How King County Recorder’s Fee Increase Will Impact You and Your Community
If you are planning to buy, sell, or refinance a property in King County, Washington, you may want to do it before January 1, 2024. That’s when the recording fee for most documents will increase by $100, from $203.50 to $303.50 per document1. This fee increase is mandated by state law and will affect deeds, mortgages, liens, easements, and other real estate transactions.
Types of Documents affected:
- Real estate documents, such as deeds, mortgages, liens, easements, real estate tax affidavits, etc.
- Survey, condominium and plat maps
- Power of attorney records
- Boundary line adjustments
- Lot line eliminations
- Termination of maps
- Amendments to declarations of condominiums
- Why is the fee increasing?
- Quitclaim deed
- Warranty deed
- Lack of probate affidavit
- Deed of trust
- Satisfaction of judgment
- Affidavit of correction of map
- Declaration of condominium
- Land corner record
- Short plat
Why is the King County recording fee increasing?
The fee increase is part of House Bill 1277, which was passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2021. The bill aims to raise funds for affordable housing and homelessness prevention programs in the state. According to the bill’s sponsors, the fee increase will generate about $146 million per year for these purposes2.
The bill’s supporters argue that the fee increase is a necessary and fair way to address the housing crisis in Washington, which has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the nation. They claim that the fee increase will have a minimal impact on most property owners and buyers, who will benefit from the improved housing conditions and social services in their communities.
The bill’s opponents, however, contend that the fee increase is a burdensome and regressive tax that will hurt the real estate market and the economy. They assert that the fee increase will discourage property transactions, reduce property values, and increase closing costs for consumers. They also question the effectiveness and accountability of the state’s housing and homelessness programs, which they say have failed to produce tangible results despite receiving billions of dollars in funding.
What are the effects of the fee increase?
The fee increase will have different effects depending on the type and number of documents involved in a property transaction. For example, a typical home purchase may require the recording of a deed, a deed of trust, and an excise tax affidavit, which would cost an additional $300 in fees after January 1, 2024. A refinance may require the recording of a deed of trust and a reconveyance, which would cost an extra $200 in fees. A lien release may require the recording of a satisfaction of judgment, which would cost an additional $100 in fees.
The fee increase will also affect other types of documents, such as surveys, plats, and condominiums, which will see a $36 fee increase per document starting July 1, 20233. These documents are often used by developers, builders, and engineers to create and subdivide properties.
The fee increase will not apply to some documents, such as marriage licenses, birth certificates, death certificates, and military discharge papers, which will remain at their current fees. The fee increase will also not apply to documents that are exempt from recording fees by law, such as court orders, judgments, and decrees.
How can you prepare for the fee increase?
If you are considering a property transaction in King County, you may want to complete it before the fee increase takes effect. You can record a document in person, by mail, by drop box, or by e-recording. You can find more information about the recording process, the fees, and the payment methods on the King County Recorder’s Office website1.
You may also want to consult a professional, such as a title company, a real estate attorney, or a financial advisor, to help you with your transaction and advise you on the best course of action. You should also review your documents carefully and make sure they meet the formatting and legibility standards required by the state law. Otherwise, you may have to pay an additional $50 fee for non-standard documents2.
The fee increase may seem like a small change, but it can have a big impact on your finances and your community. By being informed and prepared, you can make the best decision for yourself and your property.
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