Frequently Asked Questions


The register of deeds office makes no warranty or guarantee concerning the accuracy or reliability of the content of these pages or at other sites to which we link. 

Where is the Register of Deeds Office located?

The office is located in the Dakota County Courthouse at 1601 Broadway Street, PO Box 511, Dakota City, Nebraska 68731.

Does the document need to be an original?

The document being recorded must have original signatures except in the case of certified copies from certain courts and the Bureau of Vital Statistics for Death Certificates.

Must signatures be notarized?


What happens when a document is brought to the Register of Deeds Office for recording?

There are a number of steps that each document goes through before it is returned to the filer.  It must first be determined whether the document is recordable and if correct fees are enclosed.  The document is given an instrument number, scanned into computer system, entered into the computer, indexed, information verified, and returned to the customer.

Who keeps the documents?

Once a document is recorded, it is returned to the filer. The document is scanned and saved in a computer system here and also saved at an off-site facility.

How much does it cost to record a document?

Recording fees are set by Nebraska Statute. (See the Recording Fees).

How far back do the records in the Register of Deeds Office go?

The earliest records in the Register of Deeds office, transcribed by hand in elaborate manuscript, date back to 1858.  Among the early records are the Patent Deeds recorded after settlers acquired land from the United States government.

How is all that paper tracked?

All records back to 1858 have been microfilmed and are available on hard copy. Documents filed from 1998 to current are scanned into the system and can be printed or emailed. Documents files after October 13, 2008 are indexed into the computer system for lookup access.

What information do I need to obtain a copy of my deed?

Generally most documents can be located by simply giving us the legal description, name, and approximate recording date.

Can I get someone to do research for me?

You can do research in our office using our public indexes or you can have a title company or attorney search for you.

Can I find out who owns a particular piece of property?  

A call or visit to the Register of Deeds Office with a legal description will allow you to look at that information. Or you can go to the Assessor’s office.

What is meant by "indexes"?

An index is a system by which each real estate record is listed in a specific place that applies to a specific subdivision, or section, township and range.  This enables us to track the history of each parcel back as far as necessary.

Are there liens against my property?

The records in the Register of Deeds office will list liens such as mortgages, fixture filings, Deeds of Trust and Construction Liens.  State and Federal tax liens are filed against an individual. But not all liens are filed in this office; you may wish to check with the Clerk of the District Court for other liens.

How do I find information about easements on my property?

You may come to our office and attempt to locate easements on a property by searching the indexes for your property.  Our records will show any easements that have been recorded in our office.  Some easements are also recorded on deeds and may not be easily located.  Easements are often difficult to find because many of them have not been recorded in our office.  The services of a lawyer or abstract company may be required to sort through easement issues.

Can I find out how old my house is or get historical information about my house?

Not in our office.  The Assessor's office may have some information regarding the date a house was built.

Where else can I look if I cannot find the information in your office?

You may find records in the Clerk of the District Court concerning divorce records, County Court concerning probate records, and County Clerk concerning marriage records.  The Nebraska Department of Vital Statistics has records concerning birth and death records.

What was the sale price for a particular property?

The County Assessor collects sales information which is used for property valuation purposes and is not open to public inspection.  The deed which is filed in the Register of Deeds’ office will indicate the documentary stamp tax based on the sale price of the property.

Can the Register of Deeds office tell me if I have a good and clear title?

No.  You must enlist the services of a professional title company or abstractor who search records other than those in the Register of Deeds Office to determine if the title is clear.

Is everything handled in the Register of Deeds office public record?

Everything recorded in the Register of Deeds Office is regulated by the Nebraska Open Records Act.

Can I get a copy of a birth or death certificate through the Register of Deeds Office?

No. Copies of birth and death certificates may be obtained through the Bureau of Vital Statistics.

How do I record or get a copy of my military discharge?

When military members are discharged, the military encourages the discharged member to record the military discharge papers, also known as DD214's, with the Dakota County Clerk’s office.  If you choose to record your DD214, you may bring it into the Dakota County Clerk’s office where it will become part of the permanent record.  There is no fee for this service.  These records are confidential.

What is a deed?

A deed is an instrument through which a buyer obtains title to the property being sold. There are many types of deeds.  The most common type of deed is a warranty deed.

Do I need to record my deed?

A deed should be recorded as soon as possible after the transaction takes place. Numerous legal problems could arise regarding the property if not recorded.  However, there is no time limit on recording deeds.

May I record a document for real estate for another county?

No, each county records only the documents pertaining to the real estate in their county.

I want to take someone's name off my deed or change the names of the owners on my property. Can I change the deed?

No.  Any change in ownership generally requires that a new deed be recorded. Exceptions to this rule may result either from court cases (i.e. divorces, foreclosures, probate, etc.) or from deaths where certain legal verbiage exists in the document and a death certificate has been recorded in our office. In these cases, the deed itself will not change even though ownership does.  Evidence of ownership exists in the combination of the related documents.

If I sell a portion of my land, do I get a deed for the remainder?

No.  Records in the Courthouse show your original deed and the deed(s) for portions sold.

May I make out my own deed?

Yes you may; however, we always recommend consulting an attorney regarding property transfers and changes, because minor changes in the wording of the document can completely change the legal meaning of the document.  The Register of Deeds office is a recording agency only; we cannot make out deeds or answer questions regarding legal matters.

If I want to write my own deed, do you have standard deed forms available?

No. The Register of Deeds does not provide forms for documents to be filed. We can provide Forms 521 (Real Estate Transfer Statements) which must be completed and filed along with a deed.

What if I lose my deed?

The primary evidence of ownership of land is not so much the deed itself as the recording of the deed.  If your deed is lost, a certified copy may be obtained from our office for a fee of $1.50 per page.

How long does it take to record a document?

A document is generally recorded the same day it is received. It usually takes a day to complete the process of checking data entry, scanning, etc.  The original is then returned to the filer.

What types of documents can I file in the Register of Deeds Office?

See the "Types of Documents Filed" section for a list of the most common types of documents recorded.  If you have a question as to whether you can record a particular document, please contact the Register of Deeds office for clarification.