Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Registry of Deeds?
Updated daily, the Registry of Deeds is the official repository, entrusted by the citizens of Oxford County, to properly record documents that establish ownership of property. Deeds, mortgages, liens, discharges, powers of attorney, divorce abstracts, foreclosures, land installment contracts, plans and any other document which affects land ownership becomes the official record when it is recorded at the Registry of Deeds. It is public information. Each document is assigned a book and page number and the document is stamped with the exact time of recording. A plan is assigned the next consecutive plan number. Documents and plans are indexed according to accepted standards.
Who is the Register of Deeds?
The Register is an elected official whose term is for four (4) years and whose job it is to make certain that documents are recorded properly. She is responsible for maintaining all of the land records in an accurate and correct form as well as ensuring adequate back-up and archival preservation.
Register Patricia A. Shearman has served since January 1, 2011.
What is a deed?
A deed is a written document by which the buyer obtains record title to real property. There are several types of deeds. The most common types in this area are Quitclaim or Warranty Deeds. In a Quitclaim Deed the owner states that he/she has not encumbered any debts or liens against the title but is unwilling to state that his/her predecessors did not do the same. In a Warranty Deed the owner warrants that he/she has not encumbered any debts or liens against the title and guarantees that his/her predecessors did not encumber the title.
What if I lose my deed?
The primary evidence of ownership is the deed itself, but the recording of the deed at the Registry of Deeds is notice to the world as to ownership. Unrecorded deeds are legally binding on the persons who have knowledge of the deed but recorded deeds are absolute proof of ownership. Once recorded, the original deed is returned to the new owner who usually deposits it in a place of safekeeping with his or her important papers. However, if misplaced or lost, a copy may be obtained from the Registry of Deeds or on our website. You may obtain a certified copy at the Registry of Deeds. The certified copy from the Registry has the same legal value as the original deed.
How do I add or change a name on my deed?
A deed can never be changed. A new deed has to be created and recorded. The format has to include a description of the property and be typed, signed and notarized. The format has other factors to consider and you may wish to consult an attorney or a paralegal. A Maine Real Estate Transfer Tax form must accompany most deeds. See Maine Statutes Title 36 for exemptions. Registry staff are unable to provide legal advice but will be glad to answer whatever questions we can.
Can I search by address or map and lot number?
No. Searches may be conducted by name of grantor, grantee or book and page number. If you wish to know the map and lot number of your property, call the respective town office.
Do you research problems for the public?
No. We will help in any way we can to point you in the direction of your search.
Do you have maps that show the exact dimensions of my property?
Unless you or a previous owner have recorded a survey plan of the property, the only information about your property will be on your deed or previous deeds to the same property.
Can you record a death certificate?
No. If necessary, a copy can be recorded as part of a document. Please be advised that all information on a document is public (including social security numbers if provided) and will be visible online.
How can I remove my social security number from the public record?
There is a form that can be filled out, signed, notarized and presented to the registry for recording. See “Links”
How can I find out the sale price of a property?
A sale price is on the transfer tax form (RETT) at the time the property changes hands. This is not public information. The form is sent to Maine State Revenue Services. This is also not public information. From there, the information (minus social security number) is sent to the town where the property is located. It is then public information.