We recently worked with a married couple on the purchase of a home in Bergen County, New Jersey. After closing the deal and having the deed recorded, I immediately forwarded the deed to the couple for safekeeping. Quite perplexed, I heard from the husband shortly thereafter who said he had received the recorded deed from me, but a day or two thereafter, received something else in the mail. At a quick glance, this other document looked very official stating that it was a “notice” and containing legal descriptions of the property. The “notice” offered to provide my clients with a copy of the deed, along with a package of documents referred to as a property assessment profile, for a fee of $83.00. The husband’s question to me was simply: “What do I do with this?”
If you receive a copy of something similar, the answer is simple – throw the “notice” in the garbage. There are several companies that will send these “notices” to recent purchasers of property. Upon a closer inspection, these notices likely reveal that the company is not associated with any governmental agency and that the notice is a solicitation — not a bill.
However, these companies are likely hoping that the “notice” arrives before the recorded copy of the deed from your attorney, and that the unsuspecting purchaser places an order thinking “Well, I need a copy of my deed.” In essence, these companies are offering to sell the home purchaser a copy of their deed, which they otherwise receive when buying their home, along with some publicly available tax/assessment/flood zone information. Quite a bargain for $83.00!
In short, we would caution all home buyers not to respond to any such notice without speaking to their counsel first as they will likely be paying for documentation and information that has or will be provided as part of the home buying process.