Paying $83 for Your Home Deed is $80 Too Much

If you get a letter asking you to pay for a copy of your property deed, it’s likely a rip-off. Call your local property records clerk before you respond.

A company called Property Transfer Services is sending letters to homeowners across the country encouraging them to get a copy of their property deed for only $83. Don’t bite at that offer. It’s a rip-off, and Property Transfer Services has a failing grade of “F” from the Delaware Better Business Bureau.

You can get a copy of your deed from the local courthouse for far less, the “Milwaukee Journal Sentinel” pointed out in a story about the company and the scam.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says residents there have gotten similar pitches from National Record Service, Proxy Data Retrieval LLC, Record Transfer Services, and Record Retrieval Department.

Chances are you already have a copy of your deed in the file of paperwork you got at the closing table. But if you don’t have it and need it, such as for a refinance, you can get a copy at the local property record office where you’ll likely pay just a few dollars in copying charges.

What’s your deed anyway? It’s the legal paper that transfers ownership of your home from the sellers to you — and when you sell, to the new owners.