County Tells Foreclosed-Upon Homeowners: We May Have Some Money For You

The typical image of a foreclosure auction involves a seized house being sold for, at best, the remaining value of the mortgage. But that’s not always so, with some auctions attracting buyers who pay above what’s owed on the home. That money usually belongs to the former owner, but it looks like many aren’t aware of this fact.

Two years ago, Cook County, IL — which includes a little city called Chicago and is the second-most populous county in the country — created a search engine that allows former property owners to see if they own any of the millions in foreclosure surpluses currently waiting to be claimed. At the time it was created, there was around $19 million in unclaimed surpluses.

But it looks like not many of the nearly 2,000 property owners involved know much about this now $16 million surplus, currently sitting in an interest-bearing account with the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court.

The average amount owed to former owners is $2,000 but there is one person out there whose commercial property has a $450,000 surplus waiting to be claimed. The county assessor’s office says it contacted one homeowner with a $200,000 surplus but never heard back.

“This money is not ours,” Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios tells the Chicago Tribune. “It belongs to the taxpayers.”

Cook Co. reaching out to those due money after property foreclosure [Chicago Tribune]