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from Local Attorney, Michael H. Wasserman

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cook County Property Taxes - (stuff they dont want you to know)

A last minute reminder that 2010 1st Installment Cook County property tax bills are due tomorrow, April 1st. Starting Saturday, delinquent taxpayers will have to pay a 1.5% late charge for each month they are late.

Of all the nuances in my work helping buyers and seller close their real estate transactions, few facets of the process cause as much confusion as Cook County property taxes. There are a great many reasons for this, but on the bottom line, it is just darn messed up.

The property tax system pits citizen tax payers against citizen consumers of governmental services. We want the good services and benefits our State, County, and City...but we would like them a whole lot better if someone else would pay for them.

Carrie Porter over at the Morton Grove Patch is running a week long series on the Cook County property tax system. I highly recommend taking a look at her reports:

  1. A video explaining the basic computation of property tax bills
  2. A look at the extra burden our tax system places on business owners. (You think your residential bill is unreasonable?)
  3. An explanation of how / why owners of neighboring houses of the same relative value can pay radically different tax bills
  4. A fascinating peak at the way local governmental units work together to fight back against property owner tax appeals
It ain't pretty folks, but it is uniquely ours 



Thursday, March 17, 2011

MAYOR DALEY PROPOSES TIF FINANCING FOR SOME DISTRESSED PROPERTIES

Lets see how City Council reacts on this one, but the Mayor introduced a pretty interesting little ordinance that might be a real boon to first time area home buyers willing to buy and rehabilitate some bank-owned properties.

Progress Illinois reports that the mayor's bill, introduced on March 9:


"seeks to tackle the growing problem of vacant homes that are blighting neighborhoods across Chicago, and in particular in minority communities.
Called the Vacant Building TIF Purchase and Rehabilitation Ordinance, the bill (PDF) proposes allowing residents with a household income no greater than 100 percent of the regional median income to apply for a tax increment financing (TIF) grant that would pay for up to 25 percent of the cost of purchasing and rehabilitating an empty residential property. Single-family empty homes or units in condo and cooperative buildings with four units or fewer are eligible. The empty homes must be located in a TIF district and must be in need of at least $25,000 in fix-up costs, the proposal states. Homebuyers would be required to live in the property they are purchasing and fixing up and must be first-time purchasers. The full city council would have to approve each and every grant.
"We needed to incentivize a way to get these vacant buildngs back into productive use," said Department of Housing and Economic Development spokeswoman Molly Sullivan. "We have a huge amount of vacant buildings and most of them are from foreclosures."
According to the Woodstock Institute, banks filed 23,364 foreclosure cases (PDF) against Chicago mortgage holders in 2010, up 3 percent versus 2009. And while 10,569 properties completed the foreclosure process last year, there are an increasing number of vacant, deteriorating homes in the city that have gone into foreclosure but have not emerged from it with any clear outcome".
Could this really work to encourage buyers to start returning  abandoned / foreclosed properties back to life?