Monthly Archives: January 2015

Property Tax Game

Property Taxes in Illinois are no bargain…we all know that. When you are buying a house, property taxes in cook county and property taxes in will county are a big factor, but maybe not the only factor. If you qualify for a $200k home a $1,200 higher tax bill each year can make your qualification to $180k. So for $100 more each month in taxes, you can get $20k less home. High property taxes were a significant cause of short sales and foreclosures in Illinois in the past few years. Here are a few things you need to know when it comes to property taxes and buying a home in will county and buying a home in cook county.

Property taxes are based on the assessed value made by the assessor derived from the market value compared to non-distressed comparable properties in the area. Property taxes in Cook County are assessed on 10% of the assessed value of the home. Property taxes in Will County are assessed on 30% of the assessed value of the home.

So why are property taxes in Cook County and property taxes in Will County so different from home to home or town to town? The biggest variance in property taxes in Cook county and property taxes in Will county are from two things.

Schools are the first difference. Schools comprise 70-80% of your tax bill. Mainly that is why property taxes in Illinois are so much higher than other states. Since the burden of the majority of the school budget is on property taxes in Illinois, the budgetary needs of the schools and the values of the homes in the district (more value, more taxes) greatly affect the school budget and sometimes the quality and ranking of the school district. The amount of commercial or industry contributing to taxes without any burden on schools also helps reduce taxes.

The other difference is the town tax rate. Many municipalities in Cook County and some municipalities in Will County are “home rule”. That means they do not have to follow state or county limitations on the tax rate. Basically, they can charge whatever they want in taxes.

When you are buying a home in will county or buying a home in cook county, here is what you look for with property taxes in cook county and property taxes in will county….

What are the real property taxes for the last year? Don’t rely on what the MLS says for that. Vacant properties especially are notorious for inaccurate information on the MLS. Go to the property records. You can find on www.cookcountytreasurer.com or wwww.willcountytreasurer.com. You can use the PIN property identification number for the property or sometimes the address and find out what the real taxes are, what exemptions are on the house and what is the assessed value of the home.

Depending on the exemptions, if there is no homestead (homeowner) exemption, the property taxes in cook county and property taxes in will county should go down for the exemption, if you can file for the exemption within the first month or so of the year. If there is a senior, veteran or disability exemption and you do not qualify for that, the taxes will go up.

The same thing with the assessed value. The assessed value of the house determines the taxes. If the home is assessed lower than what you pay for it. The property taxes in will county and property taxes in cook county will go up. If you buy it for less than the assessed value, you have a chance to reduce the taxes by appealing the assessed value. Distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) will usually not factor in the value appeal. You will have to formally file an appeal. CAUTION….this can only be done for a very short time each year. Will county property tax appeals typically allow 1 month where Cook County property tax appeals give 2-4 weeks. If you don’t file the appeal during that period, it will not be accepted. You need to watch the assessor’s websites at www.willcountyassessor.com and www.cookcountyassessor.com for dates, forms and requirements.

When you are buying a home in will county or buying a home in cook county, property taxes in will county and property taxes in cook county are factors in your decision. But keep one thing in mind. Very often, the reasons you may like the area are reasons that the same reason the taxes are high – good schools, good property values, not as much commercial or industry, etc. Keep that in mind. It may be a compromise that you are willing to make. Also, in some areas, the taxes are higher, but the prices may be lower, so often that can work in your favor to buy something at a lower rate.