Correcting property recordsSometimes public property records are wrong or have missing information.  How do you go about correcting these kinds of issues?

In Santa Clara County (San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell etc.), you must go through the county tax assessor’s office to address these errors. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. First, find your APN or assessor’s parcel number and keep it handy, as you will need it (also paper & pen).  You will find it on your property tax bill.  You can also find your APN online via the Santa Clara County website.
  2. Phone the Real Property & Appraiser Department (408) 299-5300.  Someone there will ask you for your APN so that the correct appraiser can be contacted – I was surprised to learn that there are several dozen appraisers on staff!
  3. From there, you’ll need to talk with your assigned appraiser and see what needs to be done.  He or she may need some documentation, may ask you some questions – just call and find out.

Why are the public records on real property sometimes wrong?

Lots of things can cause the problem with incorrect public property records.  Here are a few potential reasons why the records could be incomplete, inaccurate, or missing altogether.

  • Original data entry error (a typo) – when everything is correct except one item, such as the number of bedrooms, it could well be that the wrong number was submitted on a form or a mistaken key hit at entry.  (I think this happened to my own house, where we have 4 bedrooms but the records said 3.)
  • Addition or expansion to the house – sometimes these are not done with permits & finals (and won’t show up on the county records for that reason). Other times, the work was permitted and finaled, but the paperwork lost at the county or city level.  This is not so uncommon (and the cause of not a few upsets).  It is imperative that home owners keep all of this paperwork themselves and not rely on any other office to keep perfectly accurate records.
  • Lack of concern about some details, such as the actual lot size.  While an entire tract may have 6000 square foot lots listed on the public records, it’s possible (probable) that the parcels aren’t really all the exact same size.  Homes built on “pie shaped” lots or on the inside of cul-de-sacs may well have much larger areas but for whatever reason, the entire subdivision reads as if they all have the same lot.  I have a couple of times sold homes with lots said to be 6000 SF when in fact they were closer to 11,000.  In selling, that can help you to get more money for your home!  In buying, if you purchase a property with a larger lot but is sold with numbers reflecting the smaller one, it could be money in the bank.

Some folks will tell you not to worry about correcting the public records (and in some cases, it’s not easy to do).  But real estate consumers are savvy and have access to the official data on your lot and house quite easily now.  If you say your home is a certain size or has particular features but the public records don’t reflect it, that puts a question in the potential buyer’s mind: what’s wrong? Why don’t these line up?  Best to do what you can to get the reality of your property in line with the public records so it won’t be either a problem or a rush to fix it later.

Once in awhile, someone will tell me that they do not want to correct the county’s official public records for fear that it would trigger a reassessment of the home’s value and increase the taxes.  I am not allowed to give tax (or legal) advice, but if this is worrying you, call up the tax assessor’s office and see what they have to say.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

  1. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,711 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,858 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,137 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,205 sqft
  3. 5 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 6,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 5.77 ac
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,210 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,758 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,438 sq ft
    Lot size: 16,600 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,363 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,572 sqft
  7. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,248 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,028 sqft
  8. 2 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,511 sq ft
    Lot size: 766 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,600 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,501 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,479 sq ft
    Lot size: 23,470 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 4/22/2018)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.


by Transposh - translation plugin for wordpress
Mary Pope-Handy
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at)
License# 01153805

Selling homes in
Silicon Valley:
Santa Clara County,
San Mateo County, and
Santa Cruz County.
Special focus on:
San Jose, Los Gatos,
Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park.
Let’s Connect
Find Mary on FacebookFollow Mary on Twitter
RSS FeedFollow Mary on YouTube

Please see more icons
at the bottom of the page.

The real estate search
Use the widget below to browse properties which are for sale, under contract (pending) or sold. Want to view only homes which are available now? Use the "find a home" link on the menu above (next to the "home" button).
Mary’s other sites & blogs
Valley Of Hearts Delight
Santa Clara County Real Estate,
with an interest in history
Silicon Valley relocation info
Silicon Valley real estate,
focus on home selling

Silicon Valley Real Estate Report
Silicon Valley real estate
market trends & statistics
Mary’s Blog Awards
Top 25 real estate blogs of 2018 by RentPrep2018's list of top 25 real estate blogs to follow

Top 25 real estate blogs 2016
2016: Personal Income's list of top 25 real estate blogs.

Best Realtor blog award
2016: Coastal Group OC's list of best Realtor blogs

The 2009 Sellsius list of top 12 women real estate bloggers
2009: Sellsius list of top
12 women real estate bloggers

Mary Pope-Handy's Live in Los Gatos blog won the 2007 Project Blogger contest, sponsored by Inman News and Active Rain

2007: Mary Pope-Handy and Frances Flynn Thorsen win the Project Blogger Contest for Mary's Live in Los Gatos blog. The contest was sponsored by
Active Rain and Inman News.

Non blog award

Best real estate agent in Silicon Valley from the San Jose Mercury News poll of readers in 2011
"Best real estate agent
in Silicon Valley"

2011 readers' poll,
San Jose Mercury News

Site Statistics
  • Users online: 3 
  • Visitors today : 563
  • Page views today : 1,879