Recorder Formatting Standards (for Recording Documents)

In order to comply with national standards, Iowa has adopted Document Formatting Standards. Senate File 371, effective July 1, 2005, states that all documents presented for recording must meet certain requirements. Below are some of the basic guidelines.

The Basics

  • Paper
    • One side only
    • White
    • Not less than 20 pound weight
    • Without watermarks or other visible inclusions
  • Margins
    • Top margin shall be at least 3 inches across the top of the document
    • Other margins shall be a minimum of 3/4 of one inch
  • Text
    • At least 8 point, legible and reproducible (10 point, fill in information)
  • Signatures
    • Black ink only
    • Names typed, printed or stamped beneath signatures
    • Notary: State law requires that all instruments have signatures notarized

Information Required on First Page (Coversheet)

  • Name, address and phone number of preparer
  • Name of taxpayer and complete address
  • Return address
  • Title of document
  • Grantor's name and grantee's name
  • Legal description (if the space on the first page doesn't allow for the necessary information, the page where it is located must be noted)

On or after July 1, 2005, a document that does not conform to the document formatting standards shall not be recorded except upon payment of an additional recording fee of ten dollars per document or instrument. 

Deeds

In addition to the above, DEEDS require the following: 

Exemptions

The following documents are exempt from document formatting requirements: 

  • A document that was signed before July 1, 2005
  • A military separation document
  • A document that executed outside of the United States
  • A certified copy of a document issued by a government agency, including a vital record
  • A document where one of the original parties is deceased or otherwise incapacitated
  • A document formatted to meet court requirements
  • A federal tax lien
  • A filing under the uniform commercial code, chapter 554
  • A plat or survey or a drawing related to a plat or survey

 

On or after July 1, 2005, a document that does not conform to the document formatting standards shall not be recorded except upon payment of an additional recording fee of $10.00 per document or instrument. 

 

 

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