Skip to main content

Foreclosure frequently asked questions

Foreclosure frequently asked questions

Where do I find a list of foreclosure properties?

Starting in mid-November we will have a foreclosure list available in our office and online. In addition, a list will be published in the Seattle Times newspaper sometime in June after all our title reports are completed.

If you obtain a list from us, keep in mind that the list will need to be periodically updated leading up to the auction date as properties will need to be deleted for accounts that have been paid since your list was printed. Parcels may be redeemed from foreclosure at any time up to the day before the auction, thus we do not know what will be in the sale until the morning of the auction.

Is there a mailing list for foreclosure properties?

We do not maintain a mailing list to notify people of each year's tax foreclosures. For those who wish a listing of foreclosure properties, please view the list online.

Can prior owners redeem their property after it is foreclosed upon?

Prior owners have no rights to the property after foreclosure, UNLESS they were a minor or legally incompetent. Minors and legal incompetents have the right to redeem anytime within three years from the date of the foreclosure sale. If they do so, they must pay the amount which the property

sold for, plus interest on the tax amount. If there were any improvements made by the new owner, those would also be paid for. (RCW 84.64.070)

How long does it take to get a deed after the auction?

A Treasurer's Tax Deed will be issued within sixty days from the date of sale. Deeds are forwarded to the King County Recorder's office for recording and mailed to the address provided in the bidder registration. Treasurers' deeds provide the purchaser no guarantees. There can be clouded title or other problems which the county is neither aware of, nor responsible for, that will become the responsibility of the purchaser.

What happens to all of the property liens?

The county can make no guarantees that prior liens will be extinguished. If prior lien holders attempt to collect on their liens after the property has been foreclosed upon, it is entirely up to the new owner to defend against these claims. (RCW 84.64.080) Do not count on buying a house at foreclosure auction. Normally, owners of improved properties subject to tax foreclosure will raise the money to redeem the property before the sale; often at the last minute. Most houses that are foreclosed upon have delinquent loans held by banks, mortgage companies, or other lenders. There is no department within the county that has information on these lending agency foreclosures.

What does tax-title mean?

Parcels offered for auction at tax foreclosure sales, but not bid upon, are deeded to the county. These parcels are "Tax-Title Properties." Most of these parcels are of little value which is why they did not sell at the auction in the first place. Many of these properties are "dangling strips" or "isolated triangles." The former are usually narrow strips, anywhere from a few inches to a few feet wide, that were left over because of an error in a legal description, a survey, a platting error, or a mis-measurement by the Assessor's office. The triangles generally are created when a street or highway cuts through a lot leaving a small isolated triangle cut off from the rest of the lot or block. They may still be purchased from the county, but through a different process. Tax-Title properties are subject to the same risks as tax foreclosure properties.