Each fall, the Realtor community gets alerted by our Realtor associations about upcoming laws that take effect in the new year. Recently the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors (SILVAR), of which I am a member, provided us with a list of upcoming changes in the law.
Perhaps the most striking one involves the secrecy of the sale price of real estate sold in California. It used to be possible to withhold the sales price of a home not just on the multiple listing service (MLS) but on the county records as well. This was done by putting the transfer tax amount on a separate document, not together with the recorded deed. (However, the truly determined could still learn the sales price via a California Public Records Act request.) By doing a little math, it was possible to obtain the sale price via the amount of transfer tax paid.
No more. The documentary transfer tax (DTT) must also be visible as of the new year because of the passage of Assembly Bill No. 1888 (“AB 1888”). The California Association of Realtors supported this measure “because it increases accessible information about closed sales and transparency in public records.”