The Office of the Westchester County Clerk is home to millions of land and legal records, many of which can be accessed online from your home or office. You may view land records online, including deeds going back to 1680 and mortgages recorded as far back as 1950. “What is a deed and how can I obtain a copy?” is one of the commonly asked questions Westchester County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni’s office receives from the public. Answers to frequently asked questions about deeds follow:
1. What is a deed?
A deed is a legal instrument which transfers an interest in property such as real estate. If you own your home, your ownership was created by a deed likely filed in the Office of the Westchester County Clerk. A deed will generally contain the name of the current property owner, the name of the person or entity to whom the property is being transferred, and a legal description of the property. It must be signed by the party with legal authority to transfer the property and the signature must be acknowledged before a Notary Public.
2. As a homeowner, should I be regularly checking your office to see if my deed is still on file?
Your deed, once recorded, is safe with the Office of the Westchester County Clerk and becomes a permanent land record of Westchester County. The office has deeds dating as far back as 1680 as well as those executed within the last few days. Once you have confirmed that your deed has been recorded, a process generally overseen by your real estate attorney, there is no need to periodically confirm that your deed is on record.
3. What is the cost to get a copy of my deed from your office?
A certified copy of any recorded land document, including your deed, is $5.00 for up to five pages with an additional $1.00 charged for each additional page. If you would like a non-certified copy, the fee is $1.30 for up to two pages with an additional $.65 charged for each additional page. If you are making a request by mail, there is an additional $5.00 search fee.
4. Is it necessary to use a company to purchase a copy of my deed?
Resurfacing every few years, a number of companies have made a business out of leading residents to believe they need to secure a certified copy of a deed that has been on record in the Office of the Westchester County Clerk for years. Unless you have a specific reason for securing a certified copy of your deed, you may not need one. If in the future you need a copy, it can be obtained at a fraction of the cost by contacting the Office of the Westchester County Clerk directly.
5. What is the easiest way to get a copy of my deed or to view the information associated with it, such as a lien?
If you would like to view one of the documents recorded in our office, we offer the following options:
• Visit Westchester Records Online (wro.WestchesterClerk.com) to begin a free search of our indexes to determine whether a document is on record in our office.
• Homeowners are encouraged to come to our office and use the free public viewing terminals to see if the land document they are searching for is recorded in our office and also to view the actual document image. Our office is located at 110 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Room 345 in White Plains and can be reached by entering through the Richard J. Daronco Courthouse at 111 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., White Plains, NY 10601. Our office is open Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays, from 8 am until 5 pm. Please arrive no later than 4:30 pm.
• Make a request for a land document by sending a letter which contains as much of the following information as possible: the name of the document you are searching for such as “a deed,” the name of the owner, the property address including the village, town or city, the approximate date of the transaction, and if known, the liber and page number or the control number. Our office accepts checks and money orders payable to the “Westchester County Clerk.” Along with the fee, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope in which your document will be returned. Questions can be emailed to CC-Land@westchestergov.com.