Coming Soon: 2015 Property Tax Bills

detctiveIn a couple weeks, King County along with others, will begin posting property tax bills for 2015. This may be a non-event for most…unless you’re in the process of buying a home and your debt-to-income ratios are tight. It’s possible that should the tax assessor decide the home you have a contract on now or during the next month has a higher value, and therefore a higher tax bill, that this may jeopardize some loan approvals and/or transactions.

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An Awkward Time of Year for Closing Refinances: 1st Half Taxes Due

On April 30th, first half of real estate taxes are due for properties located in Washington State.   For those homeowners who are refinancing with a closing in April to mid-May, this can cause an inconvenience.   Lenders, the title insurance company and the escrow company need evidence from the County that the taxes for the first half of the year have indeed been paid. 

Unless your reserve account is waived, taxes are collected on a monthly basis in your mortgage payment and then paid when they are due: first half is due by April 30th and the second half is due by October 31st.  

The County typically has a lag time before the processed payments appear once they receive the payment from the mortgage servicer.  King County’s website states:

“It may take up to two weeks for your property tax payment to be reflected in our records after receiving your payment”.

For refinances closing before it is reflected in County records that taxes have been paid; they have a few options:

  • Pay six months of taxes at closing towards your payoff.  The mortgage servicer will refund the balance (overage) a few weeks after closing with their existing reserve account balance.
  • Pay six months taxes at closing; the escrow company might hold funds for the 6 months taxes as an escrow hold-back and refund them to you once County records show the taxes are paid.
  • Delay the closing until the taxes show as being paid per County records (this could cause an extension fee).

Folks closing their refi’s in October to mid-November will be in the same boat with their property taxes.