As a local real estate attorney, I hear some terrible stories about people who have had fraud committed against them and their property here in Hernando County. The truth is that anyone can forge a deed to your house and record that document with the County. Then it appears as public record, and it can be relied upon by the scam artist to sell the property to someone else or even take a mortgage out on the property and keep the money. The problem is that you will never know this is happening until it is too late.
Fortunately, there is fraud protection through Hernando County to help protect citizens from this type of fraud. What you need to do right away is go directly to the County Clerk’s website and register there for the Fraud Protection for your property. This system will alert you the moment someone tries to record anything related to your property in County records. This is designed to allow you to find out if something is happening with your property title and stop it before any real damage is done.
There are also a lot of other “real estate” scams out there, and folks should beware of anyone telling you to deed them your property so they can “work with your bank” to help you. This scam happens often to people who get behind on their mortgage payments, and scam artists will contact people in this situation to try to take their homes. Trust me, no one does anything for free, and if it sounds too good to be true, it is. The best thing you can do is talk to a real estate attorney about your rights and legal options before signing or agreeing to anything having to do with the title to your home.
Some other issues I see from clients are after the fact, when they took title to a property that still has title issues, but they never knew there were issues at all. These are things that are simple enough to find out with a title search conducted by a real estate attorney to make sure there are no issues or liens that will follow a property when you buy it. While a real estate lawyer is not required in Florida, your home is the biggest asset and investment of your life, and is worth making sure that you have no issues.
The last issue that I see people struggle with is what will happen with their home after they pass away. Again, do not use deeds printed from the internet since there is no way to make sure these are correct. With some simple planning, we can make sure your home passes to your heirs with no probate after you are gone with no issues. It is so important to take care of this, and can be as simple as using a properly prepared ladybird deed.
We are here to help so you don’t get scammed and your home is protected.