BALTIMORE - Buying a house can be a stressful and confusing experience. Scammers know that so experts say they're using a tactic to slip in when you're already overwhelmed.
The joy of buying a home can often be lost in the flurry of paperwork that comes with the purchase. As mortgage records and loan documents begin to blur together, that gives some a chance to strike with offers they hope will have you blindly writing another check.
An ABC2 News reporter got an offer we decided to look into, claiming a company could help him obtain a copy of the deed to the home he recently bought. The offer looks official, with a Washington, DC address. And it appears time sensitive, with final notices sent and a $35 late fee mentioned if you don't act before the deadline.
The offer we saw says you can get your deed for $85. But we're sending out a warning because you can get the deed to your house for far less money. Property deeds are considered a public record and are available at your local courthouse for a low cost. We contacted the Baltimore City Recorder of Deeds and were told a certified deed copy costs less than $10 on average, depending on how many pages are included.
But some companies hope you'll pay more without reading their fine print. The offer we checked into looks like a critical matter at the top, but at the bottom it clearly states the offer is not associated with or endorsed by any government agency. The offer also says it is not a bill, just a solicitation with no obligation.
So if you want a deed for your house, our advice is: don't send away your cash...just take a walk to the courthouse.