Getting Your Home Back After a Property Tax Sale in Illinois

In Illinois, you can "redeem" your property after a tax sale.

If your property taxes are delinquent and you live in Illinois, your home might go through a tax sale. Luckily, under Illinois law, you'll get a couple of years after the sale to pay off the tax debt and save your property. (Paying off the overdue amounts is called "redeeming" the real estate.)

But if you don't redeem, the winning bidder from the sale can get a tax deed (title) from the court and become the new owner of your home.

How Illinois Tax Sales Work

If you don't pay your Illinois property taxes, the county collector can get a judgment from the court that allows it to sell off the delinquent tax debt. At the sale, the purchaser effectively buys the existing tax lien and gets a certificate, which acts as evidence of the purchaser's interest in the property.

If you don't redeem the home after the sale within the allotted time (see below), the purchaser can petition the court for a tax deed to your home. (To get details on the tax sale process in Illinois, see What Happens If I Don't Pay Property Taxes in Illinois.)

Right to Redeem the Home After the Tax Sale

In Illinois, if the property has a dwelling of six or fewer units, the redemption period is two years and six months. (35 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 200/21-350).

Reduced Redemption Period for Abandoned Homes

If the property is abandoned (left vacant), the purchaser can ask the court to reduce the redemption period to two years after the sale date. (35 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 200/21-350).

Extended Redemption Period

The purchaser from the tax sale can choose to extend the redemption period up to three years after the sale. (35 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 200/21-385). If the period of redemption is extended, you must redeem on or before the extended redemption date. (35 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 200/21-350).

How Much It Will Cost to Redeem the Home

To redeem the home, you'll have to pay various amounts, including:

  • the certificate amount (including all taxes, special assessments, interest, penalties, costs, and fees)
  • an accrued penalty that's based on the date you redeem (the penalty increases every six months, which means the longer you wait to redeem, the more you'll have to pay)
  • the total of all subsequent taxes, special assessments, accrued interest on those taxes and special assessments, and costs that the purchaser paid, plus a penalty, and
  • fees and costs that the purchaser paid in connection with filing a petition for a tax deed with the court. (35 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 200/21-355).

Avoiding a Tax Lien Before You Become Delinquent

Even though Illinois law gives you some time after a tax sale to redeem your home, it is usually smart to take action before you become delinquent in paying your property taxes to make them more affordable. You could, for instance:

  • look into whether you qualify for a property tax exemption, or
  • try to reduce the amount of taxes that you must pay by challenging the taxable value of your home (if you think the valuation is too high).

Getting Help

If you need help redeeming your property or want to learn more about redemption laws, consider talking to a foreclosure lawyer, tax lawyer. or a real estate lawyer who's knowledgeable about Illinois tax sales.

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