Polk County Recorder

Formatting Standards

In order to comply with national standards, Iowa has adopted Document Formatting Standards. Senate File 371, effective July 1st, 2005, states that all documents presented for recording must meet certain requirements. Below are some the basic guidelines.

The Basics:

  • We will not accept a document with white out on it. If you have a correction to make, the preparer needs to draw a line through it and initial it.
  • Paper: White, not less than 20 pound weight, without watermarks or other visible inclusions
  • Paper: One Side only
  • Top Margin: At least 3 inches across the top of the document
  • Other Margins: Shall be minimum of 3/4 of one inch.
  • Text: At least 8 point, legible & reproducible (10 point, fill in information)
  • Signatures: Black or dark blue ink – names typed, printed or stamped beneath signatures

Notary: State law requires that all instruments have signatures notarized.

Notary Public Information
State of Iowa Notary Seal/Stamp Requirements

Information Required on 1st page (Coversheet Form):

  • Name, address & phone # of preparer
  • Name of taxpayer & complete address
  • Return Address
  • Title of Document
  • Grantor's Name & Grantee's Name
  • Legal Description (If the space on the 1st page doesn't allow for the necessary information, the page where it is located must be noted.)

On or after July 1st, 2005, a document that does not conform to the document formatting standards shall not be recorded except upon payment of an additional recording fee of ten dollars per document or instrument.

In addition to the above, DEEDS require the following:

Revenue tax affixed to represent the full sale price over $500.00. Click here for tax calculator. If exempt from revenue tax, exemption must be so stated on the face of the document. Exemptions are listed in Code of Iowa Chapter 428A.2.

All deeds must be accompanied by a declaration of value form unless exempt (see above chapter 428A.2). This applies also to any documents of conveyance; Contracts and assignments of contracts on Quit Claim Deeds. Certain documents are exempt from the Declaration of Value.

Each Declaration of Value submitted to the Recorder must ALSO have a Groundwater Hazard Statement submitted with it. [Code of Iowa Sec. 558.69] Groundwater Hazard Statements are exempt on all conveyances that are exempt of Declaration of Value.

Contact Us

Polk County Administration Building
111 Court Avenue Ste 250
Des Moines, IA 50309-2251
Phone: 515-286-3160
Fax: 515-323-5393
Email: info@polkrecorder.com