RENO, NV - New homeowners beware. Across the country, solicitors are trying to prey on people's ignorance of the home buying process to trick them out of their hard-earned cash.
According to Realtor.com, some new homeowners may receive notice in the mail from companies offering to send copies of their deed along with other home details like property taxes, number of bedrooms, and property lines, all for an $83 fee.
The catch? Many of those details home owners should already know before buying the home, and many are given a copy of their deed once the sale closes.
Washoe County Recorder Larry Burtness says his office receives several calls throughout the year from people asking why they need to pay so much for copies of their deed. But he says what these solicitors are doing is not technically illegal.
"What they're doing is legal," he said. "It's a private enterprise. So they certainly can do that. It's public record. They can order the copies from us and then in turn resell it to the public."
Most of the letters sent to new homeowners look official, but have fine print stating the company is not affiliated with any government agency and people are not obligated to pay the bill. But for those who are unfamiliar with the process, like first time home buyers, it can seem like a legitimate bill.
But it is not necessary for you to have a copy of your deed.
"We have copies of every deed," Burtness said. "It's not a vital need to have the deed in your hand. There's a comfort in having that in your safe but it's certainly not a requirement."
If you do need a copy of your deed, you can get one from the county clerk's office for $1 per page, or free online. To protect yourself, always read the fine print on bills you receive and remember, generally, if you receive a solicitation asking for more money after your closing, it isn't legitimate. If you aren't sure or want more information, contact your county clerk’s office or your real estate agent.