You’ve just bought your Chicagoland dream home. You’ve got the right number of bedrooms, the perfect parking setup, you’re walking distance to public transportation, and all of the negotiations went off without a hitch.

Now comes the fun part – getting a handle on your property taxes.

For first time homeowners, taking responsibility for your property taxes can be one of the biggest transitions from renting. And while the property tax process can be a little convoluted and daunting, there’s no reason to fear – Real Group is here!

Buying or selling a home in Cook County, Illinois? Curious about what’s going to happen to your property taxes because of the sale? Here are the broad strokes of what you need to know:

How Do I Pay Property Taxes In Cook County?

In Cook County, homeowners pay their property taxes "in arrears,” which means that you are responsible for paying the tax that accrued on your property during the previous calendar year. (So, for instance, in 2017, you will pay 2016’s taxes; in 2018, you’re paying for 2017, and so on.)

Worried About a Small Space? Max It Out With Great Design

People who move to Chicago for the first time often find themselves taken aback by the sheer variety of housing available. From spacious single family homes to cozy condos, from gleaming skyscrapers to humble two-flats, there’s a home for every taste and budget in the city.

But, for many, that dream home isn’t always easy to find – particularly when it comes to finding the ideal size. Plenty of Chicago homes offer gorgeous finishes, a convenient location, or top-of-the-line amenities – if you’re willing to settle for a little less space in some rooms.

But a home with a few particularly snug spaces doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker! In fact, there are countless tricks that you can use to make a small or awkward room feel bigger, brighter, and more inviting, without shelling out big bucks for renovations.

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Hiring a real estate professional you trust is no easy feat. Even asking friends and family for recommendations can leave you with a list of 20+ names. Where do you go from there?

Narrowing down the list can be a challenge, but it is a necessary process. Your real estate agent performs all negotiations on your behalf. You want an experienced and respected negotiator on your side, who similarly is able to articulate the process for you and thoroughly answer any questions you have.

Your vetting process can easily help determine these. Before you shake hands and start signing paperwork, ask your prospective agent these seven questions.

1. How long have you been in the real estate business, and how frequently do you conduct business?

You may be able to glean this information from websites like Zillow or from your prospective agent's website, but this is important information to know. Work with an agent with full-time experience upward of a year.

We emphasize full-time, as many agents can hold on to a license without much real-world experience. Valuable real estate experience is only earned through actual transactions and activity in the field. Don't put your transaction in the hands of "part-time" or "occasional" agents.

According to NerdWallet’s “Down Payment Reality Report,” a staggering 44% of potential homebuyers see “a lack of down payment savings” as their biggest stumbling block when it comes to purchasing a home.

This is huge – and it reflects just how much the down payment means to the home buying process. In a lot of ways, your down payment is closely connected to your purchasing power in the short term, and the total amount you will pay over the long. It’s also tied to your mortgage loan in a few crucial ways.

For all these reasons, it’s important that you get your down payment right. So why are there so many myths and misconceptions out there, pointing would-be buyers in the wrong direction?

Ready to approach this important home buying step with greater peace of mind? Let’s break down five common, scary, and totally misleading myths about down payments:

1.) “You Have to Have a 20% Down Payment”

For years and years, a 20% down payment was considered to be the gold standard when purchasing a home.

Real Group Real Estate

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