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Publication: A Quick Tip to Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment

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  • by KMRLaw

Publication in The Chicago Defender: A Quick Tip to Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment
For most homeowners, the monthly mortgage payment includes the portion allocated to paying back the principal and interest of the loan, as well as a portion allocated to maintaining the escrow account (out of which the property taxes and mortgage insurance premium are paid). By lowering the amount due to Cook County for property taxes, a homeowner can lower the monthly amount due to the lender.
The fact that homeowners are able to file an appeal with the Cook County Assessor’s office in order to contest their tax assessment is common knowledge. However, The Board of Review is another avenue for taxpayers to contest an assessment that they believe to be incorrect or unjust. Oddly enough, though The Board of Review grants more tax reductions, it is not as widely known.
The Board of Review has the power to modify or confirm any assessment, in whole or in part, as justice will require. Residential property owners do not need an attorney to appeal their assessments; if you are appealing your own condominium, small apartment building or mixed-use building, you may represent yourself.* Additionally, there is no filing fee at The Board; therefore the entire process is free.
The most common cause for a residential tax reduction is lack of uniformity. In the event that there are properties in your neighborhood with similar characteristics but lower tax assessments, your property is eligible for a reduction. Homeowners can use the database on The Cook County Assessor’s website to search for properties to use as evidence. Homeowners must merely submit a complaint form (available at Board of Review offices), along with evidence to support the appeal to The Board of Review within the time period allotted for each specific township. Taxpayers that appeal at the Board of Review have a right to a hearing; however, if nothing additional needs to be added to their appeal, they do not need a hearing, and can be notified by mail of the results.
The entire process takes approximately 8 to 10 weeks, from filing the appeal to notification of the result. If a reduction is granted, the taxpayer will see the change reflected on the next tax bill received (the amount due for that installment will be lower than the previous installment). At that point, the homeowner can notify his or her lender so that a change in the required monthly escrow payment can be made.
For more information, contact The Board of Review.
118 N. Clark Street, Room 601, Chicago, Illinois 60602.
(312) 603-5542
*Assessment appeals on behalf of condominium associations or corporations, and appeals for commercial properties must be filed by an attorney.
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