Board of Supervisors, Jefferson County, Iowa

Recorder's Office

Duties: The recorder's office maintains all official real estate documents, records birth, marriage and death certificates, sells fishing and hunting licenses, issues boat, ATV and snowmobile registrations, and is Jefferson County's passport agent for the U.S. Department of State.

Location: Jefferson County Courthouse
  Office Hours: Mon-Fri 8:00am-4:30pm

Mailing Address:
  Kelly L. Spees
  Jefferson County Recorder/Registrar
  Courthouse-51 W. Briggs Ste. 4
  Fairfield, Iowa 52556-2820
Telephone: 641-472-4331
Fax: 641-472-5094
Recorder's website:

Recorder (elected official):
Kelly Spees, assumed office 01/01/2011, term expires 2018
Liz Hickenbottom, Deputy Recorder
Chris Carter, Recorder's Clerk

Courthouse Stonework

About the Office of the County Recorder:

The Office of the County Recorder was created by the First Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Iowa in 1839.  Your County Recorder maintains official records of documents affecting real estate in order to protect innocent third parties in real estate transactions.

The County Recorder's office is at the hub of the courthouse function to serve you.  A significant portion of duties performed by other county officials is dependent on the work performed by your County Recorder.

Recording fees collected for the county provide a form of property tax relief.

Duties & Responsibilities performed by the Recorder's Office:

The Recorder's office is responsible for maintaining official records relating to real estate, handling vital records, selling and issuing registrations, and handling licenses and titles.

The Recorder's office also collects real estate transfer tax on conveyances of property, performs federal and state tax lien searches, collects and reports auditor's fee for the transfer of property, and houses records for genealogy research.

Lands and Records Management

  • Deeds
  • Changes of Title
  • Contracts
  • Contract Forfeitures
  • Mortgages
  • Assignments & Releases
  • Subordinations
  • Federal & State Tax Liens & Releases
  • Affidavits
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Plats & Surveys
  • Section Corner Certificates
  • Military Discharges
  • Easements
  • Condemnations
  • Property Leases
  • 28E and Drainage Agreements
  • Bills of Sale
  • Financing Statements
  • Trade Names (sole proprietorships & co-partnerships)
  • Condominiums
  • Annexations
  • Ordinances
  • Subdivisions
  • Restrictive Covenants
  • Ag Areas

Vital Records

  • Issues Marriage Licenses
  • Registers Birth, Death and Marriage Certificates
  • Issues Certified Copies of Vital Records


  • Issues Boat Registrations/Titles/Liens
  • Issues ATV Registrations/Title/Liens
  • Issues Snowmobile Registrations/Titles/Liens
  • Sells Fishing & Hunting Licenses
  • Sells Fur Harvester Licenses
  • Sells Resident, Nonresident & Duplicate Licenses
  • Collects Habitat, Migratory Bird & Trout Stamp Fees
  • Sells Deer & Wild Turkey Licenses & Tags
  • Issues Landowner/Tenant Gun & Archery Licenses & Tags
  • Applications for Special Disabled & Veterans Permits issued by Iowa DNR


  • Records available for Genealogical Research

Passport Agents

  • Assist in completing & mailing applications for U.S. passports
  • Supply all passport application forms

Related Links:

Recorder's website:

Passport website:

Iowa Department of Natural Resources:

Iowa Secretary of State:

About the Recorder's website:

The primary source for information about recorded real estate documents in Iowa is, the official statewide web site sponsored by Iowa's elected county recorders.  This County Land Record Information System (CLRIS) was developed as a result of legislation enacted by the Iowa General Assembly in 2003.  The purpose of this legislation was for "planning and implementing electronic recording and electronic transactions in each county and statewide internet websites to provide electronic access to records and information".

Currently all Jefferson County land records since January 1, 2004 are available on the website and are downloaded daily.  Historical data (pre-Jan. 1, 2004) will be downloaded as time and resources permit.  The documents are indexed and you can view or print copies of the images.

Site registration is required to log into the website, but there is no fee to do so, nor is there a fee to view the index and/or print the images.

About Boat registration, titles and liens:

Current boat registrations expire April 30, 2016 and can be renewed anytime after January 1, 2016.  The registration period is currently 3 years.  A $5.00 penalty will automatically be added for renewals after April 30th.  If you have not renewed since April 1, 2013 or before, a $5.00 penalty has already been added to your renewal.

Fee Schedule:
  no motor or sail - $16.90
  with motor or sail -
     less than 16 ft. - $27.40
     16 ft. to under 26 ft. - $40.90
     26 ft. to under 40 ft. - $79.90
     40 ft. or more - $154.90
  All personal watercraft - $49.90 (includes jet skis & wave runners)
  Documented Vessels - $29.90

New boats full fee (above) in the first year, 2/3 in the second year, and 1/3 in the third year.

Registration and title (if applicable) for a new boat requires a MCO/MSO (Manufacturer's Certificate/Statement of Origin) AND Bill of Sale from the dealer.

The purchaser of a previously registered Boat must present the following to transfer ownership:  previous registration signed by seller OR screen print from an Iowa County Recorders office AND previous title (if titled) signed on back by seller AND Bill of Sale signed by seller listing purchase price of the boat ONLY.  Also must have buyer's Iowa DNR # OR Iowa Driver's License # OR Social Security # AND birthdate.

Boat transfers and duplicate registrations are $3.75.

Since July 1, 2005 per the Iowa Department of Revenue:  Sales of boats are subject to state sales tax of 6% (plus local option tax, if applicable) and will be collected by the County Recorder at time of transfer.

(Boat trailers are licensed by the Iowa Department of Transportation through the County Treasurer's Office and tax is collected for trailers there.)
All boats over 17 ft. in length (except canoes and kayaks) or all boats with a lien must be titled.  Titles are $12.75 and liens are $12.75.

About ATV & Snowmobile registration, titles and liens:

ATV and Snowmobile renewals are due December 31st every year and can be renewed any time after September 1 of that year.  Current fee is $17.75.  A $5.00 penalty will automatically be added for renewals after Dec. 31st.  If you did not renew last year, a $5.00 penalty has already been added to your renewal.

Dealers must complete registration and titling process for buyers of a new ATV or Snowmobile.

The Buyer of a previously registered ATV or Snowmobile must present the following to transfer ownership: previous registration receipt OR screen print from an Iowa County Recorders Office AND previous title signed on back by seller AND Bill of Sale signed by seller listing purchase price.  Also must have buyer's Iowa DNR # OR Iowa Driver's License # OR Social Security # AND birthdate.

All ATVs and Snowmobiles must be titled.  Titles are $11.50 and liens are $11.50.

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