Consumer Question – I just purchased a condominium and three weeks after closing I received a very official looking letter in the mail telling me how important it is to have a copy of my recorded deed and all of the tax information on my property and for $86.00 this company would make certain I had this “critical” information. This sounds logical and it isn’t much money, should I pay this fee?

Answer: If you purchased property in Florida, chances are a reputable title insurance company was involved. As part of the pre-closing process, or very close to closing, you likely received information about the taxes on the property along with information about items that would appear on your final title policy. Often, between 21 and 60 days following closing, the title company will deliver your final Owner’s Title Policy, an original copy of the deed that was recorded and any other relevant information.

The problem with the letter described in the question above is that the information they are selling is either in your possession and or soon will be, and is also available for free on the internet. Additionally, in the digital age we live in, one function served by recording the document is that you can later secure a certified copy of your deed, if you need it, and it can be recognized as an original.

Today’s advances in information technology truly render the type of “information” being “sold” as obsolete. Upon receiving a letter like the one described above, if you do not already have your deed, call the title company that handled your closing, confirm the originals are on their way, and rest easy knowing you didn’t go without the “very important documents” they tried to sell you. When it comes to the property appraiser information, that information is available on the property appraiser websites of each of the 67 Florida counties for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.