Potential Recording Delays for Properties in King County

The entire real estate industry is inundated from the historically low mortgage rates that have caused a refi boom during a pandemic, no less! When you buy or refinance a home, documents are recorded in that specific county to give “public notice” of the transaction. Once your transaction is “recorded” it is typically considered “closed”.

Based on the memo below, if you have a transaction at the county to be recorded, it is not guaranteed to close on that day simply due to the excessive volumes. I’m concerned that with the practice of pushing transactions that are not recorded to the next day, that this could have a snow-ball effect on all recordings. I’m honestly not sure how the recorders office has handled extreme volumes in the past.

From Jon Sherer, the recording manager for King County:

“As you know we are experiencing a level of workload for recording that has not been seen for almost 20 years.  4,000+ document days are now becoming commonplace when they were unheard of.  Our backlog of physical documents submitted for recording is now more than a month’s worth of submissions.  This increasing workload and the continuing difficulties due to the Covid-19 response have overwhelmed our capacity to complete our daily work in a timely fashion.

Going forward the Recorder’s Office will suspend its guarantee of same day service for submissions received prior to 3:30pm.  Our operations will officially end at 5pm each day.  Staff will be allowed to work overtime in a voluntary capacity after 5pm, but will no longer be required to do so.  Any work not completed by the end of operations or by staff volunteering for overtime will be at the front of the queue the next day….

I realize these changes will create some uncertainty in your operations, but we simply don’t have the capacity to continue with business as usual.  Once the workload changes or circumstances return to something closer to normal, we may choose to resume operations as they were.  We are working on bringing more staff on board, but the onboarding and training process is such that we will not feel the relief from that effort for several months.

Thank you for your patience as we do our best to serve the public in these difficult times.”

If you are buying a home that is closing in King County in the near future, you may want to discuss this with your real estate agent. Hopefully this will only impact a few.

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