Back to School at the Registry of Deeds


Dedham, MA – As the new school year starts and students file into classrooms, Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell takes residents on another educational journey and reminds homeowners and those looking to enter the housing market of the easy and straightforward process of recording land documents at the Registry of Deeds.

“It is back-to-school time for many families, and while students are busy preparing for the academic year ahead, it is also a great opportunity for homeowners and those looking to enter the housing market to become familiar with the process of recording land documents at the Registry of Deeds,” said Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell. “Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned homeowner, understanding the importance of properly recording your property transactions can provide peace of mind and protect your investment in the long run.”

Correctly drafted land documents are crucial for maintaining accurate property records at the Registry of Deeds. By familiarizing themselves with this process, residents can protect their property rights and contribute to the overall integrity of the county's land records system.

“By taking the time to educate yourself on this straightforward process, you can ensure that your property rights are secure and that any future transactions go smoothly,” said Register O’Donnell.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is also a depository for over 10 million land documents recorded from the Registry’s beginning in 1793 right up to the present day. This extensive collection of land documents serves as a valuable resource for researchers, title examiners, historians, and anyone interested in tracing the history of land ownership in the county. This depository plays a significant role in preserving the county's rich history for future generations.

“Electronically or in person, whether the document in question is a deed, mortgage, homestead, mortgage discharge, or any other type of land document, Registry staff have been trained to record the documents in as expeditious and accurate a manner as possible, but there are certain basic steps that need to be followed when submitting a land document for recording,” noted O’Donnell.

The document needs to be associated with one of the twenty-eight communities comprising Norfolk County. In addition, the document must be an original; the Registry will not record photocopies or documents submitted via fax. In many cases, land documents require signatures to be notarized before they are recorded.

The formatting standards for land documents must also be followed, including the use of specific font sizes and margins. Additionally, any fees associated with recording the document must be paid at the time of submission. Individuals looking for these specific standards can view them on the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds website, Each Register of Deeds retains the discretion to record documents that do not fully comply with these formatting standards, provided that the record created by the Registry is legible and retrievable on standard Registry computer systems.

“It should also be noted that the Registry does not draft land documents. The Registry of Deeds is in the business of recording land documents only. If an individual is unsure if a drafted land document, particularly a deed, is in proper order, it may be prudent to have a lawyer familiar with real estate law review the document for its accuracy. A simple mistake on a deed, for example, could lead to a major problem.”

Another crucial point to keep in mind is that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has set various fees associated with the recording of land documents at the Registry. Recording fees vary depending on the specific land document type. The Registry’s website:, has a fee schedule that can be consulted for specific recording fee amounts. The Registry accepts checks made out to the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds. The Registry also accepts cash payments.

“Once you have a land document ready for recording and know the fee and type of payment, we offer multiple options for document delivery,” stated O’Donnell.

The options to get an original document and payment to the Registry of Deeds building for recording are via regular mail, Federal Express, or in person at 649 High Street, Dedham, MA.

Register O’Donnell concluded by stating, “Our trained recording staff is more than happy to record your land documents. Land documents are recorded in an expeditious manner once they arrive at the Registry. It should also be noted that institutional users such as lending institutions and law firms have the additional option to submit documents electronically via our two e-file vendors, Simplifile and ePN. Finally, if you have any questions about land documents in general, please call our Customer Service Center at 781-461-6101, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds will be closed on Thursday, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. We are open Friday, July 5th.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is closed Today, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. We are open Friday, July 5th.