Real Estate/Land Records

What is a Deed?
A deed is a written instrument, which when executed and delivered, conveys title to or an interest in real estate.

Does a deed need to be recorded?
Yes. It should be recorded as soon as possible. In order to transfer or mortgage a property, it is imperative to have a deed recorded. Otherwise, numerous legal difficulties may be created.

Is there a fee for recording documents?
Yes. There is a fee to record documents in the Register of Deeds Office.  Fees are listed in the “Fee Schedule” tab on the left.  There is no cost to record Satisfactions.

What are excise stamps?
A tax of $1.00 per $500.00 (more easily calculated as $2.00 per $1,000.00) of the purchase price is mandated by NC state law to be paid by the grantor or seller. If no money exchanges hands then an excise stamp will not apply.

How do I obtain a copy of my deed?
You may search documents and print online.  If you do not know the book and page number, or do not have access to a printer, we can assist you in our office or online. There is a fee of $.50 per page for copies.  Please call if further assistance is needed.

Can the Register of Deeds add or delete names to or from a deed for me?
No. Since a deed is a legal document this would be considered practicing law and the North Carolina laws prohibit us from assisting you.  We CAN NOT or DO NOT make any changes to deeds recorded in our office.

Can I draft my own deed or make changes?
Yes. However, it is highly recommended that you retain the services of an attorney.

What if I have lost my copy and/or original of my deed?
The primary evidence of ownership of land is not so much the deed itself as the recording of the deed. If your deed is misplaced or lost, a copy may be obtained from the Register of Deeds’ Office and certified with our seal.

Can the Register of Deeds conduct a title search of my property?
No. We are happy to help you locate recorded documents, but by law we can not conduct a title search or give legal opinion about conveyed property.  We can show you in what book to locate the information you need and whether it is a real estate document or a vital record.  Other liens such as Judgments and State and Federal Tax Liens are maintained in the Watauga County Clerk of Superior Court Office (828) 268-6600 or the Watauga County Tax Department (828)265-8036

Can I use an address to verify property information, including ownership?
No. This office records documents that only refer to land, using a legal description including boundary, lot, block and acreage information. To search an address you will need to contact the Tax Mapping Department at (828) 265-8027.

How do I obtain a copy of a map to my property?
If the property is in a Subdivision and the plat has been recorded in our office, we can provide a copy of any recorded plat for $1.00. The Tax Mapping Department can provide tax maps of property.

Can anyone access the land records maintained by the Register of Deeds?
Yes. All of the records maintained by the Register of Deeds are public records except Military Discharges. You may go online and search the real estate index and images, or you may call or come into our office for assistance.

Can personal information on recorded documents in the Register of Deeds’ Office be removed?
The Identity Theft Protection Act of 2005 states that any person who has private information in the records available online from the Register of Deeds’ Office has the right to request in writing, at no charge, the information to be removed from documents available online only. Since certain information is required and must be in writing, you may complete the Public Record Redaction Request Form located in the Forms tab on the left and mail or bring it to our office.