Tell Sellers: Hide Your Paperwork

December 23, 2019

Watch out for prying eyes. Home sellers accumulate lots of paperwork during a transaction, such as estimates for home improvements, bills for services rendered, and warranties for appliances. Many homeowners may store these documents in a folder for safekeeping.

But as potential home buyers tour a house, homeowners may need to be reminded to hide their personal paperwork.

Labeling a document “Home Sale Documents” and leaving it in an area that is easily found is not the best move, a new article at Orange County Register warns. House hunters may be tempted to look at documents left out in the open, and viewing a listing agreement could reveal the commission that the seller is paying their agent and other information. Buyer’s agents know the commission that sellers will pay from the MLS listing, but allowing them to see the total commission may be giving away too much information, the Register warns.

The receipts of recent work owners done on the house may also be revealing too much, the article warns. Buyers would be able to view the price owners paid for the exterior paint job, new cabinets, new counters, new appliances, or other projects. Certainly, sellers will disclose any repair and improvement information they did during escrow. But they are not obligated to disclose the price they paid for that work.

Keep Your Paperwork Out of Reach From Prying Eyes,” The Orange County Register (Dec. 21, 2019)