Property tax assessments do not always end up artificially low when the buyer omits the true sales price from the deed. When assessors are forced to do extra sleuthing to find the price, they often apply a higher level of scrutiny to the property, taking note of improvements they might otherwise overlook.
Some said they simply use the most expensive transaction in the neighborhood as their benchmark. First District Assessor Darren Mire said owners who fail to disclose the price of their home run into trouble if they try to challenge an assessment they feel is too high.
Mire said he would like to see the Legislature create a disclosure form that home buyers must submit to their local assessor's office at the time of their purchase. It would include the price of the property, as well as information about its size and amenities.
Buyers already submit such a disclosure to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, but it is not a public record. Assessors said they do not have access to it unless an owner submits it upon appeal of his or her assessment.
Early this decade, the assessor in Lafayette led a push for the Legislature to create such a disclosure. The assessor, Conrad Comeaux, said the effort failed because legislators could not decide who would pay for processing the form or who would enforce its filing. Clerks of court did not want to perform the job on behalf of assessors, and many assessors felt their offices did not have the money or the staff to handle more paperwork. Assessors in some other states can track down the true sales price when it is omitted from the deed by looking at the conveyance tax, levied as a percentage of the sales price.
Mire and other assessors said it is mostly the urban parishes that grapple with the issue of phantom sales prices, as there tend to be only a handful of sales every year in the rural areas. He said he believed it to be an issue mostly in New Orleans, and to a lesser extent in Lafayette. For most Americans, the opportunity for financial security is through home ownership.
At the Registry of Deeds, we take very seriously our responsibility to preserve the records of property transactions in Northern Bristol County. The Registry of Deeds maintains a record of documents that may provide the basis for investment decisions and also protects your legal interests. Now, homeowners, sellers, buyers, and real estate professionals have online access to documents.
Even if a person bought real estate in good faith, the presence of forged or falsified documents in the chain of title could invalidate their purchase. The previous owners, the court determined, had no idea that someone had recorded a forged second deed of trust, which led to the foreclosure.
The buyers at the foreclosure auction had no knowledge of or involvement in the forgery, but a forged deed of trust cannot convey title. So, in essence, that made the foreclosure and the purchase of the property void.
In fact, this depends on the state. Property tax assessments do not always end up artificially low when the buyer omits the true sales price from the deed. That was a real escape! The actual documents that you signed are often digitized and may be openly searchable, or some counties may charge a fee for users to search their databases. Property Records The County of Bucks makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of this information for your particular purpose, and that to the extent you use or implement this information in your own setting, you do so at your own risk.
Most incidents involving forgery of real estate documents in California still involve fraudulent signatures and forged deeds and other documents used to convey title.