Currently, many states in the US make it super easy for anyone to search for your home address and find out information about where you live, what your home is valued, your tax information, the size of your home, your mailing address and more. With identity theft and other violent crimes being as pervasive as they are, there are ways to protect your family, make yourself more private and less of a target.
When it comes to property, such as land or homes, one of the best ways to construct a barrier between yourself and those who are searching for you (solicitors, criminals, nosy neighbors and others), is to put your property into a trust or LLC. The downside to this plan is that trusts and LLCs require time and money. For example, you may need to hire an attorney to create an LLC for your property (contact us if you want help with this – we have an easier, faster way to do this), and in many cases you must own the property outright in order to create such a legal umbrella (the bank cannot own the property).
A quicker, cheaper and easier way to gain a new layer of privacy between your property and your identity is to request confidentiality status for the property. How do you make your property information confidential, avoiding the prying eyes of snoops and bad guys? Your properties information is typically managed and maintained by a county appraisal district (CAD). For example, if you purchase a property, you are required to have a registered surveyor conduct a survey of the property boundaries which will be recorded legally by the CAD in your county or district. The CAD keeps hardcopies of your property survey with details of who owns the property (through county records), and also posts information about the property on their website, which is typically available to the public.
If you don’t want others to be able to view your property ownership information on the CAD website or request copies of the information, you must make a request through the CAD for property confidentiality status. Normally, this requires that the owner complete a request form and submit it to the CAD for review. It is important to note that in some places there may be limitations to what information remains confidential and who is eligible to apply for property confidentiality status. In some states, the information will be completely blocked from the website and not available for anyone but law enforcement. In addition, in the state that I live in, for example, only individuals such as law enforcement, military, judges and victims of family violence may apply for confidentiality status. However, it never hurts to apply, even if you think you might not be eligible. I contacted the CAD in my area and was told that no proof of status (law enforcement or other) was required to be submitted with the application (other states may require verification). Did I mention that the applications are, in many cases, free?!
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