Friday, March 30, 2018

Learn Cook County real estate taxes with Attorney Patrick J. Loftus

Our most trusted real estate attorney sent along this primer on Cook County real estate taxes.  Enjoy!

Patrick J. Loftus, LoftusLaw, LLC
520 S. State St., Unit 1206

Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 773-632-8330
Fax: 773-634-8911

Real estate taxes are confusing. Let's say that you are filling out an offer for your client, and you get to the real estate tax proration section. Do you fill in 105%, 110%, is there a senior exemption or freeze? Maybe you just put "tbd" and leave it for the attorneys to figure out. Whatever you decide, how do you know you got it right? How do you explain it to the client?

Step 1 - Get the info. Say what you will about Cook County and the way it's run, one thing they do fairly well is their websites. Take the Property's PIN and head over to There you will find out the critical stats, such as tax amount, number of exemptions, assessed value, tax rate, etc. One exemption probably means that the property just has the homeowner exemption. Two means homeowner and senior. Three means homeowner, senior and senior freeze. This is crucial info for your client, because they need to know if the taxes are going to skyrocket after they buy the property.

Step 2 - Get the latest assessment info. Over the past 3 years, the triennial assessment has been an unpleasant surprise for a lot of Cook County property owners. This year, the south suburbs will be experiencing tax bill sticker shock. It is the City's turn next year.  The Cook County Assessor's website publishes the proposed assessed valuations.  Head over there with your PIN and see whether your property will increase and by how much. If you notice the assessment is increasing by 25%, you will want to put 125% for that tax proration. And your client will love your for protecting them!

Step 3 - Read the Assessor's general guide on property taxes. Look, I know this stuff is brutally boring, but it's super useful. And if you get to the bottom, there is a handy formula for calculating a tax bill. It goes something like this (with links to where you can find these figures with the PIN):

1.) Assessed Value (AV) multiplied by the State Equalizer (EQ), which will give your the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV)
2.) From there, subtract the applicable Exemptions (homeowner exemption has been increased to $10,000)
3.) Multiply the last number by the applicable * Tax Rate.

I will use my home as an example:

1.) AV: 28,181 * EQ: 2.7455 = 77,370.9355 (EAV)
2.) EAV: 77,370.9355 - 7,000 (HO exemption) =  70,370.9355
3.) 70,370.9355 * 7.145% (the tax rate for my place) = $5,028.00

Got it?  Simple right?  Well maybe not, but star this email and come back to it when you need to take a deep dive into real estate taxes.

If you are in a suburban county, things are done a bit differently (of course they are). However, in the collar counties, the (rather high) tax bills don't typically increase as dramatically as Cook, so this is not nearly the issue that it is in Cook.

Still confused?  That's ok!  Feel free to click below to ask me for help!  I am always available as a resource to my agents.  I want to help you look like a real estate tax expert to your clients.
Help Me With Real Estate Taxes

Happy to help.

Call me at 773-632-8330 or email me for help on this or any other real estate matter. And as always, I am honored by, and look forward to your referrals!

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