Tax Assessor explains process for acquiring copies of land deeds

Published 5:08 pm Thursday, January 23, 2014

For anyone who might have purchased a copy of a land deed recently at the Chilton County Courthouse, the fee was just a few dollars.

However, letters from private companies throughout the United States have been circulating to residents in Chilton County within the last several weeks offering their services to acquire land deeds or property profiles for a much higher price.

“We don’t think this is an illegal scam but these companies are charging a lot more for a service we provide here locally,” said Brad Carter with the Chilton County Appraisal Office.

Carter received a deed processing notice letter from a company located in South Dakota after he closed on a house in July of 2013.

“Me and my wife were new homeowners so someone must have sold that information on the mortgage end,” Carter said. “When I received the letter telling me that I could obtain a copy of my deed and get a property profile for $83, I knew something wasn’t right.”

The letter Carter received said he could obtain a copy of his deed and complete property profile for $83 and he should make a check payable to the company.

A property profile provides information of a property’s makeup.

The letter outlines that it is a “solicitation” and individuals are under no obligation to pay the $83, unless they accept the offer.

Carter said the letter does say toward the end that “certified copies of property deeds are available at the county clerk’s office.”

“There have been a couple of letters circulating like this and all you have to do is mail them a check and they will do the research,” Carter said. “The thing most people might not know is you can get those services locally and it doesn’t cost much money at all.”

Chilton County Tax Assessor Rex Cleckler said he hoped individuals throughout the county would know that the information the companies were trying to sell was available locally.

“I would hate to see someone receive a letter like this and pay a high price for services we offer,” Cleckler said. “The letter isn’t a scam, but it is requiring someone to pay a lot of money for a service we provide that doesn’t cost nearly as much.”

Carter said deeds obtained at the courthouse cost roughly $1 per page with most deeds between two and three pages.

“You can typically purchase a deed for under $5,” Carter said. “This company wants $83 and they are doing the same thing we provide.”

The Tax Assessor’s office is located on the second floor of the courthouse.

To reach the Assessor’s office, call (205) 755-0155.