Keep your paperwork out of reach from prying eyes – Daily News

on Dec21
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Selling your house involves a ton of paperwork.

Most of it is generated for you by your agent, who will use the California Association of Realtors standard forms. These forms are the product of hundreds of thousands of real estate transactions that the CAR lawyers distill into standard forms that are designed to provide clarity, add value to the transaction for both the sellers and the buyers, and also to prevent lawsuits.

In addition, there is the paperwork sellers accumulate pertaining to estimates for home improvements, bills for services rendered, warranties for appliances and receipts for replacement batteries and light bulbs.

Most of this paperwork makes its way from one party to the next via email with PDF attachments and through software that facilitates electronic signatures.

However, even in this age of automation, there are some documents that will be printed out or rendered in writing to be at one with the universe in physical form.

When this happens, most of us are inclined to start a file and put all of these documents in a folder for safekeeping and easy organization. When you create this file, keep it safe and be strategic about how you share it.

For instance, it is not a wise strategic play to leave the file of documents regarding your house on the kitchen counter with a file label “Home Sale Documents” when your home is actively being marketed on the multiple listing service.

Once you invite buyers to come see your house either through an open house or through appointments made with their agents, put all of your documents away in a safe, secure place. Here’s why.

It is way too tempting to open such a file. You really don’t want buyers or their agents seeing the listing agreement, which includes the commission you are paying. This should be kept between you and your agent.

All the buyers’ agents need to know is the commission you are offering to pay them, which is included in the MLS listing. You are giving away strategic information if that agent happens to open your file and see the total commission.

Additionally, if the receipts for recent work you have done on the house are in the folder on your counter, someone may happen to glance at the price you paid for the exterior paint job, the new cabinets, new counters, new appliances, and the new flooring.

While you are obligated to disclose repair and improvement information once you are in escrow, via the CAR disclosure forms, you are not obligated to disclose the price you paid for such work.

Keep that information safe and secure.

Leslie Sargent Eskildsen is an agent with Realty One Group. She can be reached at 949-678-3373 or

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