1. If the credit is applied to the buyers costs of closing the sales price will likely remain the same and thus the credit will not be reflected in the sales price, which in turn may be recorded in the county records.
2. If the credit is applied as a price reduction to the sales price the price recorded at the county will be lower than the originally agreed sales price of the home.
Some lenders prefer to see seller credits handled as a price reduction rather than as a credit on the closing statement. A credit on the closing statement can raise questions about seller kick-backs and that can slow down or derail a loan.
The below answers are correct and excellent answers! I can only add that as far as closing costs go, Realtors do have access to closing costs paid by seller information via FMLS assuming the property is listed there and the information is reported correctly.
When finding comps for clients I always include this information (as Joshua mentioned we are really looking for the NET to the seller). At this time, there is no way of knowing if the purchase price includes a down payment assistance program, if furniture or riding lawn mowers or any item of major value are included in this price. We can often at least look at the pictures to these comps and tell if the property has been updated or is more of a fixer upper.
So while the tax records do not reflect this information, a good Realtor can get an idea of the real numbers for you - Julie makes a great point of having your representative actually contact the listing agent on any comparable properties to get the real story whenever possible.
Best of luck to you!
Most of the time, No.
What you are asking is the same age old question every good Realtor ask, "Why aren't we dealing with Seller Net? Instead, we have these crazy offers with 3% down payment assistance, and closing costs and decorating allowances. In the end, you have a puffed up sales price that may or may not be a true reflection of the value.
Just my two cents.