“We purchased our 1,000-square-foot home in Lake County in 2016, and the property taxes were about $2,500. The next year it jumped to $4,500, and we were short about $3,000 in escrow payments so we decided to refinance our mortgage. In 2021, it jumped again to $6,700, and to $7,000 in 2021.”

“It’s a huge burden as a homeowner to wonder constantly, ‘How much more am I going to expect as an increase in my monthly payment?’”

“About 19 line items make up my tax bill – municipalities and their pensions. Eleven taxing bodies drive our taxes. Neighboring counties usually have eight to 10 line items on their tax bill.”

“We love where we live, not because of the municipal services, but because we grew up here and our families are here. We’re on the edge of selling and moving to a different community or a different township or a different county that has less government bodies that are funded by property taxes. That means going over the border right now to Wisconsin or potentially going to McHenry County in an unincorporated area.”

“As far as the professional side as a Realtor, my clients and I’m sure most Realtors’ clients, purchase homes in Lake County based on what they can afford monthly. That includes principal, interest, property taxes and insurance. Outside of Illinois and maybe even outside of Lake County, home buyers shop based on price point: they don’t have to worry about the varying property tax burden from one town to the next.”

“In Lake County, property tax amount is major driving factor in affordability and a buyer’s decision on purchasing a home.”

“A client could tell me, ‘I’m looking for $250,000 to $300,000 house,’ but that doesn’t really equate to a home search because they can look at one community and that $250,000 house has $10,00-$12,000 in property taxes versus $7,000 in property tax on a similar house in a different community. That is a substantial difference in monthly payments – $250 to $450 a month.”

“In the community I live in, Grayslake, it’s not uncommon to see $11,000 or $12,000 [in property taxes] for a 2,000-square-foot home.”

“Every client is aware of the high property taxes. They basically accept the reality and are hopeless of any change or relief. They don’t understand how we pay this much in property taxes or how the local governments can justify them.”

“I never have clients purchase because of the services that the municipalities offer, except schools.”

“One result I see because of the high property taxes is a stagnation of value. The homes just don’t increase in value like they do around the country.”

“When a buyer focuses on their monthly payment affordability, and they’re looking at $10,000 in property taxes yearly, it becomes hard for those homes to increase in value. When monthly budgets remain the same, but taxes increase, home values can not increase.”

“When you look around the country in areas that have low property taxes, the home values are actually higher for similar or smaller homes, and they continue to increase in value because the tax burden on monthly payments is so low.”

“The home my parents bought in Lake County is worth about what they paid for it in 2005, and their property taxes are about $4,000 higher than when they purchased. The same homes worth $250,000 here could be worth $450,000 just over the border in southern Wisconsin.”

“High and growing property taxes here tend to depress home values.”

“I’m used to a business where I’m helping clients sell their starter home or their forever home, and buy their move-up home or down-size home. The last nine months have been the most odd as far as the amount of people selling their home and not buying, which means they’re selling and leaving for other states.”

“I see a lot of people moving to Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Colorado. That’s been happening over the last, really, five years but really accelerated recently.”

“I know that politicians say residents leave because of the weather, but nobody ever tells me weather is the main driving factor to leave. Typically it comes down to, ‘I’m going somewhere with lower taxation,’ ‘Where my money will go farther,’ ‘Going somewhere with growth opportunities as far as employment,’ ‘Less corruption.’”

“It’s never about the weather.”

Andrew Carlin
Real estate agent
Grayslake, Illinois