Friday, September 06, 2013

Q: We want to sell but we don’t want any of our friends to know we’re moving.

It’s sort of a delicate situation and we want to keep it quiet. Any suggestions on how we can list it but not have it on the Internet or a sign out front?

A:  I have to say that the days are long gone when you can expect any privacy. Keep in mind that when a house is listed it not only goes to the local multiple listing service but it’s picked up by dozens of online real estate sites as well as the web sites of every agent in the MLS. The legal description of the property is part of that listing. Potential buyers can look that up and find out what taxes you pay, the County assessment on your property, photos of the house and all the information the County has on the property.

Also, in this day of transparency, your names will be listed on the legal description, even if your listing agent uses a term like "not disclosed" for the owner. There are no secrets! Using that information people can look you and your husband up on the Internet and find out facts like, where you work, how much you owe on your house, where you’ve lived in the past, where you went to school, and often, see your photo.

I don’t mean to scare you. This is just a fact of life. If you really want to sell, tell everyone you know that you’re listing your home. Broadcast it to the world. That will bring the most potential buyers to your door. If you really don’t want anyone to know why your selling you will have to come up with something to tell folks that works for you.

I should also add, as a note to buyers, that not everything you read on the Internet real estate websites is accurate. (Like Zillow, Trulia, etc) If you’re window shopping homes, use only the sites from local real estate brokerages. That will have the most accurate information.