Scam Alert--Grant Deed for Sale Letters Hit Homebuyers Mailboxes!

Real Estate Agent with REMAX Specialists Minnesota License#90858

Does a Homeowner need copy of Grant Deed?

A client sent me an email earlier this week from regarding a letter that arrived in their mailbox that day. Sherry and her fiancé had bought an Anoka County house late last year . This letter strongly suggested it was important to purchase a copy of their grant deed for their records. My well-educated clients were confused by the strange  wording in the letter. They began to question their instincts…Did they need this “grant deed and property file” as the Record and Retrieval Company of Champlin was suggesting?
The short answer is no.
My clients were right to contact me before parting with $87 of their hard-earned money for what is just above a scam in my book. My first instinct screamed “SCAM” as real estate professionals rarely use the term “grant deed” in Minnesota (but it does make it sound official doesn’t it?) At a closing, my clients receive all of the documentation they required regarding the purchase of their new home from their closing agent. She creates a file with all of the signed paperwork and places it is a storage folder with the business cards of their closer, loan officer and REALTOR® attached. The closer then files the deed at the county. Now, should my clients ever require a copy of the deed to their home, they can visit the county offices and purchase a copy directly for a very nominal fee (i.e. significantly less than $87!)
This “scam” of selling inexpensive documentation for a high fee started making the rounds in Minnesota early this year according to the Minnesota Better Business Bureau. The MN BBB refer to this offer as “shady” rather than an out-an-out scam. Shady or scam, it is not a good deal and not something a homeowner needs to keep on file. My suggestion, if you receive a letter from the Record and Retrieval Company of Champlin, file it directly in the recycling bin!
Posted by

Teri Eckholm. REALTOR with RE/MAX Specialists, is a native Minnesotan who has lived and worked in the Minneapolis St Paul metro all of her life. She specializes in lakeshore homes, acreage properties and first time home buyers but assists anyone making a move in the north and east Twin Cities metro.

If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give Teri , a call or visit her website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report She specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

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Comments 51 New Comment

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Ron Aguilar
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995
Real Estate Buying Advice

this is a good opportunity to call everyone you know to warn them of snakes like this.

People like to know that you are thinking about their best interests.

I know I will use this piece of good information to pick up the 500 pound telephone this week.

thanks for the information

April 02, 2012 07:00 AM
Amanda S. Davidson
Your Northern Virginia Realtor
Living A Dream Real Estate

Teri- It seems there's a new scam everyday. The fact that your clients called you shows how much they trust you. I'm sure there are others who fell for the scam.

April 02, 2012 07:06 AM
Gloria Matthews
Principal Property Brokers

You have to admit, this is really quite clever.    No its not against the law...and it does sound like something you should have in your safety deposit box.   I hope the TV news agencies and newspapers and bloggers everywhere and realtors have written to everyone in their data bases... geeeez, what people dream up.

April 02, 2012 08:00 AM
Catherine Krueger
Marvin Gardens Real Estate

My clients called me to let me know the same thing 2 weeks ago.  So I guess California has been hit as well by these scam artists looking for a quick buck!  Glad your clients called you first and so did my client but I wonder how many of my clients have not called me and purchased their grant deed... I guess I should call them and ask them.. good way to touch base with past clients!

April 02, 2012 08:29 AM
Karen Crowson
Livermore Wine Country Homes
Alain Pinel Realtors, Pleasanton, CA

I haven't had anyone ask about this yet, but I'll keep my eyes and ears open. Hard times bring out opportunists, that's for sure.

April 02, 2012 08:30 AM
Michael J. O'Connor
Eastvale - 951-847-4883
Diamond Ridge Realty

This 'service' is pretty common in my area.  The other one has to do with property tax homestead exemption which is quite simple to do yet a 'service' is quite willing to charge to help a new homeowner.

April 02, 2012 08:34 AM
Judi Monday
CRS-Green Valley AZ Expert, Green Valley Arizona R
RE/MAX Valley Properties

Shocking what people will come up with to take advantage of others...

April 02, 2012 08:56 AM
Lina Sarkissians
CDPE, Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource, SRES
JohnHart Real Estate

Thank you for the post Teri.  I haven't seen one of these letters but will definitely put a warning on my FB page.

April 02, 2012 09:09 AM
John DL Arendsen
Real Estate Bkr, Factory Built home Dealer/Devlpr
TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments & ON THE LEVEL GC

Makes you wonder about everything nowadays. I just been hit on by someone wanting me to invest in notes. Now you've got me wondering.

April 02, 2012 09:47 AM
Teri Eckholm
Acreage & Lakeshore REALTOR Minneapolis St Paul
REMAX Specialists

Hi All!--Thanks for your comments. They are appreciated! :) I don't have time to answer you all individually but  really am glad this was featured because I was certain that other people would be confused. My clients are both well educated but though they found it sketchy, it did make them wonder if it was something they needed to buy or not. I can see how so many others could be fooled into overpaying for something that can be obtained from the county when and if they ever need it. Thanks again for all the comments!

April 02, 2012 10:01 AM
Arthur Wainio

Hmm...I haven't heard of this in Arizona but there is always someone trying to make money dollar off of someone. 

April 02, 2012 10:22 AM
Kimo Jarrett
Kimo's Lifestyle Solutions
WikiWiki Realty

Unfortunately, because of our freedom, we can make bad decisions, can't we? Calling you, their trusted adviser for direction is admirable and saved them money, yet many Americans don't investigate or call someone for advice before taking action and often times pay a price, don't they?

April 02, 2012 11:43 AM
Brian Park

Wow, your post just hit my brain with a quick idea for a new business, not the grant deed thing but something real estate related. It would be legal, useless but sound needed and in some cases be a good thing, and all profit after the marketing costs. I just wrote it down and threw it in my idea drawer, may need it if Obama stays in office.

April 02, 2012 01:20 PM
Bill Reddington
Destin Florida Real Estate
Re/max Southern Realty

Here you can print your own if you just need a copy. Many Title Companies are putting the documents on a disc. for you to keep and access at any time. No fee.

April 02, 2012 02:15 PM
Teri Eckholm
Acreage & Lakeshore REALTOR Minneapolis St Paul
REMAX Specialists

Evelyn--The letter wasn't aimed toward seniors...they planned to take advantage of all age groups. An Equal Opportunity Scammer. :)

April 02, 2012 02:31 PM
Evelyn Kennedy
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA
Gallagher & Lindsey, Alameda, California


How unscrupulous of those scam artists picking on seniors.  Good thing your clients contacted you.  I hope those scammers are run out of town.

April 02, 2012 02:32 PM
Stephanie/Bob The Ruiz/Miller Team
The Ocala Dream Team
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty

Hi Teri, thanks for sharing and reminding everyone.  It is sad what people stoop to rather than just making an honest living.

April 02, 2012 05:00 PM
Linda Humphrey
CRS, Broker/Owner HHC Realty
Humphrey Home Connections Realty, Reno, Nevada

How ridiculous. Here, and probably many other places, you can look up your deed (or anyone else's for that matter) through the County Recorders office online and print it as many times as you like. Free.

April 02, 2012 05:16 PM
Gene Riemenschneider
Turning Houses into Homes
Home Point Real Estate

There is always some new scam.  the ones that work best are nickel and dime ones like this.

April 02, 2012 08:56 PM
Sylvie Stuart
Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagstaff, AZ
Keller Williams Check Realty 928-600-2765

It never ceases to amaze me how many scams there are! It's good they called you first!

April 03, 2012 07:17 AM
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Teri Eckholm

Acreage & Lakeshore REALTOR Minneapolis St Paul
Looking to buy or sell in the Twin Cities? Contact Me Today!
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