How to Stop Property Tax Foreclosure: A Simple Guide

written by

Junk Home Buyers

posted on

June 10, 2024

how to stop property tax foreclosure

Table of Contents

Did you know your home could be taken if you don’t pay property taxes? Even without a mortgage, not paying taxes can lead to losing your home. It’s a big risk for you and your family.

It’s key to know your options to stop this. You can make a plan to pay, clear the debt, or even file for bankruptcy as a last choice. But going bankrupt has its own problems. So, it’s best to stay ahead of your tax bills and always try to pay them.

Key Takeaways

  • Foreclosure can occur even on mortgage-free properties due to unpaid property taxes.
  • Property taxes are used for essential community services like roads and emergency services1.
  • Contact your local tax office for payment plans or debt settlement options to avoid foreclosure.
  • Understanding property tax hierarchy and managing outstanding taxes can prevent foreclosure.
  • Options like paying off taxes, selling the property, or even bankruptcy might be considered as last resorts.

Understanding Property Taxes

Property taxes are what homeowners pay yearly to their local area. These payments help fund important services like keeping roads safe, doing public works, clean snow, and protect people with fire and police services1. They also help remove trash sometimes. Since these taxes change from place to place and can go up or down, it’s key to know what they mean for you.

What Are Property Taxes?

Property taxes are needed by local areas to run properly. They are based on your property’s value and can change each year. This is because the market’s health changes1. It’s important for homeowners to understand how to pay their property taxes correctly. This stops them from having any problems later.

Why Property Taxes Matter

Property taxes help pay for services everyone uses1. If you don’t pay them, you could lose your home. Also, property tax debts are seen as more important than other debts, like loans1. This means you should deal with overdue property taxes quickly to avoid bad things happening. Sometimes, investors can help by buying risky homes fast. This helps the owner and keeps the community better off2.

If you’re having trouble paying property taxes, there are ways to get help. For example, you might be able to put off paying if you’re low income, a veteran, or elderly2. It’s vital to know what to do when facing trouble with your property taxes. This can help you keep your home and not worry so much about money.

Reasons for Property Tax Delinquency

Not paying property taxes can happen because of some big reasons. These include not having enough money and not knowing enough. These reasons make it hard for people to keep their taxes up to date.

This can lead to losing your home if you don’t act. That’s why it’s important to know how to get help with your property taxes.

Economic Hardship

Many people find it tough to pay their property taxes because they have less money. They might need to spend their limited cash on other bills first. This can cause late fees and a bigger tax bill later on.

In some places, like Michigan, not paying your taxes can start a three-year process. The interest you owe can go up too2. That makes catching up on payments even harder.

Lack of Awareness

Some homeowners just don’t know enough about their tax duties. They might not know they can get help paying their taxes. Rules for getting this help can be strict2.

In Ohio, if you don’t pay your taxes on time, you face extra charges. These charges can make the problem of not paying worse.

Learning about how property taxes work can help a lot. Getting the right help is key to not losing your home.

Consequences of Not Paying Property Taxes

Not paying property taxes can cause big problems for house owners. It can lead to a tax lien on the property. The city can even take ownership and start foreclosure.

Tax Lien on Property

In Georgia, missed property tax payments can mean a tax sale. The owner has to pay the taxes, plus fines and interest, to stop this3. After a tax sale, the owner has 12 months to pay back the buyer and keep their property3. Property tax liens are paid first before other liens. This means the sale of the property will mainly cover the unpaid taxes3.

Potential Foreclosure

Not dealing with property taxes can lead to foreclosure. The owner has a chance to pay the taxes and keep the property. If they don’t, the city might sell it at auction or give it to investors. In Georgia, if the owner doesn’t pay the tax deed in four years, the buyer gets the property3. At first, a 20% extra has to be paid, which makes it harder for the owner3. Owners need to understand these rules to try and keep their homes.

A recent U.S. Supreme Court case said it’s wrong for cities to keep extra money from tax sales. This ruling might give money back to owners of sold properties4. Although most states give back extra money, some did not. This hurt many owners4. The ruling helps people in the District of Columbia and other places. It changes how property tax foreclosure is handled.

Contacting Your Local Tax Office

Talking to your local tax office can help a lot. It can fix property tax issues and find good solutions to avoid losing your property. It’s important to look at all options to handle property taxes well and stop foreclosure.

Payment Plans

To deal with late taxes, a good step is to start a payment plan. Tax offices offer plans that fit your budget. This makes dealing with overdue taxes easier. With a plan, you can keep your property and avoid losing it because of taxes. For example, Baltimore City lets homeowners delay tax sales with a special program. It has a $2 million fund yearly and is open from February 15 to April 155.

Requesting a Tax Bill Adjustment

If you can’t pay the full tax bill, asking for a reduction can help. Tax offices might reduce your bill if you’re going through hard times. In Baltimore, homes get into a tax sale if their city liens are over $750. But, you get this chance at just $250 for non-owner-occupied places5. Getting a bill reduced can take a lot of stress off. It helps you pay what you can and avoid losing your home.

Staying in touch with the tax office is wise. It keeps you updated on how to avoid foreclosure. Knowing about these options and getting help from the tax office is key. It helps you keep your property and stay financially sound.

Exploring Property Tax Relief Programs

Property tax relief helps homeowners keep their homes safe from foreclosure. These programs help seniors and veterans, as well as those in financial trouble. Those who make less than $33,460 a year could get help6. For example, disabled veterans or their spouses might not have to pay at all6.

If you’re a senior or have a disability, your home’s value for taxes could be capped at $30,900. For disabled vets or their spouses, this cap goes up to $175,000 by 20236. This means you might pay less in taxes. How much less depends on your home’s value and the year6.

There are also programs that can stop your tax bill from going up. These help older adults or those with disabilities who are struggling financially. In Tennessee, many cities and counties offer this kind of help6. These are part of larger efforts to give homeowners some financial breathing room.

property tax relief programs

According to the AARP, over 9 million may qualify for tax relief in the U.S.7. This shows many people need help. Getting ahead of tax debts can keep families in their homes. This is especially true for minority communities and the elderly8.

States use tax relief to look out for those with lower incomes or the elderly8. They should keep finding new ways to help. This stops the cycle of losing homes and helps keep vulnerable families stable.

Understanding tax relief can make a big difference if you’re a homeowner. It’s important to know your options for getting financial help. This can keep your home yours during tough times.

How to Stop Property Tax Foreclosure

It’s key to know how to stop property tax foreclosure to keep your place safe. You can stop this by paying the taxes fully, or by working out a plan to pay what you owe. Also, getting help from a lawyer can offer more ways to handle the situation.

Pay Off the Outstanding Taxes

The easiest way to avoid losing your home is by paying all your taxes. This stops the government from taking further action against your property. In every state, property taxes can change and go up with your home’s value. Seek help if you’re unsure what to pay1.

Work Out a Payment Plan

If paying full taxes today is hard, you can ask to pay over time. Many tax offices are willing to work with you on a plan. Also, they might let you include future taxes in this plan too9. This gives you time to catch up before they take further steps1.

Getting legal help means more ways to solve your tax problem. A lawyer can face tax officials for you, work on agreements, or help if you need to sell or file for bankruptcy1. Remember, if you don’t pay within two weeks after they ask, you could lose your home in six months10. A lawyer can guide you through these steps smoothly.

Property Tax Payment Options

Taking care of property tax debt is key for stopping tax lien foreclosure. Homeowners can use monthly payment plans or home equity loans. These ways help to pay off taxes and avoid losing your home.

Monthly Payment Plans

Local tax offices often have monthly plans to pay taxes. You can make smaller payments over time. This is good because you don’t have to pay all at once, making it easier on your wallet. In Texas, people can use different payment plans for their homes over 12 to 36 months11. An optional plan needs a 10% down payment. Then, you pay monthly for the same length of time11. These plans help you avoid losing your home because of taxes. Also, some homeowners might not have to pay all of their taxes. This is because they could get an exemption if they are old or have a disability12.

Using Home Equity Loans

One way to keep from losing your house is by getting a home equity loan to pay taxes. You use your house as promise. This way can be better because it usually has a lower interest rate. Loans like these can help you pay off taxes right away. This stops you from having to pay extra fees and keeps your house safe. American Finance & Investment Co., Inc. (AFIC) in Texas has easy ways to help. They don’t need money upfront or check your credit. They also let you make a plan for payments that fits you12. This is a good way to make sure you keep your home and don’t lose it because of taxes.

Utilizing Property Tax Assistance Services

Homeowners at risk of losing their houses to property tax foreclosure can get help. Property tax assistance services from non-profits and the government are there to help. They offer advice, money, and ways to fix late tax issues.

Non-Profit Organizations

Non-profit groups do much to stop property tax foreclosure. They give talks, make plans for payments, and explain your rights. They also talk to the tax people to make lighter payment deals. This helps a lot with property tax problems.

Government Assistance Programs

The government also has ways to help with property tax troubles. They offer not paying taxes now, tax breaks, and special deals for certain people like the elderly, veterans, and those with low incomes. In places like Maryland, there’s a program that makes taxes smaller based on how much you make13. Also, some states give out money back or lower taxes based on what you earn to help keep things affordable and solid13.

Applying for Property Tax Exemptions

Getting property tax exemptions can help a lot. It can keep your home safe. Knowing about different exemptions and who can get them is key.

Homestead Exemption

The homestead exemption helps lower property taxes. It’s for people who live in their main home. They get a break on part of their home’s value. This protection can be from $5,000 to $500,000, but usually $30,000 to $50,00014.

In Florida and Texas, your home can be fully protected from debts14. This makes property tax fairer for those with smaller homes14. Homeowners should check their local tax office for more info14.

Senior Citizen Exemption

Seniors can get tax breaks based on age and income15. These can really help lower their tax bills. Some might not have to pay a big part of taxes on their main home. This helps their money stay safe.

Every state has its own rules for who can get this exemption. Knowing your state’s rules is important to get these benefits14. Make sure you meet all the rules and apply on time to get this property tax break.

Getting tax exemptions, like the homestead or senior’s exemption, can cut your tax bill. And help avoid losing your home. They lower your taxes now and for the future. This really helps you keep your finances steady.

Refinancing Your Mortgage

Refinancing your mortgage can lower your monthly payments. This helps with property tax bills. It could be due to better interest rates.

refinancing mortgage

Refinancing can help you avoid property tax delinquencies. For those who find it hard to pay taxes, it’s a good choice. It helps get immediate tax relief.

One good part about refinancing is less financial stress. This lets you have more money for property taxes. It helps prevent losing your home for not paying taxes.

There are people who can give you advice. They’re from places like New York’s Homeowner Protection Program. Call them at (855) 466-3456. Or you can call the HOPE NOW hotline at 888-995-4673.

It’s important to get the right advice. When you refinance, check all ways to pay property taxes. Assistance is available 24/7 through HOPE NOW and New York City’s 311 hotline16.

Let’s look at how refinancing can help:

Lower Interest RatesReduce overall loan cost and monthly payment.
Extended Loan TermSpread payments over a longer period, reducing monthly obligations.
Improved Cash FlowFree up funds for essential expenses, including property taxes.

Refinancing is good for managing property taxes. It might help you keep your home too. This way, you can avoid losing your home for not paying taxes.

The Role of Bankruptcy in Property Tax Foreclosure

It’s key for homeowners to know how bankruptcy helps in tax foreclosure. Bankruptcy can stop your home from being taken because of unpaid taxes. It offers ways to deal with these taxes and could be a smart move.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 lets you make a plan to pay off taxes over time. This plan can last three to five years. It helps you keep your home by making payments each month that you can afford. Also, it stops anyone from taking your home while you figure this out17.

If you finish the plan, you might not owe all the money. This can save your home from being sold. It gives you a way to get back on your feet while keeping your house17.

Pros and Cons of Filing for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy has good and bad points. One good thing is it stops the fast sale of your home. This gives you time to make a plan to pay what you owe.

But, it can hurt your credit score for many years. If you don’t choose Chapter 13, you might lose your house without a plan to pay off taxes slowly. Also, remember to keep paying your new tax bills during this time17.

In the end, Chapter 13 can be a good way to keep your house. But, you must think carefully about the good and bad of each option. It’s wise to talk to a lawyer to help you make the best choice1819.

Steps to Prevent Future Property Tax Foreclosure

It’s crucial to avoid property tax foreclosure for homeownership and financial health. You can do this by saving money and watching for changes in what your home is worth.

Setting Up a Savings Plan

Make a savings plan to avoid losing your home. Save money often so you can pay your taxes on time. This helps you have money ready and not worry about big tax bills.

Monitoring Property Value Changes

Check how much your home is worth regularly. Look at what’s happening in the market and when your home’s worth is checked again. This helps you stay ready for any changes in what you owe in taxes.

Here is a table to help you choose financial tools to avoid losing your home to taxes:

Property Tax ExemptionsSome property owners can pay less or no property tax on their home’s value.This is good for people over 65 or those with disabilities who might pay less or none at all12.
Property Tax LoansThese loans help you pay taxes you owe so you don’t lose your home.No credit checks, quick to get online, and easy on your wallet with 30 days free of AFIC’s best rates12.
Homestead Laws ProtectionsTexas offers strong laws to protect your home from being taken, with special rules for its size based on where it is.This makes sure you can keep your home safe from certain debts20.

By saving money and learning about your options, you can protect your home. Being ready and knowing your choices can make a big difference.

Understanding the Property Tax Foreclosure Timeline

Knowing the property tax foreclosure timeline is very important. It helps you prevent losing your property. This process starts because of late property taxes. It usually takes about three years to finish. Interest rates start at 1% each month and go up to 1.5% after the first year2.

There are different stages where you can stop or slow down the foreclosure. You get a notice when your taxes are late. This helps you know when to act to avoid losing your home1.

You can prevent tax foreclosure by paying your taxes. You might also qualify to delay payment if you have a low income or are a veteran. Selling your property to pay off what you owe is another option. Investors can also help by buying your house fast, often in just five days2.

“Local governments use different procedures for tax foreclosure. They allow a time to buy back the property, which is usually about two years”21.

  • Judicial Process: Courts are involved in this. It can end in settling the issue or losing your property. This process takes two to three years21.
  • Non-Judicial Process: Without going to court, governments can sell a tax lien on your property. You then have about two years to buy it back21.

By March, the foreclosure can be final. It’s key to find solutions before this date to stop the process2. Acting early helps protect your property and investment from these risks.

How Investors Can Help with Property Tax Delinquency

Real estate investors help a lot by buying tax liens. This step helps the city get its taxes. It also gives the homeowner needed time to fix their tax problem. In the U.S., these investors buy between $4 to $6 billion in overdue taxes each year22.

This way, homeowners get a chance to pay off their tax debt. They have one to three years to do so. Around 80 percent of these tax liens are purchased by the members of the National Tax Lien Association23. This shows that investors really care about helping these homeowners.

In King County, Washington, the 2022 property taxes were very high at $6.79 billion. This shows just how important it is for investors to buy these tax liens on time. Doing this helps keep local services running and stops many foreclosures from happening22. Investors must also check the properties they are buying very well. They need to know about any problems the property might have.

Investors can buy these tax liens in 29 states and Washington, D.C. This makes them a huge help in stopping foreclosures due to taxes. Such help makes a big difference for these families. It keeps them in their homes and saves them from losing their property23.

In Texas, 95 percent of homes went up in value by 20 percent or more in 2022. This made their taxes go up a lot. Investors can step in to help with this issue too. Their work is helping to make sure fewer homes are taken due to not paying taxes.22 The rate of people not paying taxes has gone down from 2020 to 2021. This shows the importance of what investors do to help keep homes out of foreclosure22.


Dealing with property tax foreclosure is really tough. In 2011, about three-fourths of local government’s tax money in the U.S. came from property taxes24. This shows how important it is to deal with any late payments quickly. There are many ways people can get help to avoid losing their homes.

You have many choices to stop property tax foreclosure. You can talk to your local tax office about making payments more manageable. Also, there are special programs for people like seniors and veterans who might need extra help. It’s good to know that property taxes are based on your home’s value and need to be paid every year. Late payments come with extra fees, though.25.

If you don’t pay your property taxes for a long time, it can become a big problem. Things like tax liens and maybe even losing your home could happen25. It’s important to act fast. By being proactive, talking to experts, and using help like legal aid, you can protect your home. This not only keeps your house safe but also gives you peace of mind. Remember, staying informed and looking for help with property tax issues can help you through this tough time and keep your finances secure.


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