By Gary A. Coffin, President
We have had a few buyers call our office recently and ask the same question. So, I thought I would clear things up in the event any Real Estate Agents or Lenders are being asked the same question. The short answer is that they don’t need to pay $87.00 to get a copy of their deed. In New Hampshire, most real estate buyers will receive the original recorded deed within a few weeks of closing. Most law firms and title companies will have the original document returned directly to the buyer by the county registry of deeds after it is recorded. If they don’t receive it within a few weeks they can always call the law firm or title company that conducted the closing to get a copy. The other alternative is to obtain a copy themselves directly from the county registry of deeds for a nominal fee, generally around $4.00 to $6.00.
Recently, shortly after closing, many New Hampshire homebuyers have been receiving a document from the “Record Retrieval Department” stating that the “State Record Regulation Department recommends that all United States homeowners obtain a copy of their current Grant Deed”. The document looks very much like an official letter from a government agency, however, it is not. It goes on to indicate that they will need to pay a processing fee of $87.00 in order to obtain a copy of the deed and if they do not respond by a certain date an additional fee of $35.00 will be incurred. Again, even though the letter appears very official, it is not coming from a government agency but rather a private organization seeking to get homebuyers to pay them $87.00 to obtain a copy of a document they will either get for free or at a nominal cost. They seem to skirt any potential legal issues by including several disclaimers at the bottom of the form including the statement “This product or service has not been approved, or endorsed by any governmental agency, and this offer is not being made by an agency of the government.” Actually, quite to the contrary, not only is this service not endorsed by the government, the New Hampshire Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General has released a consumer alert about the service at http://doj.nh.gov/media-center/press-releases/2012/20120803-consumer-alert.htm.
So before your buyers pay an additional $87.00 for their deed, have them check the mail or call the company that handled their closing. CAVEAT EMPTOR!