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How do I get a copy of my deed in Illinois?

By October 14, 2021August 15th, 2023No Comments

Tendering and receiving a deed is an integral part of buying or selling real estate in Illinois. A deed is a legal document that documents the transfer of ownership of a property. When you purchase a home or land in the State of Illinois, part of the closing process is receiving the original deed.

From a practical standpoint, at most closings the seller provides the original deed to the title company and  the buyer receives a copy of it at the closing. The title company holds onto the original deed and records it after the closing. Once the original deed is recorded, it is usually sent back to the Buyer (or their attorney).

In Illinois, the proper recording of the deed creates public proof of the transfer of ownership.  For most practical purposes, if you need to prove ownership, a copy of the recorded deed is sufficient.  In most situations, even when you go to sell your property, you do not need the original deed.  

With that being said, there are some unusual situations where having the original deed could still be useful.  For example, if someone is disputing that the correct seller actually signed the deed or that the deed itself is defective, having the original deed may be useful.

At the end of the day, when you receive your original deed to your house, it is a good idea to keep it in a safe place, just in case you ever need it.

Diamond Real Estate Law serves clients in and around McHenry, Illinois. If you have questions about real estate transactions, call our office to speak with a helpful member of our team. 

What is a deed and why do I need it?

Deeds transfer ownership of a property. When land or homes are sold, a deed is signed by the Seller and provided to the new owners in exchange for the agreed upon consideration (usually money). A deed is an essential part of the sale of properties in Illinois. Deeds provide information on the chain of ownership to property.

For example, your deed will have information about who you bought the property from (the grantor) and who the property was transferred to (the grantee). 

Most buyers take out a loan to pay for part of the purchase price. Most lenders require title insurance for the loan. This means that the transfer of ownership needs to be an insurable transfer for the title company. 

Most insurable transfers of residential real estate require that the deed be signed by the Seller that currently owns the property, notarized, and recorded with your county recorder. Most real estate sales cannot be completed without a deed.  

A deed contains information about a property including a legal description of the property, the names and addresses of the grantor and the grantee, words of conveyance about transfer of ownership, and a consideration clause.

The consideration clause normally details what the grantor received in return (normally money) for the transfer of ownership to the grantee. 

Are there different types of deeds in Illinois?

Yes, there are different types of deeds and each offers different levels of protection for buyers.

The most common deeds you will see in Illinois include:

  • General Warranty Deeds: 

A general warranty deed means that the grantor warrants that the title is free of liens and encumbrances. In other words, a general warranty deed specifies that the grantor (and ultimately, the grantee) are the sole owners of the property. If it is later discovered that the property did, in fact, have liens or other defects to the title, the grantee (buyer) has legal rights to sue the grantor. When these disputes arise, working with an experienced real estate attorney can help you recover losses. Defective deeds are complicated legal matters and soliciting the expertise of a real estate lawyer can make the process less cumbersome. 

  • Special Warranty Deeds: 

A special warranty deed doesn’t offer as much protection as a general warranty deed. This type of deed warrants that the title to the property is insurable and good for the duration of their ownership. A special warranty deed does not warrant that the property has always been free of liens and encumbrances.  

  • Quitclaim Deeds:  

Historically, a quitclaim deed was used for unclaimed land. Today, quitclaim deeds are commonly used in divorces and other types of conveyances without warranties. A quitclaim deed makes it possible for a grantor to transfer ownership of their share in a property without making any representation or warranty.  They basically say, if I have any interest in this property, I give it to you (the buyer or grantee). Quitclaim deeds do not provide much legal protection to grantees in the event of defects associated with the title.

What if I need to get another copy of my deed in McHenry County?

The short answer, in Illinois, is contact your county Recorder’s office.

There are a lot of companies that send new buyers a letter offering to get a certified copy of the deed for them. Many buyers are confused by these offers and think they need a certified copy of their deed because they did not receive the original deed at the end of the closing. In most situations, this is unnecessary because the title company will send you the original deed after it is recorded.

The moral of the story is if you receive any junk mail about getting a copy of your deed or title insurance, it is always best to check with a local real estate attorney to see if you actually need any of these services.

If you do need a certified copy of your deed, you can usually request it directly from the county recorder via phone, e-mail, or mail. 

You can learn more about requesting copies of documents in McHenry County by visiting the McHenry County Recorder’s website

Contact Diamond Real Estate Divorce

Real estate transactions can be complicated. If you need guidance from an attorney in McHenry and the surrounding areas, call Diamond Real Estate Law at (773) 217-9623 to schedule a consultation with our team. 

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