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About 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

Posted by jamies (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 10, 11 at 9:36

This topic, from a previous thread, is interesting to me.

When I close on Friday, my sales price will not be recorded on the deed. No lien will be recorded. Therefore, the public record will not contain the sales price. State and county databases will not have the sales price, and will not be able to publish it from its own primary data bank.

The Indiana Board of Realtors may well record the sales figure in their own database. Thus, it is conceivable that the sales price could show up on Realtor.com when I go to sell again.

The realtor is my employee, or contractor, in a way. I never signed anything giving them "rights" to retain or publish this info. I do think I "own" the info and have an almost exclusive "right" to it, because this is a private transaction -- the realtor is merely a service provider who happens to be benefitting, and that is all.

I'm sure that other people asking and paying inflated prices contributed in no small way to the grotesque balloon in house prices of the 90's and 00's. When you really sit down and think of how much your beds and baths are "worth", in comparison to what you earn in an hour of your time, housing price deflation happens. Well, unless you work on Wall Street, I guess.

This gets into the whole market theory of economics, of course, but houses are pretty different from wheat.

Your opinion?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: About 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

"Therefore, the public record will not contain the sales price."

One way the sale prices often get recorded is by the taxing authority on the deed before it is recorded when assessing a grantors tax for the new deed.

They often use a stamp and then fill in the price and tax lines by hand.


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RE: About 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

Many municipalities or state require a real estate sales disclosure form (or something similar) to be completed by the buyer, seller, or both and usually under penalty of perjury. I think Indiana is one of those states. Your realtor or title company can tell you for sure. Although the process works differently in different places, as brickeye indicated, I think most states require some type of disclosure and will not record the deed without it.


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RE: Oh, brother: 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

I just looked it up, Mojomom. I'm taken aback, did not know.

Assuming that the rationale behind the disclosure law is that the assessor needs it in order to tax at market value, it still seems to me that sales price shouldn't be freely available to all.

Not having any privacy makes me feel so deflated. It's bad enough that I have to lay out all kinds of info on the income tax form. Now here, too.

One reason to build new, I guess.


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RE: About 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

What are you trying to hide?

Even in states that do not require public information (Texas IIRC) the RE agents have their own data.


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RE: About 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

This is a topic that's interesting to me as well. In this age of non-existent privacy, where so much information is available through a simple Google search, it makes total sense to me that individuals might want to maintain privacy in any way they possibly can.

The realtor is my employee, or contractor, in a way. I never signed anything giving them "rights" to retain or publish this info. I do think I "own" the info and have an almost exclusive "right" to it, because this is a private transaction -- the realtor is merely a service provider who happens to be benefitting, and that is all.

When you signed the listing agreement, what were the terms for you to be listed on your local MLS? Those terms may very well have included the requirement that the MLS be notified of the sales price.

I live in California. The sales price must be recorded in my county, and anyone who wants to motor over to the county courthouse can look up anyone's sales price that they please.

My local MLS requires that Realtors report the sales price. If the Realtor (or his/her client) doesn't want the sales price reported to the MLS, the buyer, seller and Realtor must sign a form called Authorization to Withhold Sale Price. The Realtor (or whoever wants the sales price withheld) must pay $500 for the first request. Any additional request by the same Realtor is $1000, the next is $2000, and the one after that is $4000. This is a major disincentive to not report.

Most of the real estate websites (redfin, zillow, trulia) get feeds from the local MLS databases. So if you don't report sales price to the MLS, that will limit the dissemination of that data to many of the real estate websites. However if your county provides a feed to online consolidators, then you might not have any control in the matter.


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RE: About 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

There is no privacy any longer. And you don't even have to go to the courthouse. The gov-mint is selling all our data for $. Look up your home on blockshopper.com if they cover your area. If not, they will soon. Here's one article on them.

I'm considering placing all my holdings under a corporate name, though my CPA doesn't want me to - I'll look into it because I do not like my private information out there like this. This is just the tip of the iceberg - be warned!


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RE: About 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

I used to work for a financial management company that specialized in professional athletes. Many of them set up pass thru LLC's to hide their homeownership from their fans.

This of course does nothing to hide the purchase price.

I wondered if the same thing could be done with a revocable trust.


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RE: About 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

I have a revocable trust which is in my name. How would that hide the purchase price?

propertyshark.com shows just about everything with respect to a property, including trust names and links to look up further information regarding the trustees of a trust.


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RE: About 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

You can hide behind an attorney if you want to pay the cost 9it is usually more effective than even an LLC or incorporation).

They own all your property in trust for you, and cannot be forced to divulge very much of anything, even your name.


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RE: About 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

While I sympathize with all the concerns for privacy, let me suggest another point of view. How would any of us judge the accuracy or appropriateness of our property taxes if we had no context or comparisons available? Without seeing what everyone else is paying, how would we be confident that the mayor and/or local board wasn't playing favorites?


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RE: About 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

hayden you make a very good point. To go one step further, it's important to have accurate comps when buying or setting a selling price for a home. We pored over all the sales data from multiple sources in my zip code when we put our house on the market, and we're looking just as carefully at sales data in the zip code where we want to buy. So if everyone decides to withhold sales information, then we all lose out in these areas.


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RE: About 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

This is just one example of the public's demand for public information. I worked for a police department and believe me, we did not comply with public record's law because we wanted to; we did because we were threatened with lawsuits if we didn't. In Ohio, (I don't know about other states) any information kept by a government entity is subject to public records law. Do you own a burglar alarm business? Request copies of all burglary reports for the past week. Are you an attorney specializing in personal injury? Request copies of all car accident reports for the past week.

In my particular area, we mapped crime for all crimes. Once we did that, the resulting GIS information became public information and any entity (such as crimereports.com or a local media outlet) can request it, and then make money on it. We were also prevented from charging more than a nominal fee for that information, which did not include any part of the salary of the person compiling the information. Whatever we created, unless it would jeopardize an ongoing investigation, was public record.

County auditors are subject to the same public records law. They maintain records and are paid with public funds, therefore the public owns the data.


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RE: About 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

I've just read that you can keep sales prices completely private in California, even from those who go down to the county courthouse to look up the recording. It's called California Revenue and Taxation Code 11932, and in the recorder's office it's known as "a confidential".

So the sales price can be kept off the MLS (by request, and usually for a fee) and you can also file a request to keep the transfer tax amount off the deed, and thus obviate the ability to calculate the sales price from the tax.

Here is a link that might be useful: Here's one example


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RE: About 'Public Info' Sales Price and Privacy

In NC, there is a state transfer tax on real estate transactions. $1.00 for every $500.00 or fraction of $500.00 of the sales price. The tax is posted on the deed prior to recording. No privacy there.


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