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South Carolina House Bill 3243 Streamlines Filing Fees for Real Estate Documents

Posted By USFN, Monday, October 21, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, October 15, 2019



by Reggie Corley
Scott & Corley, P.A.

USFN Member (SC)

 

On May 16, 2019, South Carolina House Bill 3243 (S.C. Code Section 8-21-310), the Predictable Recording Fee Act, was signed into law by Governor Henry McMaster. In doing so, South Carolina joined the ranks of 18 other states that determine real estate document recording fees based on a “predictable fee” basis. Currently, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming all calculate their recording fees using a predictable fee method.

The new South Carolina bill, which took effect with all county Register of Deeds/Clerk of Court offices on August 1, 2019, aims to streamline the filing of real estate documents statewide. The Predictable Recording Fee Act accomplished this by creating foreseeable fees for many commonly recorded real estate documents. The Act outlines numerous types of documents followed by a corresponding flat fee, due upon recordation. Prior to this Act, to calculate the amount owed for recording a document, most documents had a flat recording fee plus an additional variable fee. The additional variable fee was determined by the document’s total page count. When a document was submitted, the pages had to be counted for filing by the submitter. The document’s pages were then counted again, a second time, by county employees to ultimately calculate the total cost to file the document. This method was more time consuming than the new flat filing fee method.  House Bill 3243 ultimately eliminated the page counting method in favor of a predictable flat fee, based on the document type. Some examples of how real estate documents are classified and charged under the new bill are as follows: Deed to Real-Estate - $15.00; Mortgage - $25.00; Assignment of Mortgage - $10.00; Satisfaction/Release of Mortgage - $10.00; and a plat or survey not part of or attached to another document to be recorded - $25.00.

Ultimately, the benefit of the predictable fee method is to reduce the chances of penalties or documents being rejected, which can cause delays in completing real estate transactions. The predictable fee structure can save time and money for the recorder, submitter, and ultimately the consumer. Lenders, settlement agents, and lawyers filing documents on behalf of clients are just a few examples of who will benefit from this newer method of calculating recording fees.

 

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