Video explains what you need to know about Chicago property tax increases

If you’ve seen your property tax bill in Chicago, no doubt you were not happy to see an average increase of 12 percent in what you have to pay.

Real Property Alliance, an Illinois REALTORS® foundation with a mission of educating consumers about private property rights, partnered with the Chicago Association of REALTORS® to produce a short video that explains the the increase, and outlines what options residents have to lower bills on future assessments.

RPA and the Chicago Association of REALTORS® are working together to make sure residents have as much information as possible to understand what they have to do in the face of the increases.

City residents got slapped with a $543 million tax levy increase in large part to fund police and fire pensions, in addition to a triennial reassessment.

Property owners have several options. They can check to see if they are getting the tax exemptions they qualify for, and they can file an appeal based on assessed values for properties that are similar to theirs. The appeals won’t do anything for the 2015 bills and most of the 2016 bills. But future bills could be lowered if an appeal is successful.

The video has the information, and even more in-depth coverage can be found at RPA’s website.

Illinois REALTORS® looking for volunteers for ombudsman program

Illinois REALTORS® who serve as ombudsmen met in Naperville June 1, 2016 to discuss the program and how it can best serve members and the public. Pictured here are front row (left to right) Illinois REALTORS® Rebecca Carraher, Bob Floss, Chris Read, Kim Noyes, Yvonne Seffer; back row, Terry Umecker, Wayne Paprocki, Ginger Westin, Georgia Pierini, Kim Trammel, Linda XXXX, Eleanor Nastepniak, Joan Sandrik, Debbie Hymen, Steve Hudson and Matt Difanis. Photo by Matt Difanis

Illinois REALTORS® has a team of ombudsmen who work to resolve disputes involving members and the public. Pictured here are front row (left to right) Illinois REALTORS® Rebecca Carraher,  and ombudsmen Bob Floss, Chris Read, Kim Noyes, Yvonne Seffer; back row, Terry Umecker, Wayne Paprocki, Ginger Westin, Georgia Pierini, Kim Trimmel, Linda Pilmer, Eleanor Nastepniak, Joan Sandrik, Debbie Hymen, Steve Hudson and Matt Difanis. (Photo by Matt Difanis)

Illinois REALTORS® for several years have operated an ombudsman program which acts as a first call for assistance when questions or disputes arise from real estate transactions.

The service is only available for those working with a REALTOR® in a transaction. The dispute-resolution service can be between a consumer and a REALTOR® or among the association’s members.

But to make it work, volunteers are needed who have a passion for working with the public and a knowledge of professional standards. You an apply by filling out this form by Oct. 15, 2016.

The program is a fast-growing component of the association’s Professional Standards effort, which works to make sure members uphold the highest standards and follow the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.

Here’s how it works.

  • A consumer or REALTOR® member fills out a form explaining the nature of their question or dispute.
  • Illinois REALTORS® assigns the case to an ombudsman.
  • The volunteer ombudsman works with the consumer or REALTOR® to resolve the dispute.

The program has had significant success in its first few years of operation. It allows REALTORS® a chance to solve problems before they become bigger issues, and it gives the public a neutral third-party professional to talk to. Many disputes actually just stem from miscommunication, and the ombudsman can serve a vital role in clarifying facts and processes.

Interested in the program but have questions? Call Becky Carraher at 217.391.4803.

Day three: Floor passes again!

 

Illinois REALTORS® Immediate Past President Jim Kinney on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. Photo: Greg St. Aubin

Illinois REALTORS® Immediate Past President Jim Kinney on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. Photo: Greg St. Aubin

Illinois REALTORS® in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention will get a great vantage point for tonight’s festivities featuring vice presidential nominee Mike Pence.

IMG_4448At every convention, there’s a bit of trading with various organizations to get passes. So far, Governmental Affairs Director Greg St. Aubin has scored delegate seating two nights out of the past three.

Illinois is toward the front of the delegate area in the Quicken Loans Center, just behind New Jersey. The arena can hold more than 20,000 people in some configurations.

Private transfer fees banned in Illinois

The use of private transfer fee covenants has been controversial from the start. The idea originated in California and started to spread, causing many states to preemptively ban their use. Illinois joined the ranks of 17 states late last month to outlaw most private transfer fees in Illinois.

Here’s how they work: Developers place transfer fee covenants on a residential property deed.  The covenant stipulates that whenever the property is sold to another party, a fee must be paid to the original developer who put the covenant in place. A property with a covenant may become stigmatized for resale and the transfer fee could complicate the overall closing process.

The Illinois Association of REALTORS® initiated and supported Senate Bill 3747, a measure that blocks the use of most private transfer fees in Illinois. Take a look at the video below for more details on the ban of private transfer fee covenants.

Single-homebuyer Savvy

Alongside the recent wave of first-time buyers (47% of buyers in 2009 according to the National Association of REALTORS®) also comes a trend in the number of single homebuyers and, in particular, single women buyers. NAR’s 2009 homebuyer profile found 21 percent of buyers nationwide were single women and 10 percent single men. The number of single women buyers is up from just 14% in 1995.

In an online exclusive in the July Illinois REALTOR® Magazine, Chicago REALTOR® Julie Woodward-Trenker, ABR, CRS, with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Lakeview says 60 percent of her business has evolved into singles over her 10 years in real estate (primarily single women) largely due to a niche she’s developed with first-time buyers.

Says Trenker: “There’s a lot to commend about women taking control of their own financial future, investing for themselves.”

Four years into his real estate career at Coldwell Banker Devonshire Realty in Peoria, REALTOR® Adam LaHood’s market has become 36 percent single buyers. He and partner Jim Gillespie have built a referral base from the area’s young engineers working at Caterpillar and doctors and nurses from the region’s many hospitals—mainly because they’re in a similar age group, same social scene and are connected via Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites.

“I think that unlike my father’s generation or people five and 10 years older than me, younger singles and younger married people are working to live rather than living to work,” says LaHood, age 34. “This factors into their desire for homes with outdoor living spaces, the ability to walk to bars and restaurants and specialty shopping.”

For more single buyer trends, check out a Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey that found over half (53 percent) of single homeowners reported that they purchased a home because it was more cost effective than renting in their area, and most single homeowners (52%) chose to buy in the suburbs versus the city or rural areas.