DEAR BENNY: In the recent purchase of my first home, I was shocked when presented with a completed form titled "Seller's Affidavit of Non-foreign Status" and asked to initial said form to acknowledge its receipt. What bothered me was that I was being made privy to the sellers' Social Security numbers on the form. In addition, I was presented with this completed form not once, but twice: once while signing a stack of disclosure statements with my agent, and again several weeks later, during closing at the escrow office! Both my agent and the escrow office attempted to placate my concerns when I voiced them. In today's age of rampant identity theft, I'm surprised to learn the real estate industry can be so careless. Please tell me this is not common practice. --Kevin DEAR KEVIN: The document you questioned is called a FIRPTA form. That's an acronym for the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980. Back then, Congress was concerned that rich foreigners -- f...
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