Get a copy of your deed – for free
July 22, 2017
One of the frequent calls my office gets is from an existing client, concerned that the title to his or her house is somehow improperly recorded. This question comes up because he or she received a very official looking notification in the mail. The notification, which comes in the name of a company that sounds very much like an official department of the government, warns that you need to do a title search and that it will only cost you about $80. The notice insists that you write a check, and they will get you a copy of your most recent deed.
Why would you get such a notice?
Quite simply, because the records of our County Recorder and the Secretary of State are public record. Some entrepreneurial company has searched the public record, and pulled your name and address. Quite often, they have pulled your name and address from a document you just recorded. Maybe you just bought the house, refinanced, or placed the title in trust. Your recent filing brought you to the top of their mailing list. Seeing your recent filing, the company has sent you what amounts to a scary looking advertisement.
Don't fall for it.
There is no reason to pay $80-plus to get a copy of the deed for your house. Fortunately, in Douglas County, our Recorder's Office is staffed with excellent people more than willing to help you locate your deed and print it off for you (although, they have to charge a small statutory fee for the copies). Their office is in the middle of town, on the first floor of the Old Courthouse, and their phone number is 782-9025.
Even easier, you can access the records for your property online through http://www.DouglasCountyNV.gov. You can search for records by name through the Recorder's Office, but my favorite access point is the Assessor's Parcel Search. From the Assessor's page, click on "online services" and select the first option, "Assessment Information." On the next screen, type in your name and search the property tax rolls. When you've located your record, click on it to see your property tax information. There is a link in the middle of your screen: "Document" and then a number. Click on the number, and voila! you can download a .pdf of your most recent deed. Free of charge.
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(Bonus: From this property record screen, you can also check the status of your property taxes, and then pay your property tax online.)
Of course, if you've worked with an attorney to retitle your house — for instance, to put it into a trust —you should be able to call their office if you need a quick check of the title. My office never charges a client to look up their most recent deed through the county's website.
Don't be fooled by official looking notifications that are nothing more than a scary ad trying to get you to pay for something that you could get for free.
Cassandra Jones is an elder law and family law attorney in Gardnerville. She can be reached at 782-0040.