KING COUNTY’S REAL ESTATE SERVICES SECTION
TAX TITLE PROPERTY SALES AND PROCESSES
Thank you for your interest in King County’s real estate inventory. All references to “County” in this
article pertain only to King County properties. County currently owns approximately 4,100 properties,
many of which are in continual use by various County agencies, and others that are inventoried for
future use or eventual sale. The King County Real Estate Services Section is responsible for tracking,
selling, leasing, or even managing many of those properties.
King County’s Real Estate Services Section tracks two main types of inventory:
Property purchased in FEE and Property referred to as TAX TITLE.
“TAX TITLE” PROPERTIES ARE DISCUSSED IN THIS ARTICLE
Tax Title is property that comes to County ownership when a property owner defaults on private
property tax payments: A tax foreclosure often results, and the property is not sold at the subsequent tax
A brief explanation of tax foreclosure Page 2
Tax Title properties discussed Page 3
Process for selling Tax Title properties Page 4
King County iMAP Interactive Mapping Tool Page 5
1) THE REAL ESTATE SERVICES SECTION DOES NOT MANAGE THE COLLECTION
OF PROPERTY TAX DEBT OR FORECLOSURE DUE TO PROPERTY TAX DEFAULT.
Real Estate Services does manage those properties known as “Tax Title”. Those properties are
described on page 3 of this article (TAX TITLE PROPERTY - No Purchase at Tax Foreclosure Sale).
2) TAX FORECLOSURE QUESTIONS MUST BE DIRECTED TO THE KING COUNTY
TREASURER AT (206) 296-4184.
A very brief description of the foreclosure process follows on page 2 of this article for your
information, with live links to the King County Treasurer’s Websites regarding foreclosures for tax
3) DEFAULTING MORTGAGE FORECLOSURES ARE NOT HANDLED BY THE COUNTY.
Defaulted mortgage foreclosure auctions may sometimes be held outside the County Administration
Building, but County has no knowledge or information regarding mortgage foreclosures.
Please contact the lending institution holding the defaulting note.
KING COUNTY TREASURER TAX FORECLOSURES
Properties at Risk Due to Non-Payment of Property Taxes
In cases where a property owner fails to pay any particular year’s property taxes to County for a total of
three years, County seizes that property through rights granted by the State of Washington and attempts
to sell it through a tax foreclosure auction.
List of Pending Foreclosure Properties:
In approximately June of each year, a list of properties-in-foreclosure pending for the following
December may be found by pointing and CTRL/clicking on the following:
King County Property Tax Foreclosure Disclaimer and List.
Tax Foreclosure Auctions
In December of each year the King County Treasurer hold sales of properties in tax default foreclosure.
Such sales are conducted at a public auction. Properties that do not sell in that process are then deeded
to County by the King County Treasurer and become known as Tax Title properties.
Please be aware that a property owner has the right to save his or her property from foreclosure, up to
the night before the foreclosure sale, by paying all past property taxes owed. Therefore this list may
change frequently, and interested parties should check with the Treasurer to assure status of properties
they are tracking.
You may learn more about the tax foreclosure process and the 2009 tax foreclosure auction scheduled
for December 2009, by pointing and CTRL/clicking on the following website: Tax Foreclosure
Auction Information for 2009.
The King County Treasurer may be reached at (206) 296-4184
TAX TITLE PROPERTY - No Purchase at Tax Foreclosure Sale
If no purchase occurs at the tax foreclosure sale described above, the property is deeded by the King
County Treasurer to King County’s Real Estate Services Section. County becomes the trustee of these
properties, which are then referred to as “Tax Title” properties. These properties may be very small or
development may be prohibited by the local jurisdiction. Many times they lie adjacent to the properties
of owners who wish to expand the size of their own lots or use them as buffers and open space. They
may remain unclaimed because their value, based on size, location or condition, is negligible. Please
re-read item 8 at the following King County Treasurer website. Not only does this item discuss
types of properties under foreclosure, but it is also a very good description of those same properties
should they become Tax Title. Point and CTRL/click: Tax Foreclosure Information.
Point and CTRL/click on the following list of Tax Title Properties:
2009 Tax Title Inventory Spreadsheet. This list is in Excel format and may be edited, sorted, filtered,
copied or printed. We update this list from time-to-time, but it may not be totally current.
Also available to you are explanations of Inventory Database column headings and a list of city
abbreviations. Point and CTRL/click on the following:
Inventory Database Column Header Descriptions.
Should you find a property of interest, you are responsible for all research. We in Real Estate
Services may not yet have had the opportunity to inspect the property, and your own records research
and physical property inspections are pertinent in all cases. KING COUNTY PROPERTIES ARE
SOLD AS IS-WHERE IS. After you have performed such research and physical inspection, if you are
interested in purchasing the property, please e-mail a list of the Tax Parcel Numbers (found underneath
that column heading) within the 2009 Tax Title Inventory Spreadsheet for properties of interest.
If you have questions, please contact
Anne Lockmiller, King County Real Properties Surplussing Agent, (206) 205-5638
PROCESS FOR SALE OF TAX TITLE PROPERTIES:
Tax title properties are usually available for public sale. Once you have researched and viewed a
property and determined your interest to purchase, the following is our process:
(1) A final determination is made by Real Estate Services whether to release the property of interest for sale;
(2) Real Estate Services will either conduct a public auction or send notice letters to surrounding property owners
to alert them of its intention to sell for a particular purchase price. The notice letter includes an Offer to
(3) The purchase price will include all back taxes owed, administrative fees accrued, and a possible estimation of
any market value the property may have beyond those taxes and administrative fees. Sales of properties with
an estimation of value over $10,000 must receive approval by the King County Council.
(4) A deadline is stated for return of the Offer to Purchase Form and a check for the purchase price. Should more
than one property owner wish to purchase, we may suggest that these owners contact one another for
resolution. Most usually, we will suggest that each owner resubmit another bid, with the highest bid being the
winning bid. The winning bidder will receive written notice from Real Estate Services confirming the sale;
(5) The winning bidder’s check will be deposited with the King County Treasurer. Once again, back taxes
causing the default and administrative costs will be paid out of this check.
(6) King County’s Treasurer will send a deed to the new owner within 60 to 90 days of acceptance of the bid.
Non-winning bidders’ checks will be returned.
For current listings, please CTRL/click on Current Tax Title Property Auctions in Progress
If you decide to bid on a tax title property, please CTRL/click on the following to view the paperwork
that is normally involved: King County Offer to Purchase Tax Title Property.
Before submitting a bid, be certain to contact
Anne Lockmiller, King County Real Properties Surplussing Agent, (206) 205-5638
KING COUNTY RESEARCH TOOLS
FOR LOCATING PROPERTY AND INFORMATION
The King County Geographic Information Systems database holds a wealth of information relating to
location, size, zoning, taxes, council district, permitting jurisdiction, etc. It is an agile and informative
tool that you can access by pointing and CTRL/clicking at the following site:
King County G.I.S. Maps.
Once you have explored the link provided above, should you have questions specifically regarding the
use of iMap, you may e-mail for additional information by pointing and CTRL/clicking here:
email@example.com, or call the following number: … 206-263-4523.
2) The King County Tax Assessor’s website holds even more site-specific information and is a
good source for finding the assessed value for current and past years that has been placed on property for
purposes of land taxes. This Tax “Assessment” may be a different dollar amount than that you might
see in a real estate appraiser’s estimate of market value, known as an “Appraisal”. You may access
Assessor information by pointing and CTRL/clicking on the following site: King County Department
of Assessments or also by pointing and CTRL/clicking on eReal Property System.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN KING COUNTY’S
REAL ESTATE SERVICES SECTIONS’ PROCESSES!
If you are unable to find the information you need at any of the above sites listed here,
you may contact King County’s Real Estate Services Section,
Real Properties Surplussing Agent, at (206) 205-5638