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Don’t Pay For Your Certified Title or Deed

If you thought you received a lot of junk mail before, wait until you buy a home. Overnight, you’ll see your junk mail practically double as the credit card offers are now joined by their friends, the refinancing offers, the home warranty offers, and the “random services you didn’t even know you needed” offers. Oh yeah, not to mention realtor’s curious to know if you’re interested in other homes in the neighborhood. The first week alone I must have received a dozen refinancing offers wondering if I’d be interested in turning my monstrous 30 year fixed mortgage payment to a svelte 5/1 ARM payment of like fifty bucks!

Well, a year or two later, the junk mail has been trickling to a halt, in part because of the housing slowdown and perhaps they’ve picked up on the fact that I wasn’t going to refinance (doubtful). Honestly, I can’t imagine anyone refinancing within a month of closing from a fixed to an ARM but it must happen otherwise they wouldn’t send this junk out (I can see it the other way around though, I bet that’s more likely).

Anyway, recently I received a noticed from an official sounding National Deed Service, Inc. in Washington D.C. offering to get me a certified copy of my deed for the low low price of $59.50. They cite official sounding sources in their recommendation, saying the U.S. Government Federal Citizen Information Center recommends that I have an official or certified copy of my deed; and they implore me to get one because it’s very important. And it is important! Except I and every other homeowner already has a copy, you got it at closing or soon after.

Now, what if you can’t find yours and really want it? Well, just call up your county clerk and make a request for one and you’ll probably pay some sort of minor fee (not $60) to have them pull it up and mail it to you. The Washington Post [3] calls it a scam but I think it’s just an opportunistic company looking to cash in on people who don’t know any better. In the case of National Deed Service, Inc., they do add this notice near the order form in all capital letters: “Many government records are available free or at a nominal cost.” So, while National Deed Service, Inc. isn’t trying to scam you, they are offering a service at a price that makes it worthwhile for them to do it – it’s just a ripoff for you.