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Register of Deeds

The county register of deeds office can most appropriately be thought of as a library of local records. This office is a storage facility for a host of local documents. From land title transfers to birth, marriage, and death records, this office has a wealth of information about the local population. Although these are only a few of the documents recorded in this office, they remain some of the most widely requested by the general public.

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Certificate of Real Estate Value
Exemption from Deed Transfers Fees
General List of Recordable Items
Real Estate Sale and Transfer
Transfer Data


Certificate of Real Estate Value

The Certificate of Real Estate Value (PT 56) form must be filed with any deed or contract for deed. This would include actual “deeds” such as warranty deed, quit claim deed, grantor’s deed, sheriff’s deed, trustee’s deed, executor’s deed, administrator’s deed, mineral deed and similar deeds. Contract for deed would also encompass a memorandum of a contract for deed, and addenda to contracts for deed, and notice of contract for deed. A statute exception to the form being filed is for the State of South Dakota conveying highway right-of-way SDCL 7-9-7.3. Documents that do NOT need to be accompanied with a certificate of real estate value are: Divorce Decree, Probate Decree, Easements.

See Certificate


Exemption from Deed Transfers Fee

SDCL 43-4-22 provides a list of exemptions from the real estate transfer fee. The fee imposed by SDCL 43-4-21 does not apply to any transfer of title:

  1. Recorded before July 1, 1968;
  2. By or to the United States of America, this state, or any instrumentality, agency, or political subdivision of either;
  3. Solely in order to provide for or to release security for a debt or obligation;
  4. Which confirms or corrects a deed previously executed and recorded;
  5. Between husband and wife, or parent and child with only nominal actual consideration therefor;
  6. On sale for delinquent taxes or assessments, sheriffs' deeds, other deeds issued in foreclosure actions or proceedings or deeds issued in lieu of foreclosure actions or proceedings;
  7. On partition;
  8. Pursuant to any mergers or consolidations of corporations or limited liability companies or plans of reorganization by which substantially all of the assets of corporations or limited liability companies are transferred;
  9. By a subsidiary corporation to its parent corporation for no consideration, nominal consideration, or in sole consideration of the cancellation or surrender of the subsidiary's stock;
  10. Pursuant to decrees of distribution entered in any decedent's estate;
  11. Between an individual grantor, or grantors, and a corporation, where the grantor or grantors and the owner of the majority of the capital stock of the corporation are the same person;
  12. Between any corporation and its stockholders or creditors, or between any limited liability company and its members or creditors, if to effectuate a dissolution of the corporation or limited liability company it is necessary to transfer the title of real property from the corporate entity to the stockholders or creditors;
  13. On cemetery lots and grave sites;
  14. Between an individual grantor, or grantors, and a limited or general partnership if the grantor or grantors and the owner of the majority interest in the limited or general partnership are the same person;
  15. Between a fiduciary and a beneficiary of the fiduciary or between a fiduciary and a third party, if the transfer or conveyance is to accommodate the fiduciary relationship;
  16. Between individuals, regardless of the relationship, if the conveyance is an absolute gift without consideration of any kind in return for the conveyance;
  17. Pursuant to a decree of divorce, annulment, or separate maintenance or pursuant to a settlement agreement approved or adopted by a decree of divorce, annulment, or separate maintenance;
  18. For which no consideration was given;
  19. Between any limited liability company and its members.


General List of Recordable Items

There are a number of records that the register of deeds will keep full and true records of their offices. Those documents include:

  • Tax deeds,
  • Chattel mortgages,
  • Bills of sale,
  • Conditional sale contracts,
  • Mortgages, and
  • Other instruments authorized by law.

No register of deeds may accept any deed or contract for deed that is not accompanied by a certificate of value containing:

  • The name and address of the buyer and seller;
  • The legal description;
  • The actual consideration exchanged;
  • The relationship of the seller and buyer, if any; and
  • The terms of payment if other than payment in full at the time of sale.


Real Estate Sale and Transfer

On a monthly basis, the register of deeds will forward real estate sale and transfer information electronically to the Property Tax Division. The process is completed through the real estate database. As sales or transfers occur the information can be added to the database and then at the end of every month a file with all of the information can be transferred electronically to the Property Tax Division.

The database also has internal reports available for the register of deeds to use. They include:

  • Individual Record Report
  • Weekly Transfer Certificates
  • Monthly Transfer Report


Transfer Data

All of the following information is required electronically: 

  1. Sequence Number - this is the number of the real estate transfers as filed in the Register of Deeds office. Begin with the number one (1) and number consecutively throughout the year. On January 1 of each year, restart the sequence number with the number one (1). If a sequence number is accidentally omitted, please make notation on certification form. Do not use duplicate numbers and no letters (such as 101A, 101B).
  2. Year
  3. Week – this identifies the week the transfer was filed
  4. MO/YR - this identifies the month and year the transfer was filed
  5. Parcel Number
  6. County where transfer is registered
  7. Register of Deeds number of book
  8. Page number of book
  9. Name of grantor (seller)
  10. Grantors address
  11. Grantees name (purchaser)
  13. Legal description that reasonably describes the property being transferred SDCL 7-9-10
  14. Date filed in Register of Deeds office
  15. Date of instrument (Found on Deed)
  16. Type of Deed. If “other”, please specify. See the Type of Deeds List (PDF) for more information.
  17. Other
  18. Exemption Number – Required. See the statute and list of exemptions (PDF) for me information.
  19. Transfer fee
  20. Stated consideration (Found on Certificate of Value)

After completing the above items:

  1. A transfer is to be completed for ALL real property transfers including contract for deeds, quitclaim deeds, assignment of contract for deeds, etc.
  2. The original certification form is to be retained by the Register of Deeds. The transfer information must be certified and distributed at the end of every month to the following:
    1. County Auditor
    2. Director of Equalization (along with Certificate of Value)
    3. Department of Revenue