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McHenry County Real Estate Lawyers

Why Your Real Estate Assessment Matters

A staple of the American dream is the ownership of property. Whether it is the dream home that you have always wanted, or purchasing a plot of land to retire on later, owning property can be one of the most fulfilling aspects of life. Purchasing property without the guidance of an experienced real estate lawyer, however, could result in unintended adverse consequences with long-term effects . From the moment you sign a contract, all the way through closing, having the advice of an experienced attorney is imperative.

What Is a Real Estate Assessment?

A real estate assessment is the process by which the government values your property and the land that it sits on. Township tax assessors calculate this value using recent sale prices of comparable homes in your neighborhood or community and the equalization rate in your area. The equalization rate is the ratio of assessment value to the market value of your property. The government calculates the assessment value. Conversely, the market value is the price a buyer in a given market would likely pay for a particular property.

Why Is a Property Assessment Done?

A property assessment is used by the local government to determine how much you owe the government in taxes for owning your property. In short, the assessment determines what your property taxes will be. As a rule of thumb, in this area the rate is commonly set between 2% and 4% of your home's assessment.

Understanding and tracking your property assessment may seem unimportant; however, it can have a sizable effect on how much money you pay in property taxes. For example, if the prices of the homes comparable to yours have steadily dropped since you bought your property you could be paying too much in property taxes. If you are paying too much, you may consider appealing your assessment to reduce your property taxes.

Why Do You Have to Pay Property Taxes?

Property taxes are an inescapable reality of owning real estate. Property taxes are earmarked for local government and social services in your community. For example, your property taxes can be allocated to:

  • Public schools in your neighborhood
  • Maintenance of public roads
  • Parks
  • Libraries
  • Police
  • City snow plowing

Throughout the State of Illinois, real estate taxes are paid one year in arrears. In other words, property taxes attributable for the previous year are due in the current year. They are collected twice each year. Depending on the type of mortgage you have, your property taxes may be built into your escrow account with your lender.

Is a Property Assessment the Same as an Appraisal?

A property assessment is not the same thing as an appraisal. Your property assessment is calculated by your local government and is a valuation for the purposes of determining taxes. An appraisal, however, determines the fair market value of your property. The value is calculated using factors such as:

  • Comparable sale prices of homes in your community
  • The condition of the property
  • The location of the property
  • The size of the property
  • The number of rooms in the property
  • The style of construction

If you are purchasing a property, the appraised value will be a significant factor used by your lender to determine how much money it is willing to loan to you. You may appeal an appraisal value and you may have more than one survey completed.

Do I Need a Real Estate Lawyer?

If you currently contemplating or already in the process of purchasing real estate, you will want an experienced attorney to help you understand each step of the process. The law firm of Botto Gilbert Lancaster, P.C. has been assisting clients in Illinois for over 30 years. Our Real Estate Practice Group currently has four attorneys who represent clients in real estate matters. In addition, we have a full support staff, including an experienced and dedicated real estate paralegal. This structure enables us to provide an exceptional level of service to our clients. Contact our Crystal Lake office at 815-338-3838 to schedule your free consultation today.

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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