September 22, 2022
You can improve your chances of winning your next tax appeal – and save thousands of dollars in property taxes – by arming yourself with a good appraisal.
Most tax appeals for homes revolve around whether your home is assessed higher than similar homes in your neighborhood. But there’s another big opportunity to lower property taxes many people miss: when the Assessor has valued your home more than what it’s worth. In those cases, an appraisal can give you the evidence you need to win your appeal, reduce your taxes and save you thousands of dollars in property taxes.
Here’s how it works.
The Assessor’s job is to value your home at what it’s worth – we call that market value.
No one today knows what your home will sell for tomorrow. As a result, market value is an opinion rather than a fact. Opinions of value often differ. And this creates a big opportunity for you.
You can save tax dollars by proving your home is worth less than what the Assessor says it is. You do that by filing a tax appeal with a solid appraisal. And while an appraisal will cost you money, you can cut your tax bill a lot and save much more than you spend.
Why do value opinions differ?
A few reasons:
Reason #1 – The Assessor knows little about your home
The Assessor knows where your home is located and what it looks like but little about the interior features (like the number of bathrooms, fireplaces, garage spaces, etc.) and condition (like when it was last remodeled).
That makes it hard for the Assessor to really know what your home is worth, but that gives you an advantage since you – and your appraiser – will have much better information than the Assessor.
Reason #2 – The Assessor doesn’t spend enough time to develop a good opinion of value
The Cook County Assessor must value 1.7 million parcels of property with a small staff sitting in an office using computers. You might call this valuing from the cloud. This is not a great way to accurately value property. It’s more of a guesstimate.
Valuing real estate takes hard work and boots on the ground. It takes an experienced real estate professional to inspect your home and similar homes that sold recently. Only then can you come up with a solid opinion of value.
Given the limitations that the Assessor’s staff works under, it’s not surprising their values can be off by so much.
When you hire an appraiser, you will once again have the advantage. Your appraiser will put boots on the ground, inspect your home, speak with local real estate brokers and write a report with a believable opinion. This means you will likely have the best evidence of value, which should give you the winning edge in your tax appeal.
Using an appraisal to win and save money!
In a tax appeal, you must prove your case. It’s your evidence against the Assessor’s and your evidence must be stronger than his. The Assessor’s evidence is often weak, and his opinion not well supported. If you submit a good appraisal, you should meet your burden of proof and stand a great chance of winning your case.
You can get a lot of bang for your appraisal buck. You can use an appraisal for appeals to the Assessor, Board of Review and the Property Tax Appeal Board. And you can use it all three years of your triennial (3-year) assessment period.
If you play your cards right, you can save much more in taxes than you will spend on an appraisal.
The team at Elliott & Associates has helped our clients save over $300 million in property taxes since 1995.
Please feel free to contact us if we can help you.
 Market value is what your home would sell for after being listed with a realtor and sold to a party unrelated to you, where the sale is not a foreclosure or short sale.