New Mexico has legal requirements a deed must meet to validly transfer real estate. A deed that omits required information or fails to comply with New Mexico’s legal standards may be ineligible for recording or fail to validly transfer real estate.1 The person who requests recording must also submit the recording fee and additional paperwork described below when filing a New Mexico deed.
Formatting Standards for New Mexico Deeds
New Mexico’s formatting standards are based primarily on local customs rather than uniform statutory standards. A deed formatted in the manner described below is generally acceptable for recording.
Paper and Page Size
New Mexico deeds should be printed on white, letter-size (8½ × 11-inch) or legal-size (8½ × 14-inch) paper. Letter-size paper is the prevailing standard for New Mexico deeds and is preferred by most clerks. A document larger than legal-size may require an additional fee.
Font Size and Ink
New Mexico deeds should be printed in black ink and signed in black or dark blue. The font-size used for a deed should be no smaller than 10 points.
A New Mexico deed’s first-page, top margin should be at least 1½ inches to allow the clerk to add the recording stamp. All other margins are typically 1 inch.2
A document title—for example, Warranty Deed or Quitclaim Deed—should appear directly below the top margin of the deed’s first page.
Content Requirements for New Mexico Deeds
A New Mexico deed must include all information that is required by law or needed to describe the real estate transfer.
Current Owner(s) Name
A New Mexico deed must identify by name the current owner transferring real estate (the grantor).3 The current owner’s name should be consistent with the prior deed through which he or she obtained the property. If the current owner now uses a different name, the deed should state the present and former names. Deeds often include the current owner’s address, but it is not legally required.
New Owner’s Name and Address
A deed must identify by name and address the new owner receiving property under the deed (the grantee).4 Government offices use the new owner’s address for property tax records.
A New Mexico deed must contain an accurate legal description of the transferred real estate. A property’s legal description—which can often be found on a prior deed—must comply with New Mexico’s property-description standards.
- Street address insufficient. A property’s street address alone is not a sufficient description for a deed.
- Legal description attached. New Mexico deeds often provide a property’s legal description as an attachment referenced in and recorded with the deed.5
- Incorporation by reference. A deed may describe a property by referencing a legal description in another document that is already recorded in the county clerk’s office.6 The referenced document may be a previously recorded map, plat, deed, mortgage, or similar land record. A deed must provide adequate information to identify and locate the referenced document—including its title, book and page number, date, and place of recording.
A deed’s granting clause states that the current owner is transferring real estate to the new owner. Granting clauses vary according to the type of deed. A New Mexico deed’s legal impact—such as the warranty of title (if any) the deed provides—is determined in part by its granting clause.7
A deed that conveys property to multiple new owners should include the new owners’ co-ownership form. Two or more persons can jointly own New Mexico real estate as tenants in common or as joint tenants with right of survivorship.8 A New Mexico deed that transfers property to two or more new owners without specifying a co-ownership form creates a tenancy in common.9 A married couple can also own New Mexico real estate as community property with right of survivorship.10
New Mexico deeds customarily include a return address where the clerk returns the deed after recording. A return address is not legally required.
Signing Requirements for New Mexico Deeds
The current owner who is transferring real estate must sign and acknowledge a deed before a notary or other officer.11 Notary certificates must include the date of acknowledgment; the notary’s signature, stamp or seal; and the commission expiration date.12
Other legal standards for signatures depend on the deed’s circumstances.
Spouse’s Signature for Community Property
New Mexico law requires both spouses to sign a deed that transfers community property—even if the property’s title is in only one spouse’s name.13 Most real estate acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered community property.
Power of Attorney
An authorized agent acting under power of attorney may sign a deed on the property owner’s behalf.14 The power of attorney form that authorizes the agent to sign the deed must be signed by the owner, notarized, and recorded in the county where the real estate is located.15
Business Entity Signature
New Mexico law assumes that the following officers have authority to sign a deed for a business entity transferring property:
- A president or vice president signs for a corporation.
- A manager, member-manager, president, or vice president signs for an LLC.
- A partner signs for a partnership.
- A general partner signs for a limited liability partnership or limited partnership.16
Recording Fees for New Mexico Deeds
A deed transferring New Mexico real estate must be filed with the county clerk for the county where the real estate is located.17 New Mexico charges a flat fee of $25.00, payable to the county clerk, to record a deed.18 A deed that requires more than 10 index entries incurs an added fee of $25.00 for each additional block of 10 or fewer index entries.19
New Mexico Transfer Tax and Additional Forms Required When Recording a Deed
New Mexico has no transfer tax or equivalent tax on deeds transferring title to real estate. Most deeds that transfer residential real estate to a purchaser must be filed with a residential property transfer declaration affidavit (Form RPTDA).
Residential Property Transfer Declaration Affidavit
New Mexico law requires Form RPTDA when a deed transfers residential real estate to a new owner.20 A completed Form RPTDA must be signed by the current owner, new owner, or authorized agent and filed with the county assessor within 30 days after the deed is recorded.21
Deeds Exempt from Form RPTDA
New Mexico law exempts certain categories of deeds from the Form RPTDA requirement.22 Common types of deeds that do not require Form RPTDA include deeds that:
- Transfer nonresidential real estate;
- Confirm or correct a previously recorded deed;
- Transfer property between parent and child for nominal or no consideration;
- Transfer property between spouses for nominal or no consideration;
- Transfer property to a trustee for nominal or no consideration;
- Transfer property from a trustee to a trust beneficiary for nominal or no consideration;
- Transfer title to or from an intermediary for the purpose of creating a joint tenancy or other ownership form;
- Transfer real estate as a gift; or
- Distribute real estate from a decedent’s estate or trust.
- Edgar v. Baca, 1 N.M. 613 (N.M. 1875).
- See N.M. Stat. § 14-8-6.
- See N.M. Stat. § 47-1-44.
- See N.M. Stat. § 47-1-44.
- See N.M. Stat. § 47-1-44.
- N.M. Stat. § 47-1-46.
- See N.M. Stat. §§ 47-1-14; 47-1-29; 47-1-31; 47-1-44.
- N.M. Stat. §§ 47-1-15; 47-1-16.
- N.M. Stat. § 47-1-15.
- N.M. Stat. § 40-3-8(B); see also Swink v. Fingado, 850 P.2d 978 (N.M. 1993).
- N.M. Stat. § 47-1-5; 14-8-4(A).
- See N.M. Stat. § 14-14A-15 (New Mexico short-form notary certificates).
- N.M. Stat. § 40-3-13(A).
- N.M. Stat. § 47-1-11.
- N.M. Stat. § 47-1-7.
- N.M. Stat. § 47-1-4.1(A).
- N.M. Stat. §§ 14-8-1; 14-9-1.
- N.M. Stat. § 14-8-15(B).
- N.M. Stat. § 14-8-15(C).
- N.M. Stat. § 7-38-12.1(A).
- N.M. Stat. § 7-38-12.1(B).
- N.M. Stat. §§ 7-38-12.1(D)(1)-(17).