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Do I need a copy of the deed?

April 19, 2019
By ERIC FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Dear Mr. Feichthaler:

I recently purchased a vacant lot in Cape Coral, where I plan to build sometime in the future. I received a letter from "Property Records Office" saying that, if I want a copy of the recorded deed, I can pay them $89. It says they will also provide other information, like my "parcel identification." Do I need to send them the money?

- Charles S.

Dear Charles:

The letter you received is not a bill from Lee County or any other government agency. In fact, it is not a bill at all. Rather, it is a solicitation from a company that hopes you will send them your hard-earned money for something you can easily obtain for free. First, when you purchase real estate, I recommend you always purchase through a law firm or title company, and that they issue you, as buyer, a title insurance policy. Our firm always provides the buyer a copy of the deed once it is recorded with the clerk's office, along with the title policy. If your closing agent did not provide you a copy of the deed for any reason, it can be accessed online at www.leepa.org or www.leeclerk.com.

The Lee County Property Appraiser, at www.leepa.org, can provide all of the information that this company is offering to provide, but will do so for free. By entering your property address in the search, you can see the full sales history of your property, assessed value and many other facts about your lot. And, you can click a link to a copy of all of the deeds that transferred the property, both to you and to previous owners. It also has links to the Lee County Tax Collector's office to show the tax history and payments made. I perform real estate transactions throughout Florida, and I have found the resources found with the Lee County Property Appraiser the best in the state.

My clients see solicitations like this frequently. Typically, these letters do give disclaimers to state they are not a government entity. But, at first glance, it looks "official," so I understand why many recipients are compelled to send the money. My advice would be, if you have a few minutes on the computer, get to know your property through the resources I noted above, and print the deed from there. You can save the $89 for something much better.

Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for over 30 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Southwest Florida to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continues his service to the community through the Cape Coral Caring Center, Cape Coral Historical Museum, and Cape Coral Kiwanis. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for over 18 years, and they have four children together. He earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar. He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell for professional ethics and legal ability, and is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.

Mr. Feichthaler can be reached at eric@capecoralattorney.com, or (239) 542-4733.

This article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice to anyone. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting on any matter of legal rights and obligations.

 
 
 

 

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