Real Estate

Real Estate Recording Systems

There are 2 real estate recording systems in Minnesota: Abstract and Torrens. There are different requirements for recording the documents in each system. Recording means the documents are reproduced and returned to the presenter. Filing means to keep the original document.

Real estate documents are recorded. The document type such as deed, mortgage, release, or certificate, determines what the requirements are and what steps need to be taken.

Abstract Title

Abstract title property is the most common form of title found in the United States. An abstract of title is a condensed history of all deeds, mortgages and other documents relating to a particular piece of land, which affect the title. If parts of the original parcel of land have been sold, the deeds are included in the abstract.

When property is sold or mortgaged the lending institution or new owner wants to be sure the title is clear. If the title isn’t clear the lending institution may not be able to foreclose, if need be, or the owner may not be able to mortgage or sell the property. An attorney or title insurance firm is hired to review the abstract. This is done by following the various lines of ownership from person to person and deed to deed over the years, matching mortgages with releases, etc.

Torrens Title

Torrens is a system for registration of land under which, upon the landowner’s application, the court may, after appropriate proceedings, direct the issuance of a certificate of title. The Certificate of Title, is kept in the office of the Registrar of Titles. With the "abstract system" an abstract is evidence of title. In the Torrens System the certificate of title is the title.

In Minnesota, the County Recorder is the Registrar of Titles. The Registrar of Titles is an arm of the District Court and under its control. The Registrar of Titles must examine documents presented and determine that they meet the legal requirements to transfer the property and issue Certificates of Title, which are proof of ownership for the purchaser.

The Registrar of Titles also works closely with the Examiner of Titles. The Examiner of Titles is appointed by the court and is an adviser to the Registrar of Titles. In Nicollet County, the Examiner of Titles is:

  • James W. Brandt
    Brandt Law Office
    219 W. Nassau
    St. Peter, MN 56082
  • Phone: 507-931-6940

Drafting Real Estate Documents

In the public interest, we refrain from giving legal advice and preparing documents. For your protection we always observe this policy. We strongly urge you to consult with your real estate attorney if you require this service.

Correction Documents

Correction Documents need to have new signatures and new acknowledgement along with a correction statement indicating the correction being made. A Mortgage Registration Tax must be included. A Warranty Deed completing a Contract for Deed must have a well statement signed by the buyers or a Well Certificate. See the Document Standards webpage for more information.

Some documents may have additional requirements.