Grant Deed that had a Not for Public Record Filed on recording
How grant deeds work is that as soon as they are recorded they are mailed to the owner. The County doesn’t keep a hard copy- they only have a scanned image of the front. So there is no way for you to get your hands on the original grant deed by visiting the recorders office. If a “Not for public Record” form was filled out, the image of the grant deed will be useless to determine the sales price because all the important information is whited out.
There are two ways to find the hidden sales price- with the Documentary Transfer Tax amount, and the change in the properties assessed value.
The Documentary Transfer tax is levied at the time of sale, in city of Los Angeles it is $5.60 per $1,000 in sales price. So $5,600 DTT means $1,000,000 sale price. The state has ruled that this tax is public record. The only catch is, that it this information is not available online anywhere. To find out the Documentary Transfer Tax you need to go to the Tax Collecting department Downtown and fill out a request to look it up. There is no charge to look up the DTT on transactions- the documents arrive in the mail in a few weeks.
When a property is sold, this triggers a reassassesment, the new assessed value for the property is the purchase price. If you can find out the new assessed value, you will know the sale price. The assessor website www.lacountyassessor.com/extranet/DataMaps/pais.aspx allows you to look up the assessed value of a property only one year back. It usually takes 90 days after a sale for the new assessed value to show up in the assessors system. After one year the assessed value starts adjusting by a maximum of 2% so you could probably figure out a ball park number subtracting 2% per year.
In the downtown location of the assessors office, they have computer terminals that are open to public for access.