Thank you for visiting our Frequently Asked Questions page.  Some links may direct you to other agencies, and that information is solely their responsibility.

For more detailed information on recording basics, e-recording requirements, standard document requirements, click HERE.
For step-by-step instructions on how to check your deed or research your chain of title for irregularities, click HERE.
For all new e-recording requirements for deeds, click here

Recording

(including fees, mail-in recording, return of original documents and requirements)
How much will my recording cost?

Beginning Monday May 20th, 2019 there will be a new fee schedule you can see here. Part of that new fee schedule will include a $5.00 Mail Handling Fee that must be included for all mailed in documents. If you forget to include the $5.00 Mail Handling Fee if you mail in your documents, we will still record them. However, you will have to fill out our Mail Handling Form Request Form on our forms page (Mail Handling Fee Request Form) and submit that along with a check for the $5.00.  CCRD accepts checks and money orders made payable to “Cook County Recorder of Deeds”, and we also accept cash and credit cards.

Can I mail in my document for recording? 

You can mail in an original document for recording. Be sure to include in your mailing a short note requesting the recording that includes a return mail address, a check or money order in the exact amount of the recording fee and mail to:

Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Recording Division
118 N. Clark Street, Room 120
Chicago, Illinois 60602

What information is required to be on a document for recording? 

All property related documents must contain a Property Identification Number (PIN), a complete legal description (available from the County Clerk’s office or prior documents on that parcel) and a commonly known address for the property. The grantee’s name must appear on the face of all deeds and a return mail address must appear on the face of the document.

Also, documents affecting title must have a preparer’s name and address, a Real Estate Tax Declaration form (municipal, county, state where applicable) or exemption form

How do I record business forms from the Illinois Secretary of State?

Effective January 1, 2011 (PA 96-1121), filings under the Business Corporation Act no longer need to be recorded.

For more detailed information on recording basics, e-recording requirements, standard document requirements, click HERE.

Research Questions

(including finding ownership, historical or genealogical research)
How do I find the owner of a property? 

Real estate documents for the years 1985 to present may be searched by computer online at https://www.cookrecorder.com/search-our-records/ or in person at any of our 5 locations (pre-85 documents available at Downtown Office). Remember that you will be looking for the most recent title document (i.e. deed, quit claim deed, warranty deed etc.). The names listed, as grantee on the most recent title document should be the current property owner(s).

How do I research property back beyond October 1985?

All documents recorded prior to 1985 were recorded in our tract books, which list areas by subdivision. Those records are only available at our downtown facility and require you to visit our downtown office to perform your research. As a matter of policy, we do not perform historical research for the public. If you cannot come to our main office, we suggest you acquire the services of a title researcher.


Forms Questions

(includes form availability and original document standards)
How can I get copies of real estate forms?

We do not currently make real estate forms available online, other than grantor/grantee affidavit. Most forms, however, can be purchased from your local office supply stores in the legal forms section of the store. It is important to note, however, that any forms you wish to record with this office must meet the Standard Forms Compliance rules, and obtaining a form from a legal forms retailer is the best way to guarantee the correct form. Any non-compliant form will be charged double the recording fee.

What are the Standard Form Legislation Compliance rules?

Standard forms shall be 8.5 x 11.0″ in size, which are not permanently bound nor on continuous form. The first page of the document shall contain a blank space measuring 3″ x 5″ in the upper right hand corner. The document shall be on white paper of no less than 20 lb. weight and have a clean margin of 1/2″ on top, bottom, right and left sides. The document shall not have any attachment stapled or affixed to any page. Any documents not meeting these guidelines (other than plats of subdivision) will be charged double the flat recording fee ($20.00 x 2 = $40.00).

For more detailed information on recording basics, e-recording requirements, standard document requirements, click HERE.

 

Other Document Questions

(birth, death, divorce and marriage records, surveys, election results, etc.)
Where can I get copies of birth, marriage and death records? 

In many jurisdictions nationwide, the recorders office handles birth, marriage, death and election records. In Cook County, however, those records are available only through the Cook County Clerk’s office. Just click on the link below to find more information on each of the topics listed.
Birth Records
Marriage Licenses 
Death Records
Election Records

Where can I get copies of my divorce decree or a relative’s will or property foreclosures?
All of these issues fall under the jurisdiction of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Just click on the link below to find more information on each of the topics listed.
Divorce Decrees
Wills & Probate Issues
Property Foreclosures

RECORDING BASICS

RECORDING BASICS

1) Standard Document Design Requirements (55 ILCS 5/4-12002)
2) E-Recording Requirements
3) Basic Recording Requirements
4) Various Types of Property Transfer Documents (References to Conveyances of an Interest in Real Property)

1) STANDARD DOCUMENT DESIGN REQUIREMENTS

The recorder shall charge an additional fee, in an amount equal to the fee otherwise provided by law, for recording a document (other than a document filed under the Plat Act or the Uniform Commercial Code) that does not conform to the following standards:  (55 ILCS 5/4-12002)

  • The document shall consist of one or more individual sheets measuring 8.5 inches by 11 inches, not permanently bound and not a continuous form. Graphic displays accompanying a document to be recorded that measure up to 11 inches by 17 inches shall be recorded without charging an additional fee.
  • The document shall be legibly printed in black ink, by hand, type, or computer. Signatures and dates may be in contrasting colors [example: blue] if they will reproduce clearly. (Note that red ink does not reproduce clearly).
  • The document shall be on white paper of not less than 20-pound weight and shall have a clean margin of at least one-half inch on the top, the bottom, and each side. Margins may be used only for non-essential notations that will not affect the validity of the document, including but not limited to form numbers, page numbers, and customer notations.
  • The first page of the document shall contain a blank space, measuring at least 3 inches by 5 inches, from the upper right corner. *
  • The document shall not have any attachment stapled or otherwise affixed to any page.

A document that does not conform to these standards shall not be recorded except upon payment of the additional fee required under this paragraph. Any instrument that does not conform to the following standards shall be charged an additional fee, in an amount equal to the fee otherwise provided by law, for recording a document (other than a document filed under the Plat Act or the Uniform Commercial Code).

*NOTE: A Typed Cover Letter page will be accepted, but charges for any additional page(s) will apply. The Typed Cover Letter page must otherwise confirm to these requirements or the non-conforming penalty will apply.

 

2) BASIC RECORDING CONTENT REQUIREMENTS

Real estate related documents require:

  • Full Name and Address of Document Preparer
  • Complete Legal Description of Property (Excluding Assignment of Beneficial Interests (“ABIs”))
  • Property Tax Number (PIN) (Excluding ABIs)
  • Property Address
  • Document “Mail To” Address

Some Additional Common Requirements for Specific Real Estate Related Documents:

Mortgage/Trust Deed

  • State of Illinois Anti-Predatory Lending Certificate of Exemption or Compliance (www.ilapld.com)

 Court Documents (Judgments/Orders)

  • Original judge’s signature or court certified copy

Deeds

  • City/State/County transfer tax declarations and stamps or transfer tax exemptions (where applicable)
  • Full name and address of Grantee(s) on deed
  • Statement grantor/grantee affidavit (exempt transfers and EZDec transfers)
  • Name and address for future tax bill mailings

Documents effecting more than one property or property address

       – A recording affecting more than one PIN will be accepted only where no more than ten properties are affected.  Multiple recordings will be required where more than ten properties are affected. CCRD does not accept blanket filings.

Failure to comply with content requirements related to the document submission(s) may prevent the Cook County Recorder from recording your document.  An attorney should be consulted for determination of the necessary document contents.

 

4) VARIOUS TYPES OF TRANSFER DOCUMENTS

Below is a list of references to common conveyances of interest in real property. An attorney should be consulted for determination of how best to utilize these instruments and how they may affect any ownership rights. Some common conveyances of an interest in real property include but are not limited to:

Please click HERE to view a list 

 

Illinois Transfer Tax Stamp Amount

Through History 

Prior to January 1, 1968 

Transfer Tax Stamps were $0.55 per $500.00; all paid to the federal government

January 1, 1968 – May 16, 1979

Transfer Tax Stamps were $0.50 per $500.00; all paid to the state of Illinois

May 17, 1979 – September 14, 1989

Transfer Tax Stamps were $0.50 per $500.00; broken down to $0.25 paid to the state of Illinois, and $0.25 paid to the county

September 15, 1989 – present

Transfer Tax Stamps are $0.75 per $500.00; broken down to $0.50 paid to the state of Illinois, and $0.25 paid to the county

Deed Providers

These are companies that resell documents that can be obtained from the Recorder’s Office directly for much cheaper.

These companies are not affiliated with the Cook County Recorder or any government agency.

Deed provider solicitations are often designed to look like invoices and use small print legal disclaimers to obscure their true motives. They sometimes claim that having a certified copy of a property deed is the only way to prove ownership. While it is not required that a homeowner possesses a certified copy of their deed so long as it is recorded with a County Recorder, it is recommended that homeowners keep their own copies, and in fact, it is likely that you already have a copy that was provided to you at closing.

MISCELLANEOUS

Please click below to view more miscellaneous FAQ’s

MISCELLANEOUS FAQ

Revised 6.2020