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Most mortgage lenders require you to pay into an escrow account, and the lender, through its servicer, then pays your property taxes and insurance from that escrow account. Even if there is not enough in your escrow account, the servicer will typically pay your property taxes. You could eventually face foreclosure on your mortgage loan if you do not pay what you owe into your escrow account. Your servicer will usually do the same even if you do not have an escrow account—in that case, you face foreclosure if you do not repay the servicer for the taxes it has paid for you.

On the other hand, if you own your home free and clear of a mortgage, then you are responsible for paying the property taxes on your home. Failure to do so could eventually lead to a “tax taking” of your home and the eventual loss of your ownership of your home. This chapter examines ways to reduce the size of your property taxes and also how to respond to a potential tax sale of your home.