Mar 14, 2022

Sharing Your Home Sales Price - Do or Don't?

Texas homebuyers quickly find their new mailboxes filled with solicitations and requests after their purchase. They are also overrun with appeals and demands for information regarding the purchase of their property.

In addition to the sham mortgage insurance offers and tax filing service scams are enticements to disclose the sales price of their property. Most of these communications look very official and it can be hard to decipher what is legitimate and what is not. Almost none of it is.

Texas is a non-disclosure state

In Texas, a buyer or seller is not required to disclose the sales price of a property to anyone or any entity whatsoever. Real estate sale prices are not public record.

In most states, you can look up any address through the county property tax appraiser to see the most recent sales price. The public has access to sales prices in 38 states. In some states, the public disclosure of real estate sale prices may be printed in local media or appear on the publicly recorded deed. In other ‘disclosure’ states, only governmental entities have access to the sales price.

Our state considers a property sale to be a private transaction and you have a right to keep the details away from curious folks as well as government agencies.

With whom should you share your sales price?

There is no law that says the state, county, city or appraisal districts can require you to provide your sales price. Nosy neighbors and relatives may also ask or speculate about what you paid for a property. It is nobody’s business.

You do not need to disclose the purchase price to the County Tax Office, your HOA, an appraiser, prying neighbors or anyone else. Your tax accountant is the only person with whom you should share the purchase price of a property.

Why does the County want to know?

Many Texas appraisal districts want full disclosure of real estate sales prices to help establish the taxable value. Texas has no state income tax. Our high property taxes help make up for that. Texas property taxes are assessed and paid by counties, cities, schools, appraisal districts, etc. The total property taxes average about 3% of the assessed value of the property each year. If your tax assessor has your actual sales price, they will usually base your taxes on that price.

Zestimates & Other guessers

Web sites like Zillow attempt to place a “home value” on a property based on different formulas. The estimated sales price and value posted on most web sites are inaccurate. These automated valuation models include limited information gathered from publicly recorded mortgage liens, tax assessments and geographic maps.

Their estimates do not include actual sales prices or take into account data such as negotiated concessions, repairs, closing costs, etc. that one of the parties may have paid. They do not take into account lot sizes, condition of the property, etc. Only licensed Realtors and Appraisers have access to all of this information.

Who really knows the sales price?

The buyer, seller, agents, title company and mortgage lender all know the sales price of a property. If a property is for sale in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), then the listing broker must report the sale and sales price to the MLS. The MLS collects and maintains this proprietary information.

Property owner information, not sales price, is public information. Marketing and sales companies scour county records every day and collect information on deed transfers and filing of mortgage liens. That is where they find the addresses of new homeowners to solicit. A lot of the junk mail will also come from folks who find you when you turn on your utilities. That is also public information unless you request that that the utility provider make it private.

How to reduce requests

What should you do when faced with an official request asking for the details of the sale? Ignore it. There is enough information out there about all of us already. In my opinion, no one should offer up this additional financial and personal information voluntarily.

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