You might think that only celebrities want to keep their address private when they buy a new place. However, if you live in an area that entertainment, sports and other celebrities call home, you probably regularly see news of their latest home purchases. Real estate agents love to boast about the multimillion-dollar deals they’ve made. Of course, these celebrities generally have multiple levels of security (structural, electronic and human) to protect them from intruders.
What about people who may not be able to afford this amount of security but still want to keep people from locating them at their new address? These days, people can find themselves under real threat because of something they posted online, because of their line of work or from an abusive ex. Further, it’s easier than ever for people to do a quick Google search and find most anyone’s address.
Can you keep your home purchase from becoming public record? You can, but it takes some effort from professionals who know what they’re doing.
Start with getting a real estate agent who has experience keeping a home purchase private. That means keeping their clients’ information private as they’re shopping for a home. They have a fiduciary duty to do that anyway, but it’s wise to let them know of your specific concerns about privacy and confidentiality.
Using a trust or LLC
Most people who have a living trust include their home in that to allow it to avoid probate after they die. However, most living trusts contain the name of the person who set it up in the title. If you want to “hide” the purchase of your home by placing it in a trust, you’ll need to put it in a trust without any identifying information in the trust’s name.
Some people go so far as to set up a limited liability company (LLC). An LLC doesn’t have to be tied to a business. As with a trust, you wouldn’t want to include identifying information in the name of the LLC.
Even if you don’t want to use a trust or LLC to hide your name from the purchase, there are other steps you can take. For example, you want to make sure that the home is removed from real estate sites as soon as possible. Most multiple listing services (MLS) require that this be done within one day after the closing. However, you want to be sure this is done.
While there’s no guarantee that a determined person won’t be able to find you, taking one or more of these steps will reduce the chances of that happening. If you want to keep your home purchase private for your own security or any other reason, it helps to have experienced legal guidance as well as a trusted real estate professional on your side.