In anything, the more you know the more likely you are to make the right decision, or maybe lessen the effects of making the wrong one.
In commercial real estate, knowing the costs associated with operating a real estate investment will insure you are not overpaying in the beginning, and maximizing cash flow throughout ownership. Knowing how to manage the second biggest expense item after the mortgage payment can make or break your investment return.
That second biggest expense item is your real estate tax bill, and it pretty much works like your home. The process begins with understanding your assessment and the time and date you are able to make a formal protest of your assessment. Note, you can only protest your assessment, not your tax rate. Protesting a tax rate is really a lesson in civics, which I will skip for now.
A great start and source for understanding that assessment in DuPage and Will counties are the following web links:
Will County – www.willcountysoa.com/search_address.aspx
DuPage County – www.dupageco.org/PropertyInfo/PropertyLookup.aspx
Using this powerful information, you can determine not only what your assessment is, but also the assessment of like kind properties in your area. This concept, called “Uniformity” is the basis for discussing your assessment with the assessor, and in most instances, it is wise to hire an attorney to assist and argue your position.
But the basics are very simple. Look up your property, compare the assessment of a similar property, making economic adjustments to the overall value. Things like specific orientation, construction type, proximity to amenities, etc.
A lot goes into your assessment, and it might be wise to understand as much as possible before you just pay the bill, even if it is the investment in your own home.