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Property Tax Appeal is a No-Lose Investment, Just Ask an Investor

Cook County Property Tax Appeals & Investor SavingsMaximizing the return on investment for a piece of real estate means keeping a close watch on your expenses.

That’s why Sam Sharp, executive vice president of a top 5 mortgage lender in Chicago and a residential property investor, knows better than to simply accept the initial valuation sent out by the Cook County Property Assessor.

Acting on this knowledge has saved him over $7,000 and, perhaps more importantly, a lot of time.
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How to Prepare for Mortgage Refinancing

how to prepare for mortgage refinancingWith rates bouncing into near historic lows, it might seem like a great time to look into mortgage refinancing. But with so much still unsettled in the economy and the coronavirus fallout still uncertain, experts expect rates – and processes – to fluctuate for weeks to come.

It’s a combination of factors that has left many lenders with a record number of re-finance applications and a diminished capacity for processing them. Lenders are taking two to three times longer to process loans, according to our mortgage expert.

At the same time, the mortgage secondary market – in which investors purchase packages of closed loans – is showing little interest in packages of loans with very low interest rates during a period of heightened economic risk.
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Reassessment Hikes Hit Some Evanston Homeowners Hard

Reassessment Hikes Hit Some Evanston Homeowners HardSome Evanston homeowners seeing the results of the recently completed property tax reassessment are reeling from increases of more than 50 percent, according to news reports.

The reassessment, while conducted under a formula tweaked by a new tax assessor working to revamp the much-criticized processes under his predecessor, is not expected to bring much good news to the county’s northernmost townships, particularly for homeowners along the lakefront.

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, who urged residents to appeal their assessments both to the assessor’s office and to the Cook County Board of Review, reported through his office that homeowners along the lake had median increases in assessed values of 50%, while those in Evanston’s south and southwest neighborhoods had median increases of between 6% and 9%.
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Could Being a “Sanctuary City” Increase Cook County Property Taxes?

Chicago & Cook County SanctuariesIn the US, a sanctuary city, county or state is one that limits cooperation with federal immigration officials regarding undocumented immigrants to help them avoid deportation.

This has recently drawn the ire of the Trump Administration, who has passed an executive order to withdraw federal funding for sanctuary cities.

This could amount to $27 billion of federal funding withdrawn from 106 sanctuary cities, according to a recent Forbes article.
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High Cost of Local Government Keeps Property Taxes High

Cook County Property Tax Appeals & High Cost of Local GovernmentMore than 140 Illinois local government employees earned more than the governor, according to an Open The Books analysis of 2017 Illinois local government payrolls.

From park district bosses who earn $239,000 a year to 89 small town and village administrators paid in excess of $190,000 a year – more than any governor in the United States – the organization identified a wide list of Illinois public employees whose compensation packages are generous, to say the least.

This is yet another reason why property taxes continue to increase, with appealing them as your only source of relief.
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Study: $2 Billion in Taxes Shifted as Result of Flawed Assessments

Cook County Property Tax Cost ShiftChicago property owners with homes whose values were over-assessed by the Cook County Assessors Office picked up the tab for homeowners with under-assessed homes, a new study suggests. And the tab? A whopping $2.2 billion between 2011 and 2015.

The study, conducted by the Municipal Finance Center at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public policy and reported by ProPublica Illinois, estimates that errors in the county’s tax assessment system led to the massive transfer of taxes onto hundreds of thousands of homeowners with the lowest-valued homes.
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Cook County Home & Land Assessments Increasing 17-25%+

Evanston Property Tax IncreasesSo far, three Cook County townships have been opened for property tax appeals that have been reassessed based on Cook County’s triennial assessment schedule: Evanston, New Trier and Barrington.

The median assessed values on homes (not on land – more on that later) has increased 17-25% in these three townships. That being the median, we’ve represented many homeowners from these townships that have seen 40% increases in assessed home values.
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Crain’s: Undervalued Commercial Buildings May Shift Tax Burden

Cook County Commercial Property Tax AppealsA Crain’s Chicago Business analysis found that the Cook County Assessor’s Office may have undervalued some of the city’s priciest, most iconic commercial buildings, raising more questions about the “accuracy and fairness of Cook County’s assessment process.”

The February 23 story compared recent sales prices of 50 of the county’s most expensive buildings to the taxable value set by the assessor’s office. The analysis found the average building assessed at about 46% of its selling price.

One example of these so-called “trophy” buildings is the Aon Center, an 83-story office tower near Chicago’s Millennium Park, which sold for $712 million 2015. The assessor’s office, Crain’s reported, valued the property at $356.4 million.
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Listening Tour a Chance to Question Cook County Assessor

Listening Tour A Chance to Question Cook County AssessorCook County property owners who have something they’d like to say to, or ask of newly-elected Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi will have their chance next month as part of his roll-out of a “listening tour.”

There will be six opportunities in April beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 6 in Palatine, according to a schedule released by the assessor’s office.

Additional events scheduled for April include stops in Schaumburg, Wilmette, Schiller Park and Chicago. Each event will run for 90 minutes and will also be attended by a member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

For a complete list of the events scheduled so far, click here.
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Appeal Deadlines Suspended as Cook Assessor’s Office Manages the COVID-19 Threat

Appeal Deadlines SuspendedWith health and safety as the primary concern at the moment, the Cook County Assessor’s Office has temporarily suspended the deadlines for appealing your property tax assessment and the physical office is temporarily closed to the public.

If you live in one of the nine townships where the appeals window was open as of March 19, that means you can still file an appeal online, and the processing of appeals will continue. Residential property owners can also file applications for any of the various exemptions online as well.

If you live in one of the townships where assessment notices have not yet gone out, new dates for your appeal window will be announced as soon as they are available.

Kensington Taxpayer Advocates are Available to Help

In the meantime, at Kensington, our appeals staff is working remotely and available to help you attempt to lower your assessment. We are processing applications using e-signatures so you will not have to leave the safety and comfort of your home to begin the process of reducing your property tax bill. We will email you all of the required documents and you can sign using a smartphone, tablet or personal computer.
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