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New York Property Deed

October 31, 2008

A client recently shared with me an unsolicited offer he had received in the mail. The company offered to obtain (for a sizeable fee) a certified copy of the client’s deed of ownership to his property from the local county clerk. The offer stated that it was a good idea to have a copy of this valuable document, which is the single best indication that you own your own home. I agree with that statement, which is why all lawyersrecommend recording deeds in the county clerk’s office in the first place. The clerk records the deed by referencing it in an index of deed records (so it can be found by anyone, simply by looking up the seller/buyer’s name) and scanning the deed into the clerk’s computer files. The image of the deed is available for public inspection forever.

What the offer did not state, was that individuals can always obtain a copy (certified if desired) directly from the county clerk, for only a few dollars. Some clerks, such as the Monroe County Clerk, have their records available online and anyone can retrieve and print a copy of their deed at no charge. The Erie County Clerk charges $1.00 per page for an uncertified copy.

Your attorney probably gave you the original deed a short while after the purchase of your home. Unless you have an immediate need for a copy, for example, to show residency qualifications for tuition credits, there really is no need to pay for a copy of your deed.