Help! I don’t have the money for my property taxes!

Recently, a Rancho Bernardo homeowner shared his concern about not having the extra money to pay the property tax bill that was soon due. He was worried that San Diego County might seize his house for non-payment of property taxes.

He was glad that he took advantage of the opportunity to ask, because we were able to put his mind at rest.

Why you don’t need to panic over the property tax bill…

As you probably know, San Diego County property taxes are paid in two installments and are due December 1 and April 1 each year. They become past due 10 days after the due date. At that time, the homeowner is assessed a 10% penalty and a $10 fee.

If the taxes have not been paid by June 30, when the fiscal year ends, the homeowner is charged a $15 redemption fee and the unpaid tax amount will begin to accrue interest.

That’s the bad news. The good news is seizing and selling homes just adds to their workload. They’d much rather give you help in the form of a payment plan. And even if you don’t make payments, your home won’t be subject to seizure by the county until taxes are 5 years past due.

So even though you don’t want to pay their high interest rate, if you don’t have the funds and don’t know if you’ll keep the house, just wait.

If you’re trying to keep your home and working on a loan modification, wait to see if it will become final. Once the loan modification is final (NOT in a trial period), then pay the back taxes as soon as you can in order to avoid the interest charges and late fees.

If you’re offering the house as a short sale, or if you’re letting it go to foreclosure or signing a deed-in-lieu, don’t worry about the property taxes at all. Save your money for moving expenses once the house is sold. The bank will be required to make this payment.

If you’re behind on home mortgage payments and you’re undecided about what to do… Call me.

I have the same software the bank uses to determine whether your loan modification request will even be considered. This can save you from months of waiting and wondering.

If you’re considering short selling, I’ll be glad to explain the process and answer any questions you might have.

I do strongly recommend that you choose a San Diego short sale over signing a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or doing nothing and waiting for a foreclosure. Either of those actions will put you at risk of a deficiency judgment if you have a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit. A short sale will prevent that risk.

In addition, a short sale is far less damaging financially, and will put you in a position to own a home again in two years, as opposed to 5 to 8 years with a foreclosure.

No two short sale situations are exactly alike. When you want advice that applies to your specific situation, call 619-929-1413 or write td@tomdunlap.com to request a no-obligation consultation.


Please note that the information provided on this short sale page is generic, academic information used for general information purposes and may not be construed as or relied upon as a promise for a specific outcome.

This site provides information about real estate, law, income taxes and credit scores as relates to borrowers in distress, short sales and similar situations. The site is designed to help users safely cope with their own needs. Information is not the same as advice — the application of law or regulations to an individual’s specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer, tax adviser or other specialist if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation. The models in photographs accompanying the testimonials on this website are used for illustrative purposes and are not a personal endorsement.