Guidelines for Preparing Standard Form Documents

  • Document Size

Paper sheets 8 1/2″ x 11″ in size are the standard size for recordable documents. (Government Code Section 27361.5). Larger page sizes up to a maximum of 8 1/2″ x 14″ may be recorded for an additional fee of $3 per page (GC 27361). Sheets larger than 8 1/2″ x 14″ cannot be recorded

  • Paper Quality

White, 16 lb. bond paper is preferred. Heavier paper is acceptable.

  • Print Requirements

Black print on white paper is preferred. Type on the first page must be a minimum of 10 points in size. On subsequent pages, 8-point type is preferred, except where other requirements are established by statute.

  • Additional First Page Information

The tax statement address goes on the bottom of the first page of deeds. (GC 27321.5)

  • Reservation of Recorder’s Space

A 2 1/2″ x 5″ space at the top right of the first page must be kept clear for the Recorder’s use. This is a requirement. (GC 27361.6)

  • Document Title

The document title shall appear on the first page, immediately below the spaces reserved for the return address and the Recorder. The space reserved for the return address and the Recorder’s use is an area 2 1/2″ deep extending the full width of the top of the page. (GC 27324)

  • Margins

A page margin at least 1/2″ wide on both sides of the page is required on all pages. (GC 27361.6)

  • Return Mailing Information

The top left 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ space on the first page is to be used by the public for the return mailing address and identification of the person requesting the recording. (GC 27361.6)

  • Top-of-Page Space Requirements

A separate first page may be used if the top-of-page space requirements cannot be met. These top-of-page requirements (Top Requirement) are listed above in paragraph numbers 5,6, 7 and 8. 

  • Exhibits

Should be on separate pages and properly marked.


In order for a document to be recorded, a document must:

  • Be authorized or required by law to be recorded. (GC 27201)
  • Meet statutory requirements for that document.
  • Be submitted with the proper fees and taxes. (GC 6301, 27201, 27361)
  • Contain sufficient information to be indexed. (GC 27201, 27288.1, CC etc)
  • Be photographically reproducible by microphotographic process. When document text, including the notary seal, is not sufficiently legible the recorder may require the attachment of a legible copy to the original. The copy must be certified by the party creating the copy under penalty of perjury as being a true copy of the original (GC27201, 27361.6, 27361.7)


Other Recording Requirements

  • Property must be located in the county where the document is presented for recording. (CC 1169)
  • Document must be properly acknowledged, unless exempt. (GC 27201, 27289, 27282, 27285, 27287, 27288, CC 1189)
  • Documentary Transfer Tax Declaration must be completed and signed for all deeds.
  • Location of land transferred (incorporated city or unincorporated area) must appear on the face of the document. (R& T 11932)