Tonya Hennen, Real Estate Broker
Today, housing advocates traveled to Olympia to testify in support of Rep. Macri’s bill HB 1570, the Washington Housing Opportunities Act. I was not able to be there today but I want to tell you why I support it.
I am a licensed WA state real estate broker and Realtor in Thurston Co. who follows issues of homelessness and lack of affordable housing in our state. I support the changes to the Homeless Housing & Assistance Surcharge in the document recording fee proposed in 1570.
As a citizen, I appreciate that 60% of those funds stay right in our county. County control allows support of local non-profits already enacting effective solutions to homelessness and housing access – the money is going to organizations I trust. Granting the county councils the ability to increase the fee up to an additional $50 means that counties have greater control to assess what amount feels appropriate for their constituency and the needs they face in their county.
As a real estate broker, I see firsthand how those fees affect homebuyers…not at all. Most are happy to pay a modest fee to know that others can be helped with their housing needs when they have means to purchase a home in a very expensive state. Lack of affordable housing is a central driver to homelessness and the recording fee is one tool to equalize the impact of real estate activity to allow all our state’s residents the chance to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home.
In WA where the median home price is $309,000, the current $40 fee accounts for a little more than ½% of estimated average closing costs and an increase to $90 would take that to just 1% of typical fees paid. Compare that to some of the common fees paid taken from settlement statements of my clients in the past 6 months:
- $90 - $105 for Tax Service/Flood Certification fees
- $75 - $200 for Homeowner Assoc. Transfer fees by property management companies
- $175 to have a notary come to their home to sign paperwork
In the midst of thousands of dollars in closing costs to purchase a home, the recording fee is a drop in the bucket for most homebuyers.
I urge the legislature to eliminate the sunset on this fee so that organizations can count on and plan to have the funds into the future as they build comprehensive plans to address our homelessness and housing crises.
Real Estate Broker
Member Thurston Co. Realtor Association & Washington Association of Realtors