How to fix incorrect property records in Santa Clara County?

Professional man working at computer in a sunny room - Fixing incorrect property records in Santa Clara County - what do you need, who do you callWhat do you need to do about incorrect property records in Santa Clara County? Sometimes public property records are wrong or have missing information.

Info needed to rectify errors on the public record

What you need to do about incorrect property records in Santa Clara Co depends on what needs correcting. If your square footage is correct but the number of bedrooms is not, you may be able to phone and just tell the person over the phone what the issue is and it will be changed.

If the square footage of the lot size is not right, you’ll need documentation from a surveyor or another professional qualified to measure the parcel and document the calculations. That paperwork will need to be submitted, probably by email, but possibly in person.

In all cases, you need your parcel number for the most efficient help.  More on that below.

Incorrect property records in Santa Clara Co – who to contact

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, and specifically, you need to speak with your property’s assigned appraiser. 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 at (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! You can also try emailing them at RP@asr.sccgov.org
  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.
  4. More info can be found here, on their FAQ page: Santa Clara County Tax Assessor’s Office FAQ page. The phone directory for that office is here. But do yourself a favor and do not phone any other number besides  the -5300 one. I made that mistake myself and was passed from one department to the next, each person not understanding what needed to be done, and it ate up 40 minutes of my time. If you want to fix incorrect property records in Santa Clara County, it’s imperative that you call the appropriate number and get put in touch with an appraiser, or you may have an unpleasant experience, as I did.

Why are the public records on real property sometimes wrong?

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Want to sell your Silicon Valley home? Disappear during showings!

Graphic image of a house with a for sale in frontIf you want to sell your home, you probably know that your house and yard need to be spotless, that anything scary (like a safety hazard – let’s say, something like rats in your attic) is taken care of, and that your property feels inviting and uncluttered.

What you may not know is how very important it is for you to be GONE. Home buyers want to see your property with their agent. When you’re not there, they can talk about how they’d like to live in it, changes they want to make, or even things they really dislike about your home. They won’t feel free to do any of that if you are there – and especially if you are crowding them by insisting on showing them through.

Home buyers usually hate it when home sellers are present for showings, lead the buyers through the house and tell them all the details that they might not notice.

There are some exceptions. If it’s a 2nd or 3rd time back, maybe it would be helpful to have the sellers fill the buyers in on the area and the home. But certainly not the first time through  – then, it can feel territorial.  Home buyers feel like they are intruding, even if home sellers feel like they are trying to be welcoming.

So home sellers: just don’t do it. If there’s an appointment to sell your Los Gatos or San Jose area home, please be gone. The buyer’s agent can use the lockbox to get in at the time of the appointment.

This actually happened to me in  1999.  My family and I were wanting to move up from Cambrian to Los Gatos.  We had outgrown our 1249 SF Cambrian Gardens house and wanted to get more elbow room closer to the hills.  We were especially looking at the areas around Alta Vista School and the Belwood and Belgatos area.

One day all four of us went to view a home. Not only was the home owner there, but he insisted on showing us through the house.  When we went outside, we wanted to try to figure out if we could move the garage and enlarge the smallish family room.  He followed us, pulled out a lawn chair, aimed it at us and sat down.  My kids noted in their best “quiet voice” that it was creepy. They were right.

We left, and I let the listing agent know what had happened – not the showing feedback he’d wanted to hear! We didn’t want to go back – it was a complete turnoff.   That year, thee was plenty of inventory, and we bought a nice house from nice sellers about 1 block away.

Home sellers – don’t be a creep.  Be gone during showings, especially the first showing. “Giving buyers a tour” usually will hurt your odds of selling, it will hurt your sale price, and may even keep you from selling your home at all.