Real estate is one of the few transactions where information about buyers and sellers is publicly available. This can be troublesome if you need to maintain your privacy for safety reasons (e.g. leaving an abuser) or just don't want nosy acquaintances in your business. If you want to keep your real estate transactions on the down low, here are two ways you can go about it.
Sell Your Home Off-Market
If your goal is to prevent someone from finding out you're selling your home, one thing you can do is sell the property off-market. In this situation, the real estate agent taps into his or her network to find buyers who may be interested in purchasing your home. Many times, this will be real estate investors, but sometimes it's regular folks who may be looking for a home in your neighborhood. Since your home won't be listed in the MLS or put on any public real estate listing sites (e.g. Redfin, Trulia), only a select few people will know you're selling.
While this can be an excellent way to keep someone from knowing you're selling until the last moment, actually selling your house may be more difficult since the pool of buyers is much smaller. Unless you live in an area that has a lot of demand, it may take a long time to actually unload the home. Thus, you may need to decide whether anonymity or speed is more important to you.
Buy Using an LLC
Selling your home off-market can protect your privacy until the last moment when the sale actually goes through and is updated in public records. However, you'll face the same privacy problems when you go to purchase a new home. Your personal information will be entered into a public record and will be obtainable by anyone with enough knowledge and time to look.
You can avoid this by purchasing your new home under a limited liability company (LLC). When you use this method, the home will be registered under the company name rather than your own. As long as you register the company in a state that doesn't require the business to list the names of the owners or doesn't make that information public (e.g. Delaware, New Mexico) and you use a company name that has no connection to you, no one will know you're the homeowner unless you tell them.
Buying a home using an LLC can be a little tricky, so it's essentially you speak to an attorney about the process to avoid making mistakes that may compromise the privacy you're trying to protect.
For assistance with buying and/or selling a home, contact a local real estate agent.