Don’t Be Scammed!

Every once in awhile, we hear of people receiving a letter or email stating that a company will help the homeowner obtain a copy of their deed for a fee.  The cost for this “service” is in the neighborhood of $80.  This “help” may be a welcome offer, but the price for the “help” is way too high for the service that is provided.

Considering that any homeowner can get a copy of their deed for a few dollars on their own, beware of such scams.  The exact cost of obtaining a copy of your deed depends on what online access is available for the county in which the property is located.  If there is no online help, a quick call to that county’s Register and Recorder’s office and they will probably mail you a copy of your deed and send you a bill for several dollars.  This is assuming that the deed was recorded at the time of settlement, as almost every deed is.

Some homeowners assume that their deed is being held by the bank/mortgage company, similar to a car title, which is incorrect.  Normally after a closing, the deed is put “on record” at the Register and Recorder’s office in the county where the property was located.  After the deed is recorded, it is normally sent out to be duplicated.  After a few weeks (it is usually duplicated in some electronic form, such as microfilm or digitized), it is then returned to the Register and Recorder’s office and they send it out to the new buyer of the property.  Typically the closing agent will ask to what address the recorded deed should be sent.

Another misconception is that you will need a copy of your deed to sell your property, again similar to a car title.  A new deed will be prepared when you sell the property into the new buyer’s name(s).  Your attorney or real estate agent is very well adept at obtaining a copy of your current deed for this process.  Your real estate professional may want a copy of the deed when the property is listed to obtain the lot size, any deed restrictions and other information that can be obtained on deed.  They can obtain a copy of the deed to obtain this information very quickly by themselves.

So, if you can’t find your deed, check with the Register and Recorder’s office.  If that doesn’t work, check with your closing agent or attorney and ask if they can help or have a copy, or check with the real estate professional that sold you the property.  Each should be able to help.