I know I have written about this before, but since I can’t remember when that was, and I can’t find it in my archives, I decided it’s time to address the subject again. Shortly after I recorded a deed for a client a few months ago, the client reported receiving a notice in the mail from a company identifying itself as Property Site. The name sounds vaguely bureaucratic to me, and the notice looks like it came from a government agency, but it is nothing more than a solicitation from a business selling an informational report about the client’s property.
This type of solicitation is not new, by the way. It’s the same kind of sales pitch I wrote about before, whenever that was.
To their credit, the people who sent the solicitation did include in it a disclaimer that says the service they are offering “is not associated with any governmental agency,” even though the notice sure looks like it is from a government agency.
So what is Property Site offering to sell? They are offering to sell what they call a property assessment profile. The solicitation provides an extensive list of the information contained in the property assessment profile, including “Total Assessed Value, Total Assessor Market Value, Total Tax Amount, Tax Year, [and] Subject Property Legal Description.” They acknowledge that the information comes from public records, but they claim that they use “powerful software and cutting edge algorithms to analyze public information to create” the profile.
That’s stretching it a little, if you ask me. If your property is in Pima County, I can find all of the information that they list in their mailer on two or three government web sites, in maybe 5 to 10 minutes. And I don’t have any “cutting edge algorithms” at my disposal.
I don’t want to be too critical of the people making this solicitation. Not everyone knows how to find this information, although most of it is right there on your property tax bill. Maybe the property assessment profile packages the information real nicely. And there are occasions when the public agencies get the information wrong, or the information they have is out of date. If the information is erroneous or out of date, it’s usually easily fixed with a letter or a phone call to the appropriate county office.
What I will criticize, however, is the suggestion that you need Property Site’s product to verify that the public information about your property is correct. The implication is that the information may be erroneous in some way, and that you should buy their product to verify and correct the information. The information is, after all, public, and can be verified on the web site of the relevant county office, or by calling or visiting one of those offices.
I would even be willing to wager that if you call one of those offices with a question and it turns out you called the wrong office, they will tell you which office to call.
So if you receive a notice from Property Site, or anyone else, that sounds like the one I’m describing, don’t worry. It’s just a solicitation, and doesn’t mean there is something wrong, or that you have to do anything.
Nathan B. Hannah is a Shareholder in the Tucson office, and practices in the areas of estate planning and administration, real estate, and commercial transactions. He is also a noted blogger, and you can find more of his articles on his private blog,
Contact Attorney Hannah: firstname.lastname@example.org or 520/ 322-5000
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