Illinois Deed Requirements

Illinois has legal requirements that govern deeds that affect Illinois real estate. The requirements address how deeds must be formatted and signed, along with the information they must include. A deed that fails to meet Illinois’ legal requirements may be ineligible for recording, require additional fees, or result in an invalid transfer.

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Formatting Standards for Illinois Deeds

Illinois formatting requirements deal with how the deed is arranged and printed. Illinois deeds must be formatted in accordance with the following standards:

  • Paper and page size. Illinois deeds must be in writing, printed on white paper of at least 20-pound weight. The deed’s pages must be individual sheets, not permanently bound and not in continuous form—with no attachments stapled or otherwise affixed to the deed. The standard page size for deeds and other documents submitted for recording in Illinois is 8½ × 11 inches. Additional pages with graphic displays, such as maps, can be up to 11 × 17 inches. Larger page sizes are subject to additional recording fees.1
  • Print. The text included within Illinois deeds must be printed in black ink of sufficient size and clarity to allow for accurate photographic reproduction. Signatures can be in a different color as long as the signature can be clearly reproduced in photocopies.2
  • Margins. The minimum margin size for all four sides of the deed is one-half inch. Non-essential notations that have no effect on the deed’s validity—such as page numbers—may appear in the margins.3
  • Recorder’s stamp. The top-right corner of the deed’s first page must include a blank area of at least 3 × 5 inches to allow space for the recorder to stamp recording information.4

Content Requirements for Illinois Deeds

Illinois content requirements govern the substantive provisions that must be included in each Illinois deed form. Illinois deeds must meet the following content requirements:

  • Current owner (grantor) and new owner (grantee) name and address. An Illinois deed that transfers title to real estate must include on the face of the document the names and addresses of the current owner and the new owner.5
  • Granting clause. An Illinois deed must include a granting clause that describes the transfer made by the deed.6 Different types of deeds used in Illinois—for example, quitclaim deeds, warranty deeds, and special warranty deeds—typically use different granting clauses.7 The granting clause should indicate that the new owner is providing consideration in exchange for the transfer.
  • Legal description of property. A deed must have an accurate legal description that identifies the property the deed transfers.8
Attorney Practice Note: If the property is in a county with 3,000,000 or more residents, the current owner must deliver to the new owner the property’s individual permanent index number or numbers that specifically represent the legal description in the deed. If the number is not specific to the deed’s legal description, the current owner must also provide (i) proof of an application for division, (ii) a recorded plat of subdivision, or (iii) a recorded condo declaration.9

  • References to other recorded documents. If an Illinois deed modifies, releases, or refers to a previously recorded document, the deed must list the county recorder’s document number and book and page number assigned to the prior document.10
  • Return address. Illinois deeds must include a return address and identify the person to whom the deed is to be sent after recording.11
  • Tax address. Deeds must identify the name and address where future property tax statements for the real estate are to be sent. This is typically the new owner’s name and address.12
  • Identity of document preparer. Any deed affecting title to Illinois real estate must identify on the face of the document the name and address of the individual responsible for preparing the deed.13
  • Transfer tax exemption. If the deed is exempt from Illinois real estate transfer taxes, the deed must describe the basis for the exemption.14

Signing Requirements for Illinois Deeds

An Illinois deed is not valid unless it is signed as required by law. Illinois deeds must meet the following signature requirements:

  • Grantor’s signature. The current owner making the transfer must sign an Illinois deed while of legal age, of sound mind, and not under duress.15 The signer’s name must be printed or typed immediately below the signature.16
  • Notarization. The grantor’s signature must be acknowledged before a notary or other officer with legal authority to accept acknowledgments.17 Illinois law includes a model certificate of acknowledgment (notary block) for use in deeds.18
  • Homestead. If a deed conveys homestead property owned by a married individual, both spouses must join in signing the deed.19 A non-owner spouse need not join in a deed that transfers real estate to the non-owner spouse. A deed that transfers a homestead should include an express waiver of homestead rights.20

Fees Required to File Illinois Deeds

Illinois deeds are filed for recording with the county recorder or (in counties with populations under 60,000) the county clerk.21 The following must accompany a deed when submitted for recording:

  • Recording fees. The county recorder charges a recording fee when accepting a deed for recording.22 The base recording fee is $12.00 for the initial four pages and $1.00 for each page over four. There are additional fees for references to document numbers, document storage and online access, Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping, and an $18.00 Rental Housing Support Program surcharge. Illinois law allows county governments to enact ordinances that increase recording fees, so the precise fee for recording a deed ultimately varies by county.
  • Transfer tax declaration. Illinois deeds submitted for recording must be accompanied by a signed Transfer Tax Declaration Form (PTAX-203) unless the deed is exempt from transfer tax. The declaration uses a form published by the Department of Revenue and includes information about the transaction and a calculation of the transfer tax due.23
  • Transfer tax payment. The real property transfer tax owed for a deed must be paid to the county recorder at the time of recording.24 The amount due is based on the property’s value—which is usually the amount of consideration paid for the property.25 The state transfer tax rate is 50 cents for each $500.00 of value.26 There is also a county transfer tax—typically assessed at $0.25 per $500 of value. There may be a municipal transfer tax depending on where the property is located.

Each deed created by our deed preparation service is attorney-designed to meet Illinois recording requirements and comes with step-by-step instructions for filing with the Recorder.

  1. 55 ILCS 5/3-5018.
  2. Id.
  3. Id.
  4. 765 ILCS 5/8; 765 ILCS 5/9.
  5. 55 ILCS 5/3-5026.
  6. See 765 ILCS 5/9; 765 ILCS 5/10.
  7. See 765 ILCS 5/8; 5/9; and 5/10.
  8. 765 ILCS 5/35c.
  9. 765 ILCS 5/35d.
  10. 55 ILCS 5/3-5020.5.
  11. 55 ILCS 5/3-5020.5.
  12. 765 ILCS 5/35c; 55 ILCS 5/3-5020.
  13. 55 ILCS 5/3-5022.
  14. 35 ILCS 200/31-25.
  15. 765 ILCS 5/1.
  16. 765 ILCS 5/35c.
  17. 765 ILCS 5/20.
  18. 765 ILC 5/26.
  19. 735 ILCS 5/12-904.
  20. 765 ILCS 5/27.
  21. 55 ILCS 5/3-5001.
  22. 55 ILCS 5/3-5018.
  23. 35 ILCS 200/31-25.
  24. 35 ILCS 200/31-15.
  25. 35 ILCS 200/31-5.
  26. 35 ILCS 200/31-10.