Title Tip: Solicitations And Scams After Buying a Home

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

After the paperwork has been signed and you’ve been handed the keys, there are plenty more expenses involved in moving into your new home — packing supplies, connecting utilities, hiring movers, new appliances or furnishings, etc. However, there are certain costs after buying a home that new homeowners should not incur despite a barrage of letters telling them differently.

One common mail notice that buyers receive is for filing a homestead exemption. New homeowners often don’t realize they can file their own exemption at no cost and don’t need a third party. It isn’t necessary to pay fees ranging from $50 to $100 for this service. But because these solicitations are deliberately designed to look like they come from a governmental agency, and often present a deadline for filing, new homeowners frequently fall for the scheme.

Another deceptive bunch of official looking letters come from companies offering to send the homeowner a copy of their deed. For a fee, they will save the new owner a trip to the courthouse to get their deed. 

“Don’t be fooled,” advises Tara Williams, president of Carlisle Title. “Documents that set out the ownership and interest in properties are recorded in the local county or jurisdiction by the title and escrow company who close the transaction. Once recorded, many of the originally signed documents are returned to the buyer of the property, along with the title insurance policy.”

She confirms that copies of deeds may be obtained from the county register’s office. However, you don’t need a copy of your deed. The title company will generate the deed if you decide to sell your property someday. “One should not be concerned if the deed is misplaced, and certainly should not pay a third party to obtain copies,” she adds.

These solicitations aren’t exactly illegal – just misleading. As are the letters for mortgage protection insurance that give the impression they’re from your mortgage company. Examine the names and logos a little closer, and you’ll find them deceitfully clever at trying to sell you their services.

So where do these businesses get your information? Some folks have the mistaken belief that the title company or real estate broker shares their information. That is not the case. Williams confirms that reputable title companies do not allow outside parties access to confidential or personal information.

“We value and protect our clients’ information throughout the entire transaction, and after the closing as well,” says Williams. “Protecting our clients’ privacy is of utmost importance to Carlisle Title.”

“Third parties may access the information about your recently closed transaction through the county register’s office,” she says. “With this information, third parties know that you are buying a property and may put you on their solicitation list.”

“If you are looking for a copy of a deed, title policy, or other document from your closing, contact your title company before paying a third party,” she recommends.

Why pay for goods or services you don’t need or can get for free?

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