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Third Party Bidder Frequently Asked Questions

Can the Sheriff’s Office provide legal advice?

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office does not provide legal advice. The Sheriff’s Office may provide information about its policies and procedures for Foreclosures/Judicial Sales. This should not be considered legal advice. If you have questions related to legal issues, contact an attorney or visit the 19th Judicial Circuit’s Center for Self Representation in the William D. Block Memorial Library in the Lake County Government Building, 18 N. County Street, Waukegan, Illinois.

How often does the Sheriff’s Office hold auctions?

The Sheriff’s Office holds auctions each Tuesday and Thursday at 9:00 a.m., with the exception of holidays. Check the Sales Schedule. 

Can I register to place a bid on a property?

Yes. If you plan to bid on a particular property, you will need to register to bid. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. on the morning the day of the sale. The registration process takes only minutes. If you are the successful bidder, your information will be sent to the lender’s attorneys for processing. If preferred, you can print out a Third Party Bidder Registration Form  and complete the form prior to the sale. Please bring the registration form with you to the sale. If you plan to bid on more than one property at an auction, you will need to complete a separate registration form for each property. NOTE: Only the top half of the form needs to be completed by third-party bidders. The bottom half of the form is for the Sheriff’s Office internal use.

Will I be responsible for any unpaid back-taxes on the property?

Yes. Please do your homework prior to bidding on a property. All unpaid back-taxes held against a property will be the financial responsibility of winning bidder. Research on back-taxes can be done through the Lake County Treasurer's Office online service, and research on liens may be checked by calling the Lake County Recorder of Deeds Office at 847.377.2575 or subscribing to the Lake County Recorder of Deeds one-day subscription for $5. Please provide the Recorder of Deeds Office with the PIN (Property Index Number) of the property. PIN numbers are listed on the Sheriff’s Foreclosed Property Listing.  

If I purchase a property at auction, will I be responsible for any liens held against the property?

Third-party bidders are urged to research whether or not any liens, mechanics liens, second or third mortgages, or any other judgment liens held against a property are the responsibility of winning bidder. Liens may be settled between the homeowner and the lender prior to the auction, however there is no guarantee. It is the responsibility of the bidder to examine the title of the property. Public court records regarding the property can be found at the Lake County Circuit Clerk’s Office located in the basement of the courthouse. The telephone number is 847.377.3380.

Is a payment on the property required the day of the auction?

Yes. On the sale day, bidders are required to place a minimum 10% deposit of the maximum amount they are willing to spend for the property. If the bid exceeds the bidder’s maximum amount available, the bidder will automatically be out of the bidding process. Keep in mind there may be a number of people bidding for the same property. An opening bid is provided by the lender as a starting point. If an opening bid is not provided by the lender, the property will not go to auction on that day. The opening bid can be found on the Foreclosed Property Listings link on the Sheriff’s website the day before the scheduled sale date. The balance is due no later than two business days after the scheduled sale date. The Sheriff’s Office accepts certified funds (i.e. bank checks) and/or cash. Personal checks, loan approval notes from a bank or wire transfers will not be accepted.

Whom do I make a certified check to?

Please make out the deposit (10%) check payable to bidder. If you are the successful bidder, you will have to endorse the check to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. If you are not the successful bidder, you can return the check to your account. The check for the balance due should be made payable to “Sheriff of Lake County”.

Can I place a bid lower than the opening bid amount?

No. The opening bid is the minimum amount the lender is willing to take for the property. Third-party bidders must bid at least $1.00 over the opening bid amount. The Sheriff’s Office does not have minimum bidding increments.

When can I access the property?

Once the sale takes place, the lender’s attorneys must go back to court to get the sale approved. This court hearing is also known as confirming the sale. Once the sale is approved by a judge in court, the deed to the home is issued to the purchaser. If the homeowner is still living in the house, a minimum of 30 days is typically granted to the homeowner after this final court date before an eviction can be scheduled. We strongly suggest you attend the confirmation hearing to expedite receiving the deed. The sale confirmation hearing will take place at the Main Courthouse located at 18 N. County Street, Waukegan, Illinois 60085. Please call the Lake County Circuit Clerk’s Office at 847.377.3212 to find out the date and time of the court hearing. If you cannot attend the hearing, a copy of the court order (Order Approving Sale) can be obtained at the Lake County Circuit Clerk's Office located in the basement of the courthouse. You will need to bring the Order Approving Sale to the Lake County Sheriff's Office to obtain the deed. 

Do I have to be present at the Sale Confirmation Hearing?

Attendance at this court date is recommended, however not mandatory. At the Sale Confirmation Hearing, the Judge signs the Order Approving Sale. The Order Approving Sale is required to obtain the property deed from the Sheriff’s Office. If you do not attend the sale, this order will be made available to you by the lender’s attorneys. Upon receipt of the Order Approving Sale, bring the document to the Sheriff’s Office and a selling agent will complete the property deed.

Can I finance a foreclosed home through the Sheriff’s Office?

All sales are on a cash basis only. Financing is not available through the Sheriff’s Office. The balance is due in its entirety within two business days of the sale date.

Note: Please review the Foreclosure Research & Requirements link.

How does the eviction process work?

Evictions are scheduled and processed by the Civil Process Division of the Sheriff’s Office. They can be reached at 847.377.4400.

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