Tag Archives: property tax reduction

Property Tax Appeal Expertise that Adds Up


When it comes to finding the right property tax appeal service, expertise can make all the difference.

One former Kensington client learned that all too well.

The client owned a home in Lake View Township valued at $1.3 million. Over a four-year period beginning in 2014, we used our proprietary algorithm and a team of experienced analysts to help the homeowner make the strongest possible case for reducing the assessed value of their home.

The result was property tax savings of $16,475.80 over four years – an average of $4,118.95 per year.

But when an acquaintance referred the homeowner to one of our competitors in 2018, the client decided to give the new company a try. The competitor managed to achieve savings of about $500. Spread out over the next three years, the reduction in their assessment will yield roughly $166 in savings per year.
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5 Great Ways to Put Property Tax Savings Back into Your Property Value

When you make a successful argument for reducing your property tax assessment, your tax bill gets smaller and you pay less, potentially for up to three years.

You’ve helped protect the value of your most important investment and you’ve got money you can spend to make your home worth even more. Just how far can you stretch the value of a successful property tax appeal?

Reinvest your property tax savings into the right home improvement efforts and deliver additional ROI to the value of your home. Here are five projects experts say can deliver the biggest returns.
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Property Tax Breaks and Incentives for Some Leave Others Paying More

Rubber stamp with word exempt inside vector illustrationThe pressures facing taxing authorities in Chicago and in Cook County are unlikely to change any time soon. But paying all the taxes needed to close the budget gaps and meet all of those pension obligations is a constantly shifting process. A tax break in one place means some other place will be expected to make up the difference.

That’s the zero-sum nature of tax collection in an environment where budget cutting isn’t a practical or political option.
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Why Do So Many Cook County Homeowners Fail to Appeal Even When the Assessor Recommends It?

Cook County Property Tax Appeal "Rough Draft"Every three years, Cook County homeowners get re-assessed. Since the Great Recession is over, property taxes are dramatically increasing to pay for unfunded pensions and the Chicago Public Schools shortfall.

Did you know that your last assessment was a “rough draft” and that, if you didn’t appeal, you will probably pay a lot more than your fair share because you didn’t do what Cook County requires you to do to ensure a fair assessment?

This comes straight from the Cook County Assessor’s Office.

The “Rough Draft” of Your Home’s Re-Assessment

According to Tom Shaer of the Cook County Assessor’s Office, as reported in the recent Crain’s article by Dennis Rodkin, “The first reassessment homeowners get is essentially a rough draft, meant to be tailored via an appeal. The appeal process is part of turning macro-data that comes from a computerized system into sophisticated micro-data that reflects the individual nature of each property.”

Don’t Believe It?

Perhaps because we assist with appealing Cook County homeowners’ property tax assessments, you may think we are making too big a deal out of this. If so, how about this from Fran Sitkiewicz, the Riverside Township Assessor: “The assessment feels like something you have control over. So you appeal it. Homeowners don’t want to get caught paying any more in taxes than they have to.”

What happens if you don’t appeal? A flawed assessment of your home may stay in place and you may pay more – possibly hundreds or thousands more – if you don’t appeal.

We think you should pay property taxes – just not more than your fair share and an appeal is the only way to ensure fairness, which is what the Cook County Assessor’s Office has been saying for years.

The Kensington Numbers: Only a Tiny Fraction of Homeowners Appeal

According to what is reported in Mr. Rodkin’s article and our comprehensive Cook County homeowner data that we’ve acquired and honed for many years, we’ve learned the following:

  • Emilio Cundari from Cicero Township says 850 homeowners went to his office to appeal. We’ve conducted an analysis with our algorithm on all single family homes in Cicero Township (14,497) and estimate that 5,999 of them are significantly over assessed. Though some will appeal online or use a third-party service like Kensington, many more simply live with being over-assessed.
  • Robert Maloney from Palos Township says they handled 1,200 appeals in their office. There are 20,435 single family homes in Palos Township of which we estimate 6,154 are significantly over assessed.
  • Since the Assessor’s office has stated that their reassessment process is merely a “rough draft” there does not appear, in our professional opinion, to be nearly enough appeals being filed to correct/reflect the “individual nature of each property.”

Have You Heard from Kensington Yet?

We pre-qualify everyone we contact about a possible property tax appeal so, if you’ve heard from us, it is our professional opinion that your property’s valuation falls in that group of homes that we feel is over assessed and whose valuation should be “tailored via an appeal.”

If you haven’t heard from us, we can conduct a free, no-obligation property tax reduction estimate. We only suggest appealing based on what we estimate from our proprietary algorithm, and only if it’s a significant savings.

Appealing is the only way you can save hundreds or thousands in the future and to ensure the “final draft” of your property assessment has you paying the right amount.

Get Your Free Property Tax Reduction Estimate

Cook County Board of Review Annual Report

Cook County Board of Review Annual Report 2015

The Cook County Board of Review annual report for 2015 is out and contains some interesting statistics:

  • 61.6% of Board of Review property tax appeals were successful: see graphic below and compare with our 90% success rate
  • 319,500 appeals were filed
  • 86% were filed online (how many of these are leaving money on the table?)
  • 2014 tax year marks the fourth time since tax year 1977 that the second installment tax bills have been mailed out on time
  • There are 1.8 million property parcels in Cook County and 5.2 million residents

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Property Taxes Got You Down? Do What the Politicians Do…

Chicago Aldermen Appeal Cook County Property TaxesJust in the past year, Rahm Emanuel has increased property taxes by an ulcer-inducing $838 million – and there are still massive budget deficits that need to be plugged sooner than later beyond these increases. What can you do for relief?

Simply put, do what the politicians do: appeal your property taxes. Some may think this is evidence of corruption but it’s not: it’s 100% legal, and it works.

Read on to find out why it’s time to stop paying more than your fair share by taking a page from The Machine’s playbook.
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Even Celebrities & CEOs Struggle with Escalating Property Taxes

Even Celebrities & CEOs Struggle with Escalating Property TaxesAre you still recovering from receiving the second installment of your Cook County property tax bill? If so, you’re not alone.

Even celebrities and business executives are struggling with their property tax bills, some of which have increased well over 100%.

They may be able to pay, but everyone is feeling the pain. Consider the examples below and remember: the only way to reduce your property taxes is to appeal them.
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Last Chance to Appeal Your Cook County Property Taxes for 2015

Cook County Property Tax Appeal

Give yourself a holiday gift in the form of a property tax reduction that can amount to hundreds or thousands per year, every year.

You still have time to appeal your property tax assessment if you live in one of the Cook County townships listed below – even if you’ve already appealed at the Cook County Assessor’s Office. However, the Board of Review windows are about to close for good for 2015.

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Congrats on Your New Home: Now Get Your Property Tax Reduction

Cook County New Home Buyer Property Tax ReductionCongratulations on your new home. What could be a better housewarming present than a property tax reduction that could save you thousands per year?

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, upgrading from a condo to a single-family home or relocating to Cook County, you’re entitled to appeal your property taxes twice a year: once at the Cook County Assessor’s Office and once at the Cook County Board of Review.

We recommend that you appeal at both, every year. Like many of our clients, you may see an annual reduction from $1,500 to $15,000 per year.

How Property Tax Reductions Work

When your purchase price is lower than your assessed value, we can make a compelling case for a successful appeal. Kensington Research has access to the purchase price and assessed value for every home in Cook County, so we can quickly identify discrepancies.

However, that is not the only grounds for a successful appeal. Our proprietary property tax reduction algorithm identifies other discrepancies and unclaimed exemptions that can result in a compelling reduction.

Property Tax Reduction Timing

If you bought (or are planning to buy) a new home in Cook County during 2015, you can start off the new year right by first appealing at the Cook County Assessor’s Office in early 2016, which starts opening townships for appeal in January. Then you can also appeal at the Board of Review starting in September.

Estimate Your 2016 Property Tax Reduction Now

We can provide you with a free estimate today for how much you can expect for a property tax reduction so you can plan for next year. It just takes a few minutes by phone. Then, when the Cook County assessor opens up the property tax appeal window for your township, we’ll notify you to begin the process and there are no up-front costs to you.

We only get paid if you see a reduction, so we only appeal cases we believe we can win so we don’t waste your time or ours, and we’ve got the experience of working on over 10,000 successful property tax appeals in Cook County.

Don’t Mistake Property Taxes as a Fixed Cost

Your mortgage payment is high enough. You don’t have to pay more than your fair share of property taxes on top of that and, if you don’t appeal, there is an extremely high likelihood that you will do so.

Get your free property tax appeal reduction estimate today

Cook County Condo Association Property Tax Appeals

Cook County Condo Property Tax AppealIf you own a condominium in Cook County, you’re entitled to appeal your property taxes with the Assessor’s Office and Board of Review just like any other homeowner. However, there are a few key differences and best practices that will help you ensure a maximum property tax reduction.

Agreement Approval

Condo property tax appeals generally need to be done on behalf of the condo association. An officer of the homeowner’s association needs to commission the appeal, with either the condo board’s approval by a 2/3 vote, or by the vote of a majority of the unit owners, in order to move forward with an appeal.

Condo Property Tax Appeal Best Practices

As for homeowners, the following property tax appeal practices apply in order to receive a maximum reduction:

Kensington Research has helped achieve tax relief for over 10,000 condo and homeowners in Cook County since 1999.

Contact us today to learn more about appealing your condo property taxes