Chicago Homeowners Might Be Able to Lower Property Taxes with Assessment Appeal

Maybe you can't lower your mortgage - but what about your property taxes?

As much as 60 percent of homeowners are paying thousands more in property taxes than they need to, according to Why? Their property taxes are being assessed based on the value of their home before the housing bubble burst.

Property taxes are typically reassessed every 3-5 years. If 2007 was the peak of the market, that means you might still have a couple years to go - and counties are dragging their feet on the reassessment process because, let's face it, they could use the extra money.

But you don't have to wait for the county. You might be able to lower your taxes - and thus increase your income - with an appeal.

You have the right to challenge the amount of your property taxes by filling out the appeal form at your county assessor's office. Of course, there is no guarantee you'll get a tax reduction, even if you deserve one - only 20 to 40 percent of appeals are successful. But considering that preparing and arguing an appeal takes a few hours at most and could save you thousands of dollars, 40 percent is enough to be worth a shot.

Lowering property taxes is like getting an automatic raise. You can decide to save that extra money, or use it for gas, groceries, bills or paying down debt. Speaking of debt, there's another way to give yourself a raise. When you start paying off your balance, the amount of interest you owe will go down as well - so you'll owe less and less with each payment until one day you're no longer in debt.

If you can't increase your monthly payments because money is too tight, bankruptcy might be able to give you some leeway. Find out for free if you can lower debt payments - or even discharge your debt - with a bankruptcy plan. Just sign up for a no-cost personal debt analysis with a Chicago bankruptcy attorney. Unlike refinancing your mortgage or reassessing property taxes, you don't have to wait for anyone's approval to pay down your debt - and ultimately put more money in your pockets. So why not get started today?

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