Do You Need to Notarize a Grant Deed when Purchasing Property?
How do you know if you need to notarize a grant deed or other purchase and sale documents when purchasing commercial or residential property in California?
When buying a property, one may wonder why certain documents, like a grant deed, need to be notarized while other documents do not.
The answer lies in the California Government Code, which specifies that documents recorded in the County Recorder’s office, unless exempt by law, must be properly acknowledged. (CA Government Code §§ 27201, 27289, 27285, 27287, 27288; C.C. § 1189.) Specifically, CA Government Code section 27201(a) states:
The recorder shall, upon payment of proper fees and taxes, accept for recordation any instrument, paper, or notice that is authorized or required by statute or court order to be recorded, if the instrument, paper, or notice contains sufficient information to be indexed as provided by statute, meets recording requirements of state statutes and local ordinances, and is photographically reproducible.
Government Code section 27287
Additionally, Government Code section 27287 emphasizes that “…before an instrument can be recorded its execution shall be acknowledged by the person executing it.” (CA Government Code§ 27287.)
To put it simply, the law requires that grant deeds are notarized and the County Recorder will not accept the grant deed without a notary acknowledgment.
What Happens if You Forget to or Don’t Notarize Your Grant Deed?
If you forget to, or just simply do not notarize your grant deed, thus lacking proper notarization, your grant deed presented for filing with the County Recorder’s office will be rejected. Getting the deed rejected is not the end of the world, it just means you will need to go back and get the grant deed actually notarized with a new signature.
In addition to the legal requirement, having a grant deed notarized really does help deter fraud. This is true because it provides a mechanism for helping to ensure that the proper person (the owner) actually signs the deed conveying the ownership interest.
Grant deeds serve the important role of in real estate transactions by transferring the rights of real property from one party to another, thereby granting title to the property. Due to the importance of the document, it is critical to have the identity of the signing party verified by a disinterested party.
Without this requirement, potential fraudsters will have an easier time recording fake grant deeds on properties they have no legal interest for and potentially stealing property or equity outright. This would obviously not be good for any new homeowners or anyone purchasing any sort of property.
Our purchase and sale dispute attorneys in Los Angeles have years of experience handling matters with fraudulent deeds, and purchase and sale disputes gone wrong. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to get potential representation regarding your matter, please call us at (310) 954-1877 or send us a message by using our contact form.