In this hot real estate market, our property taxes seem to be going up every year. One of the most expensive homes in the city just hit the market, and it comes with a property tax price tag you won't believe.

When the historic Samuel Hill House hit the market last week for $15 million, it captured a lot of attention in the real estate world.

The photos from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service show the 11,000 square foot home is a picture of pedigree and architecture, with five bedrooms, six baths.

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According to the real estate agent, Terry Allen of Bellevue, the owners recently put ten million dollars into renovating the home.

But one of the best-selling points is the structure's property tax bill -- zero dollars, and just $894 in fees.

Bailey Stober with the King County Assessor's office explains the 1910 home, a designated historic landmark, applied for a tax exemption and got it.

“It goes in front of a review board, and that board determines two things,” he said. “A, if they qualify as a historic designation site, and B, if they get a tax exemption for that designation. So in this case, not only did they qualify, they qualify for the tax exemption as the board sees fit.”

The city's landmark preservation board granted the exemption. Genna Nashem, the coordinator for the Harvard Belmont District, tells us it is based on a 1985 state law allowing special valuation for certain historic properties. And that the property's "rehabilitation cost must equal or exceed 25 percent of the assessed valued of the improvements."


About 70 properties in the city of Seattle qualify for the property tax exemption, like the Museum of History and Industry and the Rainier Club. Only 11 buildings pay zero in property taxes including this home now for sale.

The tax-exempt status lasts for ten years and expires in 2023. At that point, the new homeowner would have to reapply, but would only qualify if they spend money on more renovations to the home.

The Samuel Hill House comes with an adjacent lot which has a $2,000 property tax bill.