Everything you should know about your Kane County Tax Bill

Everything you should know about your Kane County Tax Bill

When it comes to issues with local real estate, one of the hardest things for people to understand is the property tax billing process. In Illinois, our property tax bills are billed in arrears. For instance, if you owned property in the year 2016, you will be paying the real estate tax bill for 2016 in 2017. Whenever I am with my clients at the closing table, I understand this is one of the most confusing aspects of the transaction, and I make sure to explain and answer every question regarding the property taxes. When I am reviewing real estate closing statements prepared by other attorneys, the real estate tax proration is the biggest mistake I find. If you do not have an attorney who handles real estate transactions regularly, it can cost you. How does the county figure the value of your property? The Illinois state property tax code requires that your property-assessed value should be about one-third fair market value of the property (based on sales from the previous three years of surrounding properties). What can you do to lower your tax bill? There are a few exemptions that are available if the property is the principal residence of the owner. Available exemptions include: General Homestead Exemption, Senior Citizen Exemption, Senior Citizen Freeze, Home Improvement Exemption, Persons with Disabilities Exemption, Veterans with Disabilities Exemption, and Returning Veterans Exemption. Each exemption has its own qualifications so please visit KaneCountyAssessments.org/exemptions.htm for further information. Need a copy of your tax bill? Visit KaneCountyTreasurer.org How can you pay your tax bill? Most individuals have their tax payments rolled into their mortgage...
Top five reasons why your real estate appraisal could come in low.

Top five reasons why your real estate appraisal could come in low.

If you are in the process of buying a home, I am sure there are a lot of unanswered questions you have. One such question is: will the home appraise out? Everyone on both sides of the transaction wants the home to appraise out for what was offered on the contract, but what happens when it doesn’t appraise out? There are ways to deal with a low appraisal – but only if you know why it happened.   Below are the top five reasons why a home might not appraise out. There isn’t enough data on sales of similar homes in the neighborhood. If the home is in an area where the house might be one of a kind or has different features of other houses, the appraiser might have to have a larger search area to find similar houses that have sold in the last six months. If that is the case, the appraiser is comparing different neighborhoods as well, which could be a huge factor. Does the home have a large beautiful basement? Unfortunately, appraisers use much lower to value per square foot for space below ground. Although this might be a big selling point, in the eyes of the appraiser it could be different. A pool or professionally landscaping are attractive features, but they don’t lead to a much higher valuation on appraisals. Although these homes will have a slightly higher price tag than a home without those features, it won’t be worth what the actually cost of them to be put in is. Home prices in the area are increasing so quickly the comps are not...
What is the attorney review period for a real estate transaction?

What is the attorney review period for a real estate transaction?

When you are buying real estate you have to sign a contract. Once the contract is signed by the seller time becomes of the essence. People believe that once you sign a real estate contract, everything in the contract is final. That is not true. Although I tell my clients to let me know before they sign a contact, the fact of the matter is, once you sign a real estate contract an attorney has five business days for a “review period” and to propose modifications. During the review period the attorney reviews the contract, makes sure all the appropriate signatures and initials are in the proper places, and verifies the contract states what was intended. If the contract does not state what you wanted, it may be cancelled. Also, during this time period, you (the buyer) should get an inspection on the real estate. Once we have the inspection report, we will review the inspection and use that report to ask the seller to fix any items that are covered. If you are unable to get an inspector out within five days, I am able to ask for an extension of the review period. As long as you have something scheduled, asking for an extension should not be a problem. In summary, once you sign a real estate contract you still have time to change the contract if you are within the attorney review period. When considering whether to sign a contract, please get a copy over to my office as soon as possible....
What’s the difference between an owner’s title policy and a lender’s title policy?

What’s the difference between an owner’s title policy and a lender’s title policy?

As we sit down on closing day to go through all of your real estate documents, you will notice on your closing statement that you are being charged for one of two different types of title insurance. Depending on whether you are the seller or the buyer you will be charged either owner’s title insurance or lender’s title insurance (presuming it is not a cash transaction). What is the difference and why do you have to pay for them? Owner’s title insurance, often called an Owner’s policy, is a one time flat fee that the seller pays to the title insurance company for the benefit of the buyer. The title company is where the closing takes place. Although it is only a one-time payment, the insurance policy actually lasts as long as the buyer owns the property. The buyer will receive the owner’s title insurance policy for the amount of the sale price after the closing and it will list all of the benefits and restrictions of the policy. As a buyer you should keep this document in a safe place. This insurance policy is to protect you from a third party later claiming some type of interest in the property. Should this happen, contact a real estate attorney immediately to file a claim for you against your title insurance policy. Lender’s title insurance, also known as a loan policy, is based on the actual dollar amount on the loan. As a buyer, your lender will require you purchase a title insurance policy to protect the lender from potential claims of prior third parties that may be senior to...
What is a mechanic lien on a house?

What is a mechanic lien on a house?

If you are trying to buy or sell a house that has a mechanic lien on the property, it must be taken care of (released by the lien holder) before any change of ownership can take place. In real estate terms, a mechanic lien, or a construction lien, is a security interest in the title of property. If a subcontractor, architect, plumber, etc. does work on a piece of property and were never paid, they will file a lien in the county where the property is located against the particular property. One important thing to know about mechanic liens: If you hire a general contractor to do work on your house and the general contractor hired a subcontractor and did not pay him for the job performed, the subcontractor can file a lien against your property and the home owner will be responsible for paying it before it will be released. Some tips to avoid mechanic liens Keep all receipts and paperwork from the contractor Get a lien waiver Pay with joint checks Pay subcontractors yourself The best defense against a lien on your house is to avoid it at all costs. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you need a lien released, please contact us to help you determine the best course of action for your...
How is money disbursed at a real estate closing?

How is money disbursed at a real estate closing?

Two common questions I get from my real estate clients who are selling property are: how and when do I get my money? In Illinois we make sure all parties to the transaction (buyer & seller) are safely covered with title insurance.   Title insurance protects the homebuyer and his lender from the possibility that the seller doesn’t – or previous sellers didn’t – have free and clear ownership of the property and are thus unable to transfer full title ownership to you. In order to obtain title insurance you must have your closing at a title insurance agency office where the policy is provided. The title insurance company has an interest in making sure the closing is handled correctly. Therefore, the title insurance agency conducts the closing. One of the benefits of using the title insurance company is that the title insurance agency acts as the “middle man” for the transaction and collects all of the monies from the buyer and lender. Once all of the money has cleared, the title company then disburses checks to all parties that need to be paid to complete the deal. In most transactions, checks will be given to the real estate agents, real estate attorneys, and the seller’s lender and/or lien holders. Any remaining proceeds are disbursed directly to the...