Real Estate Deeds
Register of Deeds

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Washington - King County Recorder Information

The Recorder's Office is responsible for recording and maintaining records related to real property in King County.

Documents you will find at the King County Recorder's Office include:

Real estate documents (deeds, mortgage documents, real estate tax affidavits, etc.)
Survey, condominium and plat maps
Marriage applications and certificates
Miscellaneous documents (powers of attorney, wills, community property agreements, military discharge papers, etc.)
For birth and death records, divorce records, property tax records, and property assessment records, please contact those agencies directly.

Between 1854 and 1969, the King County Auditor maintained all documents submitted for public record. In 1969, the recording functions of the County Auditor were taken over by the newly formed Recorder's Office. Over the years, the method of recording documents has evolved from a system of manual transcription in ledger books to digitally scanning and indexing the documents presented for recording.

Recording Fees

A real estate deed is $74 to record the first page and $1 for each additional page.

A deed of trust is $75 for the first page and $1 for each additional page.

A non-real estate document (one without a legal description or parcel ID number) is $34 to record the first page and $1 for each additional page.

RCW 65.04 allows recording of non-standard documents for an additional fee of $50.00. "Non-standard" refers to documents that do not meet margin and format requirements. The legislation does not include recording of documents that do not meet legibility requirements. All non-standard documents must have a cover sheet that meets the 1st page margin requirements and contain a signed "non-standard" form.

Personal checks, cashier's checks, money orders, or cash (in-person only) are acceptable forms of payment. Checks can be made payable to King County. A current return address should be included with all correspondence.

All fees are due at the time of recording.

Document Formatting Requirements

Documents can be brought to the Recorder's Office in person or sent by mail. The office does not interpret or check documents for accuracy (other than compliance with Washington State RCW's concerning formatting).

- Documents should be submitted on white paper, either size 8.5x11 or 8.5x14 inches. The font size should be no smaller than 8 point.

- Documents should have a 3 inch margin at the top of the first page. This area is reserved for the recorder. Subsequent margins should be at least 1 inch.

- On the first page, the following information must be listed: Title, Reference Number, Grantor, Grantee, Legal description of the property, and Assessor's Parcel Number. If this information is not on the first page, the document must have a cover sheet. The cover sheet must meet margin requirements. It will be charged as an additional page.

- On the first page in the top left corner, the return name and address should be given. When giving the return address information on the first page, it may be given in the following format: "When Recorded Return To: NAME AND ADDRESS."

- The names of the grantor and grantee must be on the first page. If additional names are used, the first page should give the page number of where the names are located in the document.

- The legal description on the first page can be abbreviated, which means lot, block, plat, or section, township, range, and quarter/quarter section. The first page should give a page reference that indicates where the full legal description is located in the document, if applicable.

- The first page of the document should contain reference numbers of documents assigned or released with reference to the document page number where additional references can be found, if applicable.

- The assessor's parcel number should be set forth separately from the legal description or other text.

- All fields must be completed, legible, and capable of being imaged. "See attached" is not acceptable.

- Attachments such as stapled, taped, or glued notary blocks are not acceptable.

- When an instrument, except those submitted by government agencies, is presented to the recording office, it may not contain full social security numbers, a date of birth associated with a particular person, or the maiden name of a person's parent so as to be identified with a particular person.

- A document can be submitted to be recorded with an "emergency clause." If doing so, the following statement should be used on the cover page or first page: "I am requesting an emergency nonstandard recording for an additional fee as provided in RCW 36.18.010. I understand that the recording processing requirements may cover up or otherwise obscure some part of the text of the original document."

- Every deed shall be in writing, signed by the parties bound by it, and acknowledged by the parties by someone authorized to take acknowledgements.

- No instrument of sale or conveyance evidencing a sale subject to the tax shall be accepted by the county auditor for filing or recording until the tax shall have been paid and the verification of payment affixed thereto; in case the tax is not due on the transfer, the instrument shall not be so accepted until suitable notation of such fact has been made on the instrument by the treasurer.

Most real estate transactions require recording per state law. These documents include deeds, mortgage documents, liens, notices, and subdivision and real estate contracts.