Certified copy of your deed SCAM

Every couple of months, a client of mine who recently purchased a home calls me with the following question.  It goes something like this:

“Hey Ken, I received a formal looking letter in the mail this week and it is telling me I should have a copy of my deed.  The company who sent the letter says they will get me a copy from the registry and then deliver it to me for a fee of $85.00.   The letter says I will need a copy of my deed for many different reasons during the time I own the property.  Is this something I should get?”

I have seen these letters.  They are very well written and tell you how important it is for you to have a copy of your deed.  What they don’t tell you is that you can get a copy of your deed any time you want for FREE.  All you have to do is go to www.masslandrecords.com and look up your property by a name or address search and voila, there is your deed. You can also see your mortgage information and anything else that is on the title of your property.  If you are ever curious how much the mortgage is on your neighbor’s house, you can look it up here. It is all public record.

So, the letter is a scam.  They want you to pay them for something that you can get on your own for free.  I often wonder how many people actually order from them.  I assume many people do it as  I seem to be seeing these letters more and more.

Trust or LLC for rental property

One of the most common question I get from my landlords is what is a better ownership vehicle for a rental property: a Trust or an LLC?

Well, here is the short answer: LLC

This answer is assuming your primary goal is insulating personal assets from liability.   Typically, beneficiaries of a trust will not be insulated from personal liability when it comes to owning rental property in the name of the trust.  If concealing the true identity of the owner from a public record search is your goal then a trust will suffice.   However, if limiting liability is your goal, then the LLC is the way to go.

If you wish to accomplish both anonymity and limited liability then you could do both a trust and LLC.   You would have a trust and the beneficiaries would be the LLC.