavy weight paper (see the fee schedule). The plans must be signed and sealed by the local governing body. It must then be signed by the local planning commission, the Luzerne County Planning Commission, the owner, and a notary, along with the signature of the surveyor and the surveyor’s seal. If the plans were approved, signed and sealed by the governing body more than 90 calendar days, we cannot accept them for recording per Act 247.
Yes, in accordance with Act 247 Pennsylvania Municipality Code and Municipal Ordinances. Again, see the Luzerne County Planning Commission for details.