Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Recorder’s Office check for in a legal document?
By law the Recorder’s Office can only check to ensure that your document meets the State’s formatting and legibility standards, and that critical indexing information required by statute is present on the first page. If the formatting is not correct, or if some of the indexing information cannot be found, you may be required to fill out a coversheet for your document. The Recorder’s Office cannot verify the accuracy or effectiveness of the information within your documents.
How can I tell if my documents are correct before I record them?
Careful review of the contents of legal documents is the responsibility of the submitter. The Recorder’s Office is only responsible for ensuring that state mandated formatting and legibility requirements are met. Remember, once recorded to the public record, your document is permanent and cannot be removed or changed. We highly recommend that you consult an attorney when recording legal documents.
What if I realize that I made a mistake after I recorded my document?
Once recorded, your document is part of the permanent public record and cannot be removed or changed. If you’ve made an error that needs to be corrected, you will need to re-record your document. You will need to present the original, or a certified copy of the original with the correction made and a declaration on the first page stating the correction. For example, “Re-recorded to correct legal description”. The document will be recorded, assigned a new recording number, and cross referenced to the original recording. A new recording fee is required when re-recording.
Does my document need to be notarized?
The Recorder’s Office has a responsibility to record all documents presented for recording provided they meet formatting and legibility requirements and that critical indexing information is present. Various documents have different requirements for the legal functioning. Some require notarization of signatures and some do not. The Recorder’s Office cannot guide you in the legal requirements of your specific documents. It is recommended that you research and review your documents carefully before submitting them for recording. If you need assistance in preparing your documents you should consult with an attorney.
I'm having problems connecting to the Records Search. Can you help me?
Here are a few tips:
- Make sure your computer or device meets minimum system requirements.
- Cookies must be enabled, at least per session.
- If you are able to get to the Legal Acceptance page but after clicking 'Accept' you get a message that the page cannot be displayed or are instead redirected to the 'Declined' page, check for cookie support. You may need to adjust your browser's security settings or add our Records Search site (126.96.36.199) to your trusted sites list.
- To view online PDF forms and standards, you need to download and install Adobe Reader. To view document images, you need an image viewer for the image format you choose. For the PDF version, you will need Adobe Reader. For the TIF version, you can use most standard image viewers.
- Isolate the problem to one of three areas: your computer, your network, or the King County website.
- Are other people in your area able to access Records Search? If so, the problem is with your computer. Try the tips listed above, reset your router and/or modem, or contact tech support for your computer manufacturer or Internet service provider.
- Are people outside of your area able to access Records Search, but people within your area are not able or are denied access (home, other company, etc.)? If so, your network firewall may be blocking port 8193. We are required to use this port for security reasons. Unless this port is open, you will be able to view the King County Recorder's Office main page, but will not be able to connect to the Records Search application. Contact your network administrator or Internet service provider about obtaining access to IP/port:188.8.131.52: 8193.
- Are any users able to access Records Search? System problems on any of our servers may prevent access for a short time while maintenance is underway.
- Clear your local browser cache.
- If you are still unable to resolve your problem, contact us at email@example.com. Provide specifics for your operating system and version, browser and version, and Internet connection method (broadband cable/DSL, dial-up, corporate network, public WiFi, etc.) as well as results of testing from step 2.
I keep trying to access Records Search but will not progress to the next page. It just refreshes the current page and clears all entries after I click submit.
This problem occurs if you have disabled cookies. Enable cookies in your browser, at least per session. Or if you wish, you can add just our Records Search site (184.108.40.206) to your browser's list of sites that allow cookies.
Does Records Search require that I allow cookies on my computer?
Yes, in order to be able to request individual searches, Records Search needs to be able to uniquely process these requests. The application assigns a random ID number (session ID) and uses this to identify and return results to the requester. This cookie is stored on your computer and is sent when you request data or images and expires each time your session ends. If you are concerned about allowing cookies on your system, you can turn on support for cookies when you visit this and other sites which require session IDs by adding 220.127.116.11 to your trusted sites list and deleting it when you have finished.
You can perform a test of cookie support by clicking here: Cookie Test.
I tried to request an older document but got no results. Am I doing something wrong?
Depending on when the document was recorded, there may not be any information available online. Our online index only covers the period from 1976 to present. Images of documents are available from 1991 to present.
Indexes prior to 1976 and images prior to 1991 are on microfilm and must be requested from the King County Archives.
Why do some records return more detail than others?
Over the past 25 years, recording data has been collected from various computer systems. The detail captured by each varies. All information from old systems was transferred to new systems as it was entered in the past.
In trying to retrieve a recorded document, I got a message saying the document was more than 100 pages and therefore unavailable online.
Our system limits image retrieval to 100 pages because there are typically several hundred users on the site at any one time and it takes a significant time to process these large documents. When this occurs, everyone on the website, as well as everyone in the Recorder's Office, has to wait until the large request is finished. If you click the error message, an email will be sent to the Recorder's Office webmaster who will manually process your requested document and reply by email when it is available online.
There seems to be a problem when I access your site. Whether I select 'Accept' or 'Decline' I receive the 'Decline' message.
This problem may occur if your Internet traffic is being routed through a content management server which is stripping out the cookie section from your packets. Send an email to us and we will assist you making this determination and possible solutions.
Can I search property records to find the owner of a parcel if I have only the address? If so, how?
Our system does not maintain an address field. Our index is by name (Grantor/Grantee) and/or by Instrument number. You can search on a date range by name, but not by address.
In order to find the current tax payer (usually the owner), please search on the King County Parcel Viewer or contact the King County Department of Assessments.
Why isn't Records Search available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
Our website is usually available at all times of the day or night. However, the servers that house the data and images used for Records Search must be shut down each night to perform backups. These servers may also have long maintenance jobs scheduled on weekends, so the search engine may only have partial functionality.
Do you have any satellite offices?
What are your address, hours, and phone number?
Do you have birth and death records?
How long is the lag between the time a document is recorded and when it is available on the website?
Our Records Search uses the same databases that our production application uses. Indexing is available the second it is recorded using information that is entered at the time of recording. The image is available when the document is scanned. Additional indexing information is available when the document has been through our indexing department.
What are some of the documents that the King County Recorder's Office restricts online?
Some records, including deeds of trust, are not available online to prevent misuse of any personal information they might contain. Copies of those records are available at the King County Recorder's Office or at the King County Archives.
Document Types Currently Restricted
Deed of Trust
(Notice of) Federal Tax Lien (FTL)
FTL Revocation of Release
Marriage License Application
Power of Attorney
Release of Federal Tax Lien (FTL)
Release or Satisfaction of Lien
Release of No-Fee Lien
UCC Partial Release
What are your fees?
Fees vary, based on the type of document. Check our Fees page for detailed information.
Do you accept faxed requests or fax copies back?
No. We only accept mailed in requests that will be returned by mail. If you are mailing in a request for recording, please do not include a return envelope with your documents. It will be separated from the documents and discarded because of the high-speed scanning process we use to image your documents.
How do I get a document removed from public access?
Once a document is recorded with the Recorder's Office, it is part of permanent public record. However, if a document is recorded with a personal identifier such as Social Security Number (SSN), mother's maiden name, or driver's license number, it can be restricted from access on our website.
If you have a document with one of these personal identifiers in the body of the document, you can have its access restricted by filling out the "Remove Image from Webpage" form available on our Online Forms and Document Standards page. We will then record the form and restrict access to that specific document from our website.
Are there any plans to scan older documents on microfilm?
Due to costs, King County has no plans at this time to scan older documents. Requests for these documents are small compared to requests for more recent documents.
Where can I purchase blank forms for recording?
Many office supply and stationery stores carry common forms, or you can also use an Internet search and download forms. Be aware though that some forms may not meet Washington State standards for size, clarity, or other characteristics.
I noticed my Social Security Number is visible on a document. What can I do?
While we are responsible for providing low or no-cost documents to the public, we are also keenly aware that privacy is of the utmost importance. Consequently, we do not display images of documents such as liens, federal tax liens, and marriage certificates that almost always contain personal identifiers. These documents are available from our office and can be requested either by mail or in person. By law, we are required to make these documents available upon request either by mail or in person. In addition, we are prohibited from altering any record.
Some documents may have been submitted to us for recording with a personal identifier embedded in the document. After reviewing your documents online through Records Search and determining that an image contains personal identifiers, you may request that the image be removed from website viewing by doing the following:
- Click Online Forms and Document Standards.
- Click the link to download the form called "Remove Image From Webpage."
- Complete the form (please make sure you include ALL recording numbers that contain personal identifiers) and email it by clicking the "Submit by Email" button in the upper right corner, email it as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org, or print and mail it to the Recorder's Office.
The document will be processed and returned to you when completed.
Why are documents downloaded online watermarked with "Unofficial Document"?
We are required by state law to collect fees for official copies of recorded documents. In addition, we have no way of controlling the validity of documents that are not reproduced by a lawful Deputy Recorder. If an official or certified copy is required, you can request one by completing the Copy Request Form and either mail it to us with the correct fees or request copies in person at the King County Recorder's Office.
How do I get a copy of my marriage certificate?
Visit the King County Recorder's Office, a Community Service Center, or the King County Archives, and you can get your copies the same day. Certificates are available at $3 per certified copy or $1 per noncertified copy. Payment by cash, check, or money order is accepted.
For marriages between August 1, 1991 and present, please fill out a Recorder's Office Copy Request Form and include the names of the parties to the marriage and the date of marriage. Also include the correct fee ($3 per certified copy or $1 per noncertified copy) by check or money order only. Requests will be processed within five days of being received.
For marriages between 1853 and July 31, 1991, please fill out an Archives Copy Request Form and include the correct fees ($3 per certified copy or $1 per noncertified copy) by check or money order only. Requests will be processed by the Archives within five days of being received.
You can order marriage certificates online with a credit card from the Washington State Digital Archives for marriages from 1855 to 1989. You must search for and locate your record prior to ordering a copy. WSDA charges $4 per certified copy. Unofficial images are available for download for free.
I have a friend who is a judge in another state and wants to perform my marriage ceremony. Is it legal for judges from another state to officiate weddings in Washington?
Washington state law specifies who may solemnize a marriage. While the law lists a variety of judges and clergy, it does not state that they must be judges from Washington State.
Do you have divorce records?
I downloaded the editable Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit, filled it out, and printed it, but the words are not separated by spaces and some of the boxes are not filled in.
Install the latest version of Adobe Reader (external link). If you still have problems, you can select 'Print As Image' when you print the document. It will take a little longer but will almost always print correctly.
I am trying to print an Excise Tax Affidavit but it keeps printing 8.5 x 11 (standard or letter). How do I change the size to 8.5 x 14 (legal)?
This is a user selection on your computer the same as any other document you may print. Check your computer or printer manual to learn how to select paper size. You need to have legal sized paper (8.5 x 14) available in your printer.
How can I change the name(s) on my property title?
When adding someone to title, or changing names on title, people will generally record a conveyance document/deed. You can get blank legal documents at stationery or office supply stores. It needs to be completed and notarized. In addition to that, you will need to complete a Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit and depending on the type of transaction, you may also need an Excise Tax Supplemental Statement. These two forms can be downloaded from our website Please carefully review the Supplemental Statement which determines whether or not your transaction is taxable.
Once completed, you would bring these forms in to be processed and recorded. Our fees, hours of operation, and location can be found on our website. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney. You can also contact a title insurance company for assistance.
If you have any further questions for our office, please contact us at 206-477-6620.
How can one get and record a quit-claim deed, and long will it take?
You can obtain blank Quit Claim Deed forms from office supply stores and some websites. The fee for recording is $72 for the first page and $1 for each additional page. The turnaround time can vary depending on how the document is presented to us.
Do you have property tax information?
How do I transfer property?
King County cannot give legal advice. You may want to contact an attorney or title company for this information.
How do I get a copy of my deed or any other recorded instrument?
If the document was recorded from August 1, 1991 to present, you can mail a Recorder's Office Copy Request Form or visit the Recorder's Office in person. If mailing a request form, please furnish seller and/or buyer's name, date of purchase, and send the correct fees only if you know exactly how many pages the record is.
If the document was recorded from 1853 to July 31, 1991, you can request copies from the King County Archives.