Recording your documents will cost you more starting December 2009

Fees.  It’s an interesting word and manyGold key and money people don’t know just how many fees are involved in a real estate transaction.  Lender fees, title fees, inspection fees, notary fees, administrative fees, recording fees, if you’ve ever looked at a settlement sheet you’d be amazed at just how many there are.  Why so many?

Well, all of these ancillary service providers need to cover their expenses and the “rules” (see a little more on that here) require every single fee to be disclosed or they get in big trouble.  I agree, fees should be disclosed but more than that, I also think there should be less of them and if they are being charged, they should actually have something to do with real estate.  Not everyone agrees with me there, as evidenced by the increase in recording fees coming this December, let me tell you about it.

The recently passed Pennylvania State Budget included an increase of $13.50 for recording fees.  Recording fees are the fees charged by the Recorder of Deeds in each county to pay for the cost of maintaining public records suchs as:

  • All Deeds
  • All Mortgages, including mortgage assignments, extensions, releases, and postponements
  • Secured Transactions
  • Easement Agreements, Right-of-Ways. and other types of agreements
  • Decrees awarding real estate or quieting title to real estate
  • Declarations of trust
  • Releases
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Satisfaction pieces
  • Articles of Agreement for sale of land
  • Leases
  • Confirmation of Bankruptcy
  • Approval of Trustees
  • Adjudications
  • Severance Agreements
  • Election to take against will
  • Plans
  • Charters of non-profit corporations
  • Military Service discharges (DD-214)
  • Oath, bond and commission for notaries public, county officers, and all others who receive their commissions from the State.

At an additional $13.50 per document, that adds up to millions of dollars for the state.  Why the increase?  The State added this increase, to fund constable training and district attorney salaries.  Now, I’m all for those things being funded, but I wonder, what does constable training and DA salaries have to do with a real estate transaction or document recording?   If you answered nothing, you’re right!  This was just a way for the legislature to slide through a “tax” without having to call it a “tax” and now every person recording a document in PA gets to fund those programs!

I don’t know the answer to how to fund these worthwhile programs, they deserve to be funded, but I do know this:  The biggest hurdle to home buying today is the amount of money buyers need to bring to the settlement table.  Is $13.50 going to break anyone’s bank?  Probably not, but each residential real estate transaction typically has at least 3 documents (new deed, new mortgage, satisfaction of old mortgage) that get recorded each time, so  home consumers aren’t paying “just” $13.50, they are paying $40.50.  See how quickly it adds up?

I’d like you to be part of the conversation, so if you like what you read here please, comment, forward The Lancaster Connection to your friends, subscribe and as always, if you have questions, need real estate advice or want to buy or sell a home, you can call or text me at 717-371-0557, email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-490-8999!

Your Friend in Real Estate,

Jason Burkholder

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