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Wilson Letter - 07/12/09

OPEN LETTER TO THE CITIZENS OF ROCKDALE COUNTY

Recently, I have received inquiries from citizens regarding a mail solicitation from the National Deed Service Inc. located in Northbrook, Ill. Their offer was to provide a certified copy of the deed of the citizen's home for $69.50.

The National Deed Service purchases from public records copies of their customer's deed and then resells it to him or her for a profit. While there is nothing illegal about offering this service, I feel obligated to notify the citizens of Rockdale County that they may obtain the same information from my office in the county courthouse at substantially less cost.

We welcome the citizens of Rockdale County to come by the Real Estate Division of the Clerk of Superior Court offices on the first floor of the courthouse. We have public computer terminals available for your use and employees who are willing to show you how to maneuver around our user-friendly software so you may look up your own records. If you choose to print your deed from one of these terminals the cost is 25 cents per page, total cost in most instances would be less than $5. If you desire to have certified copies from the original deed or lien book, then the cost would be $2.50 for the first page and 50 cents for each page thereafter. These fees are set by the state Legislature.

Your property rights are important to us, and we make every effort to protect the documents and information you may need to assert your interest in certain real estate, now and in the future. Only the clerk or a deputy clerk can certify the record of the court, so please do not accept a certification from other sources. While the company that made the solicitation openly tells their potential customers that the records they are selling are derived from public record, I felt it was important for each citizen of this county to understand what steps and precautions are taken locally to memorialize your real estate transaction. If you don't mind paying a premium price for someone else to do what you may not have the time to do, then by all means use such a service. My only hope is that every citizen will be informed and make that choice with full knowledge of their options.

Again, I offer a standing invitation for every citizen of this county to come by our offices and see the good work that is being performed. The Clerk of Superior Court records account for 50 to 60 percent of all the records created each year in your county government. Our records date back to the birth of the county and it is my honor and that of my staff to build upon and care for the history of Rockdale County and the state of Georgia.

Ruth A. Wilson

Rockdale County Clerk of Courts