According to North Dakota laws, an estate in real property, other than an estate at will or for a term not exceeding one year, can be transferred only by operation of law or by an instrument in writing, subscribed by the party disposing of the property (47-10-01). The ownership of real property in North Dakota is either absolute or qualified. Qualified ownership is when property is shared with one or more persons, or when the time of enjoyment is limited or deferred, or when the use is restricted (47-02-03), whereas absolute ownership is when a single person has absolute dominion over the property and may use or dispose of it according to that person's pleasure, subject only to general laws (47-02-02). A conveyance of real property in North Dakota can be in the form of a warranty deed, quitclaim deed, or other type of deed that is currently in use in the state.
Any person who is legally entitled to own property or an interest in property, which is any person of lawful age, also has the authority to legally convey that property. The grantee to a real estate deed must have the legal capability to receive real property or interest in real property. Real property in North Dakota may be owned in several ways: individually or by several persons in joint interests, of partnership interests, or of interests in common (47-02-05). Except as provided in 47-10.1, any person, whether they are a citizen or alien, may take, hold, and dispose of real or personal property within the state (47-01-11). The restrictions in 47-10.1 state that any person who is not a citizen of the United States , is a citizen of Canada, or is a permanent resident alien of the United States may not acquire directly or indirectly any interest in agricultural land unless provisions a-e in 47-10.1 are met. The way in which real property or an interest therein is held will determine the manner in which it is conveyed.
In order for a real estate deed to be recorded with the county recorder in the county where the property is situated, it must be signed by the grantor and acknowledged by the grantor or proved by a subscribing witness. The deed and any acknowledgment must be executed with original signatures (47-19-03). The proof or acknowledgment of an instrument can be made at any place within North Dakota before a judge or clerk of the Supreme Court or before a notary public (47-19-13). The acknowledgment of an instrument must not be taken unless the officer knows or has satisfactory evidence on the oath or affirmation of a credible witness that the person making the acknowledgment is the individual who is described in and who executed the instrument (47-19-20). A certificate of acknowledgment must be endorsed on the instrument or attached to it by the officer taking acknowledgments (47-19-26). Other requirements, such as pertinent information to include, formatting guidelines, and additional forms to provide, apply to the recordation of a real estate deed in North Dakota.
When an instrument is recorded, the record of it will be constructive notice of the contents to all persons (47-19-19). Every conveyance of real estate that is not recorded will be void as against any subsequent purchaser in good faith, and for a valuable consideration, of the same real estate or any portion thereof, whose conveyance, whether in the form of a warranty deed, or deed of bargain and sale, or deed of quitclaim and release, of the form in common use or otherwise, first is deposited with the county recorder and subsequently recorded, whether it is entitled to record or not, or as against any attachment levied thereon or any judgment lawfully maintained, at the suit of any party, against the person in whose name the title to such land appears of record, prior to the recording of such conveyance. The fact that first such deposited and recorded conveyance of the subsequent purchaser for a valuable consideration is in the form of or contains the terms of a quitclaim deed and release will not affect the question of good faith of the subsequent purchaser, or be of itself notice to the subsequent purchaser of any unrecorded conveyance of the same real estate or portion thereof (47-19-41). An unrecorded instrument is valid as between the parties to it and those who have notice of it.
A grant will take effect so as to vest the interest intended to be transferred only upon its absolute delivery by the grantor (47-09-06, 07). A conditional delivery to the grantee will be ineffective.