Do You Appeal Your Property Taxes?

Illinois is a unique place from a tax perspective. Each of the 1.8M parcels of land is reassessed every three years. This year is a reassessment year and the state is expected to increase assessed values to correspond with the increased property values that have occurred over the past few years. Most of my clients don't realize that they can (and should) appeal their property taxes. Chicago's property taxes are paid in arrears, therefore, most residents don't realize their property taxes have been increased until it is too late to appeal.  Below are a few highlights you should know about Chicago property taxes and how you can ensure you don't pay more than your fair share.

  • Everyone should be appealing. Property taxes are calculated using a complex formula that is based on the total revenue needed in the city budget.  If you aren't appealing your property taxes you will bear the tax burden of the people who have successfully appealed their property taxes.
  • Property values are reassessed every three years. 2018 is a reassessment year so you will not see the tax increase until the 2019 bill.  However, you will receive a mailer stating that your property has been reassessed. Be on the lookout for that document in the upcoming weeks. 
  • You have a short window to appeal your taxes. Click the link below to find out when the deadline is for your zone. (Cook County Assessor)
  • Your taxes can't be increased due to an appeal

If you've never filed a property tax appeal and want help you can contact Myer Blank and his firm can assist you in appealing your property taxes.

Myer Blank
Fisk Kart Katz & Regan, LTD

Common Mistakes When Selling Property

Most people only sell property every 4-7 years. Below are 5 common mistakes I see people make when they are trying to sell their property.

Pre-Inspect Your Property

The inspection process is where you lose most of your leverage in a transaction. Inspections are not cheap but they help you net the maximum amount for your property. If you know the issues your buyers are going to find it gives you the ability to get out in front of them and fix them before you go under contract. Buyers normally ask for 2-3x the amount it will cost you to fix inspection items. Fix them when you find them and you'll help maximize your sale. 

Finishes Matter

People buy finishes. Not all finishes require a lot of time and money. The best bang for your buck is paint and refinishing floors. Look to a qualified interior designer to help you pick finishes that buyers are looking for while working within your budget. Other items that offer significant returns are new hardware on cabinetry and tile backsplashes.

Lighting Upgrades

Many people are looking for good light in units. If you have developer fixtures or older lighting, replace a few key fixtures with unique pieces that help differentiate your property. Also, consider replacing older bulbs with new LED bulbs. They offer more light and offer significant savings from incandescent bulbs.

Details Matter

If your wall plates have yellowed replace them. Buyers use the condition of minor items as a proxy for overall care for your property. Remember you only get 1 opportunity to make an impression. 

Smart Homes Sell

The Nest thermostat and other smart home items not only set the tone for your home but buyers are looking for these 21st century luxuries. Nest and other smart home products are now heavily subsidized by ComEd. See the link here to find out which products are discounted through their program. 

What Upgrades Help Sell a Home?

Everyone wants to get top dollar for their house when they sell it. If you ask someone selling a car what they do before they sell it most will tell you they have it detailed. This is no different when trying to sell a house. But where do you spend your money to maximize your investment? Preparing your property for sale will help you get the best price for your home but it will also help you decrease the time it takes to sell your home which saves you time, money and stress.


The kitchen is considered the heart of the home. For a few hundred dollars you can replace the kitchen faucet set, add new cabinet door handles and update old lighting fixtures with brighter more energy efficient ones. If you have a slightly larger budget you can refinish your cabinets to make them look even better.


Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are often the most important rooms to update. They too can be improved without making a significant investment. Simple additions like a new toilet seat and a pedestal sink are easy for homeowners to install, and they make a big difference in the perceived value of a home.


New paint makes everything look clean and bright again. Make sure to choose neutral colors to help buyers envision themselves living in the space. You'd be surprised how many buyers remove properties from contention due to the color palette selected.