If you have lost property to foreclosure in Cook County , whether residential or commercial, you may bemoan the experience as a total loss. But that may not be the case. The Office of the Cleric of the Circuit Court is currently holding $18.5 million in a Mortgage Foreclosure Surplus Fund , and you could be entitled to some of that cash. Here's a scenario: Five years ago, after you had fallen behind in your mortgage payments, you still owed $200,000 on your home, when die bank foreclosed on your property. After you moved out and moved away with no forwarding contact information, the property was resold at a court-ordered auction for $225,000 . Well, after the bank recoups the $200,000 you owed on the property, the $25,000 surplus, or profit from the sale, belongs to you, the former homeowner. When these types of sales happen, and the former property owners cannot be found, the surplus money is deposited with my office into an interest-bearing account, until the rightful owners claim it. I like to say that Mortgage Foreclosure Surplus Fund is the "Silver Lining to the Dark Cloud of Foreclosure." The fact is, there are individuals who have lost their properties, and believing that everything good is gone, have moved on without realizing that money, sometimes thousands of dollars, is being held in their names by the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court . My office is currently holding $18.5 million in surplus funds for approximately 3,192 former property owners in Cook County . Back in January 2009 , this surplus fund had reached $19 million , related to 1,944 cases, and I was adamant that something needed to be done to get this money disbursed to the proper individuals. I knew that some of these financial payouts, which average around $2,000 , but can go as high as $450,000 to one former commercial property owner, could make significant differences in the circumstances of the people who receive them, especially in light of the economic downturn we were experiencing across the country. Therefore, to help find the individuals named on our Mortgage Foreclosure Surplus Fund list, my office launched the Mortgage Foreclosure Surplus Search portal on our website (www.cookclountyclerkofcourt. org). Interested individuals can use the online search engine to easily and conveniently learn if they have foreclosure surplus money being held for them. Simply by entering your first initial and last name into the search function, you can see if you are on the surplus list. If a match is made, additional screens open up with directions to the court forms necessary to file a motion (get a court date), petition for the turnover of the surplus funds, and file an appearance with the presiding judge. There are also answers to frequently asked questions about obtaining a mortgage surplus. From 2009 - 2012, the Mortgage Foreclosure Surplus search engine and other outreach initiatives helped my office reduce the foreclosure surplus fund from more than $18 million to $16.1 million . Memorably, in December 2009 , we located two individuals and presented checks in the amount of $13,350 for one and $30,245.71 for the other, just in time for the holiday season. Today, the increase in the surplus fund amount and number of related cases is likely due to the record-breaking foreclosure epidemic of the last few years, as well as the fact that people are not checking on their foreclosure cases after they quit the properties. The foreclosure cases that appear on the surplus list go from recent to back in the 1990s. If you've lost property in Cook County at any point within that timeframe, there's a possibility that you're entitled to a foreclosure surplus. Find out, today, if you have a share of the $18.5 million that my office is holding in the Mortgage Foreclosure Surplus Fund . Visit our website, tp use the search engine, or call (312) 603-5133 for mo" information. Best wishes for a safe, healthy .and prosperous New Year! The Hoti : DorothyBrown is the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County . For more information, visitwww.cookcountyderkefcourf.org . "Like" usan Facebook.com/cookcountyclerkqfcourt , and follow us on Twitter: %CourtClerkBrown.
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