A change in state law is making it easier to find out how much money is involved in big real estate deals. But for many who buy and sell those properties, it's not a welcome development.
Assembly Bill 1888, which took effect Jan. 1, changed how county recorders list a property sale. It requires every recorded deed to specify the transfer tax paid on the sale. Because the transfer tax is based on a percentage of the sale amount, anyone who sees the deed can easily determine how much the property cost.
Until this law took effect, buyers and sellers often would leave the transfer tax off, said attorney Charles Trainor. Instead, they would file a separate, sealed affidavit with the recorder's office that included the actual sales amount.
Trainor said property appraisers pushed for the bill, by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco. It allows them to more easily compare properties to determine appraisal amounts.