(July 5, 2019) Can you imagine if you weren’t able to find real estate sales prices in public record—no public data for sites like Zillow and Realtor.com?
In a “full disclosure” state, like Maryland, sales prices are readily available across numerous real estate web sites, and this data makes real estate markets efficient and transparent.
The public has demanded this increased level of information.
But, there are 12 states that are still considered “non-disclosure:” Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri (some counties), Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
In a non-disclosure state, transaction sale prices are not available to the public.
There are two main causes for states being considered non-disclosure.
The first cause is that in most non-disclosure states or counties, when a real estate transaction occurs, the sale price is not required to be submitted to the county office.
The second cause is that even though records are kept, the records can not be distributed to the public.
This is the case in New Mexico, which is a strict non-disclosure state, meaning information about a property can only be given to the registered owner of the property.
In non-disclosure states, sales price data information must be obtained from real estate agents who have been involved in local sales or have access to the local Multiple Listings Service, or possibly from mortgage data, or just plain old word of mouth.
The lack of property sales information in non-disclosure states can also lead to errors in property tax assessments.
Local governments complain that the lack of disclosure causes considerable under- or over-appraisal of properties.
Many reports show that the lower-priced homes pay a disproportionately larger tax burden than they should. Conversely, the higher priced homes frequently pay a lower-than-expected tax burden.
— Lauren Bunting is a licensed Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.