Frequently Asked Questions – Real Estate Records


You should have received your deed at the time you purchased the property. When you pay off the loan on your property, the lender should record a release document (a Reconveyance or a Release of Mortgage) with the County Recorder. You may want to search the Real Estate Records Index (Official Records Search  to see whether a release has been recorded.
The County Recorder did not file a lien against you; we are only responsible for recording liens that are submitted which meet recording requirements. All questions regarding the lien, including how to have it released, should be directed to the creditor or party filing the lien.
A parent to child transfer itself is not exempt from transfer tax. Please review the list of exemptions to documentary Transfer Tax.
You can order a copy in person, by mail, or fax. Please visit our Copy Order page for more information.
We do not have a list of foreclosures. You may search our index by document title using our Real Estate Records Index (Official Records Search). Images of the recorded documents are available on our lobby kiosks only. We also maintain a paper list in each of our lobbies. This list is not for purchase but can be viewed by the public.


You may bring in the document in person to one of our two Santa Barbara county locations:
  • Santa Barbara: 1100 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara 93101
  • Santa Maria: 511 E Lakeside Parkway, Santa Maria 93455 (Government Center)

Or send by mail

USPS First Class Mail:
Santa Barbara Clerk Recorder
P.O. Box 159
Santa Barbara, CA 93102
Express or Courier Service Mail:
Santa Barbara Clerk Recorder
Hall of Records
1100 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Visit our Document Recording page for more information.
Any document affecting title to real property that is authorized or required by law to be recorded. This includes, but is not limited to, Grant Deeds, Deeds of Trust, Mechanic's Liens, Tax Liens, and Reconveyances. The recording requirements for documents are established by the codes for the State of California. Documents presented for recording must meet certain basic requirements and be recorded in the county where the real property is located. Recorded documents become part of the public record. The Recorder has a reasonable time to record documents. Although most documents record at the time of presentation, more complex documents may require more research which could require a few days.
Wills are not recorded in California. Wills can be lodged in the Superior Court .

Document Preparation

Recorder staff cannot prepare the document or provide the necessary forms for doing so; nor can they offer legal advice or assistance in filling out or completing the document. We recommend that you contact a legal advisor for assistance in preparing your document.
We do not provide notary public services in either of our offices.
In order to change title, you will likely need to have a new document prepared and recorded. The Santa Barbara County Recorder does not provide forms for recording.

We recommend that you seek legal advice/assistance from an attorney or a professional document preparation service before filling out documents that affect the ownership of your property. Members of the Santa Barbara County Recorder's Office are forbidden by California legal codes to practice law or provide legal advice; this prohibition includes giving advice about what forms you might need or how you should fill them out.

Change in Ownership - Legal Advice Notice (PDF)

Your document may require an accompanying completed Preliminary Change of Ownership Report in order to be accepted for recording.