HOLBROOK — When buying a vehicle, a buyer needs to know whether the seller really owns the vehicle and if there are any liens on it from lenders. The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division keeps track of this information on vehicles (mobile homes are vehicles, too).

If buying business machinery, say tanning beds, MRI machines, auto shop machinery, etc, the Arizona Secretary of State holds the records for big ticket items. It keeps track of liens by way of a document called a “UCC-1,” standing for the form suggested by the Uniform Commercial Code.

What about real estate? How many times has the Brooklyn Bridge been “sold” to immigrants just off the boat? Enter the county recorder system. A deed, like a vehicle title at the MVD or a UCC-1 at the Secretary of State’s Office, is at the county recorder’s office. It lists the rightful owner and whether there’s a lien on it in the form of a mortgage or deed of trust. And if the owner has suffered a court judgment, under Arizona law, that judgment becomes a lien on the real property.

As of July 1, the fees that county recorders can charge for recording various documents will be standardized. According to Lilene Sanchez, chief deputy at the Navajo County Recorder’s Office, the new rates make the process simpler. Now, the fee is $10 for the first 5 pages of a document, and $1 for every additional page. If a judgment lists a number of defendants, or a deed lists a number of beneficiaries to a trust, it could get complicated and expensive, she said.

On July 1, it will cost $30 to file a document, regardless of the length or complexity. Governments seeking to file documents will pay $15 for the same service. The rates charged for filing surveys and plat maps will stay the same at $24 per filing; for government, $12.

Reach the reporter at rlynch@wmicentral.com

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