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?

Specific Documents:

  • Quitclaim deed
  • Warranty deed
  • Lack of probate affidavit
  • Deed of trust
  • Reconveyance
  • Satisfaction of judgment
  • Easement
  • Affidavit of correction of map
  • Declaration of condominium
  • Land corner record
  • Short plat
  • Survey

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.

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What is a Warranty Deed for Real Estate?

A warranty deed is a legal document that is used to transfer ownership of real estate from one person to another. It is considered one of the most secure forms of real estate conveyance because it offers specific guarantees to the new owner, known as "warranties." Understanding what a warranty deed is and how it works can be important for anyone buying or selling real estate.

A warranty deed is a written document that contains specific promises or guarantees made by the seller (the grantor) to the buyer (the grantee). The key feature of a warranty deed is that it guarantees the buyer that the property being sold is free and clear of any encumbrances, such as mortgages, liens, or other debts. This means that if any issues arise with the property's title, the seller is liable to the buyer for any damages.

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What Happens to Real Estate in Probate in Washington State?

When a person dies, their assets must go through the probate process before they can be distributed to their heirs or beneficiaries. This process can be complicated and time-consuming, particularly when it comes to real estate. In Washington State, the probate process for real estate can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Generally, when a person dies and leaves behind real estate, the property will pass through probate court. The court will appoint an executor to oversee the administration of the estate, and that person will be responsible for managing the property during the probate process.

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