Homeowners who received letters recently from a company offering to sell them a copy of the deed on their home might want to think twice before writing a check.
The official-looking letters from Florida Certified Record Retrieval state that the government recommends having a certified copy of their home’s deed.
The letter offers to provide such a copy for a fee of $50, plus $4.50 for postage and handling.
Technically, it’s not a scam. The Davie-based company, which is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, will get the record for you.
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A recorded message on the company’s answering service states that Florida Certified Record Retrieval is not affiliated with any state or government agency. It is a private company that buys lists of real estate transactions, which are public record.
The message also states the company has no access to original documents, and cannot change information — such as correcting misspelled names — on a certified copy of a deed.
Although what the company does is not illegal, homeowners can buy copies of a deed directly from their county’s clerk of courts for much less, said David Rooney, Division Chief of Recording at the Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts Office.
To get a copy of your deed:
In Miami-Dade, visit www.miami-dadeclerk.com and select “official record search.” Records are searchable by name.
A scanned copy of the record can be printed from the website, or you can order certified copies of the deed from the same screen.
Copies cost $1 per page, plus a certification fee of $2 per document. The records are mailed within a week.
In Broward, visit www.broward.org, click on “Public Records Search” and then on “Deeds.”