2015 Cook County Tax Sale – Coming Soon

Coming Soon — The 2015 Cook County Tax Sale

The 2015 Cook County tax sale is due to begin August 3rd.

The Cook County Tax Sale is held bi-annually in early August.  The tax sale this year affects those who have delinquent property taxes for tax years 2013 and prior.  No one can actually take your house at this point by buying your taxes. The buyer is actually buying the “option” of taking your house if taxes, interest and penalties are not paid during the redemption period. They are purchasing what is known as a tax certificate which becomes a lien on your property.

Who is affected?
If you pay your property taxes  through an escrow reserve on your mortgage payment, you should be OK.  However, if you have no mortgage, it’s often easy to overlook a payment.  This can happen when you are used to it being included in your mortgage payment.  For example, seniors may lose track of tax payments after spending decades paying a mortgage.  It may also be a problem for inherited property where heirs forget about property taxes or feel they can’t afford them.

How do I know if I am delinquent?
If you don’t have the PIN for your home (or you want to quietly check for a parent), you can get the PIN on the Cook County Assessor site. Do a search by property address and it will return the PIN.  You can then search on the Cook County Treasurer site or call the Cook County Clerk’s Office at 312.603.5656.

How long is the redemption period?
The redemption period is from six months to 2 1/2 years. Once taxes are delinquent, the county assesses monthly interest of 1.2%.  Once taxes are bought at tax sale, the tax buyer is earns interest which can be up to 36% per year. In order to redeem taxes and get current, you will need to pay past taxes+ interest+tax buyer interest+fees. It can add up significantly over time.

Why would someone purchase property taxes?
In addition to having the opportunity to purchase the home for the cost of taxes, the tax buyer also earns interest during the redemption period. If they decide to take possession of the home, all other liens are wiped out including the mortgage and they have the deed free and clear.

If you think this 2015 Cook County tax sale may be a concern for yourself or for someone you care about, it is fairly easy to verify if there is a delinquency and the balance owed. I hope this information is helpful.

The process is also similar for the other counties in the Chicagoland area although timelines are different. Contact your County tax office for advice.

If you are looking to buy or sell real estate in the Chicago area, please give me a call or email.

Millie C. Lumpkin, Broker