This year’s Tazewell County Surplus Real Estate Sale, slated for July 19, will feature 92 unclaimed properties throughout the county.

Last week, Tazewell County Clerk and Recorder of Deeds John C. Ackerman signed Property Tax Deeds for 44 properties in Tazewell County. The properties will be listed in the upcoming Tazewell County Surplus Real Estate Sale July 19. The lots have been obtained on behalf of Tazewell County because of delinquent taxes. The other 48 lots that will be for sale are unclaimed properties that have been held over from previous years, according to Tazewell County Treasurer Mary Burress.

“We have an annual tax sale every year,” she said. “Parcels that are not sold in that sale are picked up by our tax buyer, Joseph Meyer. They are picking up small pieces of land, lots and some homes that no other buyer has bid on. Joseph Meyer doesn’t pick and choose. If there’s something that is not picked up by a buyer, they pick it up for us.”

According to Ackerman, the purpose of the sale is to get unclaimed properties back in the tax process.

“Right now, we’re not receiving any tax revenue off (the unclaimed properties),” said Ackerman. “The county isn’t, the school district isn’t, the library isn’t and the township isn’t. By getting it back into the tax rolls, at least something’s being received for each of those entities. They’re contributing to the process. You don’t have a bunch of properties out there that are just unknown or have debt that will never be paid off.”

The available properties are listed in a book that is available for $5 at the county treasurer’s office at 11 S. Fourth St., Pekin. Potential buyers must submit their bids to Burress in sealed envelopes by July 19. 

“The highest bid will get it,” said Burress. “The treasurer does not open and none of her employees do. The evening of (July 19), we package them all up, and we ship them to Joseph Meyer. They open them and tell us who got the highest bid. They send us the results and say ‘These people are the new owners.’ (Joseph Meyer does) all the deed work to get it switched over to (the new owners). Prior taxes are washed away, and they will not pay taxes on (their new lot) this year.”

The minimum bid for a Surplus Real Estate Sale is $807.40. Ackerman believes the minimum price could lead to prospective buyers finding unexpected bargains.

“(Some) lots could be going for 10,(000) to 15 thousand (dollars),” he said. “Now you could get it for $807.” 

This year’s lots seem to be largely geared toward owners of an adjacent property who are looking to expand, said Burress. 

“There are a few homes,” she added. “Some of them are just strips of land. There are sheds and some garages on some of the lots. Some of them are landlocked. They’re pieces of property in the middle of four different homes.”

Potential buyers who might be interested in some of the available lots could include hunters looking for a wooded area, small real estate speculators seeking to buy a home and resell it at a profit, or someone hoping to rent out a garage or shed for storage, Burress said. Listed properties near Heritage Lake in Mackinaw may seem more attractive than they would have been in previous years because of recent improvements to the area.

“Mackinaw really got pretty heavy due to Heritage Lake,” said Burress. “The roads were really bad and now that there’s a special assessment on it, and they’re fixing the roads, maybe people will feel that’s a nicer piece of property to bid on.”

Of Illinois’ 102 counties, 95 hold annual Surplus Real Estate Sales, according to Ackerman. Most of the participating counties favor a sealed bid auction process, with nine counties holding live auctions. He is especially impressed by the teamwork required to get a property listed for sale. After the Tazewell Circuit Court identifies delinquent properties, the county obtains ownership. The county Assessor’s Office then reviews the properties before the county treasurer lists them for sale. After the lots are purchased, the county clerk signs the tax deeds and voids all taxes and liens on the properties. Finally, the Recorder of Deed’s division of the Tazewell County Clerk’s office records the changes in ownership.

“This is a great example of Team Tazewell in action,” said Ackerman. “This is (a case of) multiple offices, all working in conjunction to make this process happen.”

For more information on the upcoming sale, visit www.iltaxsale.com or call 1-800-248-2850 or 618-656-5744 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.