Schaller’s Pump: A Cook County Property Tax Cautionary Tale

Cook County Property Taxes & Schaller's PumpUp until April 29, 2017, Schaller’s Pump had been the oldest continuously run Chicago tavern, having survived Prohibition, the Great Depression, two world wars, and the Great Recession, until Cook County property taxes put it out of business.

What can Schaller’s Pump teach homeowners about property taxes? Simply this: before you buy a home, be sure to understand its history of property taxes, exemptions and property tax appeals.

What Happened to Schaller’s Pump?

The bar’s longtime manager and owner, Jack Schaller, died in May 2016 at age 92. He owned the two story building that housed the bar and an apartment upstairs where he lived until his passing. He paid zero property taxes because he was a veteran and a senior, which qualified him for the homeowner, senior, senior freeze, and returning veterans property tax exemptions that saved him at least $25,000 in property taxes over the last four years, according to Chicago City Wire.

Jack’s daughter inherited the bar and did not qualify for any of those exemptions, meaning that she would have to pay property taxes on the property for the first time since anyone could remember. While this year’s tax bill wasn’t enormous, the $6,129 owed was more than what Jack’s daughter wanted to pay, so she shut the bar.

Buying a Home in Cook County? Be Prepared…

In addition to determining how much your mortgage payments will be with principal and interest, you’ll want to factor in the cost of your property taxes and it’s more complex than just reviewing the home’s property tax history (how to do so is detailed here). You’ll need to understand two things:

  1. Exemptions: what exemptions did the previous homeowner claim, for which of those do you qualify and, if there is at least one you do not qualify for, you need to consult with a property tax expert to determine how much additional tax you will have to pay
  2. Property Tax Appeals: if there haven’t been any appeals in the last three years or if the appeal granted was under $1,000, it’s possible you may be paying more than your fair share (and a successful appeal could offset any hit you take with exemptions that you don’t qualify for)

The Property Tax Appeal Experts

We can help you understand the impact of exemptions and how much could be saved with a successful property tax appeal. It all starts with a free property tax appeal.

Get Your Free Property Tax Reduction Estimate

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