Mortgage Blog

How to get a home loan

Jim Quist is the president and founder of NewCastle Home Loans. He has 20+ years of mortgage lending experience as a business owner, mortgage underwriter, and loan officer. Jim's goal is to help people buy homes.

Jim Quist is the president and founder of NewCastle Home Loans. He has 20+ years of mortgage lending experience as a business owner, mortgage underwriter, and loan officer. Jim's goal is to help people buy homes.

Get tax relief from the Cook County Homeowner Exemption

One of the woes of owning a home in Cook County is the property tax bill installments due every March and August. But there’s some good news - you might be able to qualify for a tax relief exemption.

The “homeowner exemption” (also known as “homestead exemption”) is a property tax relief for Cook County homeowners. Owners can save thousands of dollars by applying for this exemption. 

How do I qualify for the Cook County Homeowner Exemption?

You must live in the property, and the property must be one of the following types: 1-4 unit single family home; condo; townhome; PUD; apartment building (up to six units) or co-op . The tax exemption is annual and will be automatically renewed for properties that were not sold in the last year.

How does the exemption calculation work?

The calculation can seem a little complicated but is easy to break down.
Jonathan Sherry P.C., Chicago real estate attorney, explains, “Exemptions reduce the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) of your home, which is multiplied by the rate to determine your tax bill. Homeowner Exemption reduces the EAV of your home by $10,000 starting in the Tax Year 2018 and is payable in 2019.”



Estimated Market Value



Assessment Level (10%)



Proposed Assessed Valuation

X 2.6685


State Equalizer



Equalized Assessed Value



Homeowner Exemption



Adjusted Equalized Assessed Value



Sample Tax Rate (your tax rate could vary)



Estimated Tax Bill in dollars

“For the 2018 taxes payable in 2019, the homeowners exemption was $7,000. Based on the 2018 Chicago tax rate of 7.145%, that calculates to a yearly savings of $500.15,” says Sherry. “For 2019, the homeowner exemption increases to $10,000. Based in the 2018 tax rate in Chicago of 7.145%, that calculates to a yearly savings of $714.50.”


How do I apply?

Applying is easy. First, you need to do is download and fill out the Taxpayer Exemption Application here. Second, mail the application to the following address:

Cook County Assessor’s Office
118 North Clark Street, Room 320
Chicago, IL 60602

If you have a question, you can call 312-443-7550 to reach Cook County Assessor’s Office Taxpayer Services Department.

As of July 1, 2019, the Cook County Treasurer's Office announced Cook County taxpayers began receiving $24.6 million in property tax refunds. Nearly 25,000 homeowners who have second installment tax bills due Aug. 1 showing a zero balance will receive refunds between July 1 and Aug. 23. Most of the refunds will be issued without an application. To see if your property is included, visit their website, select the purple box "Your Property Overview," and enter your address.


Common “Homeowner Exemption” questions.

Q: What if I have been living in my property for a couple of years and never applied?

A:You will need to apply for the homeowner exemption. You can download the form at the Cook County Assessor website under “forms” > “exemption forms.”

Q: If I bought my property in June of 2018, can I apply for the homeowners exemption?

A: You will need to have occupied the residence as of January 1 of the tax year in question. You will be able to apply for the exemption as of January 1, 2019.

Q: I have a newly constructed property and just closed on my home on February 1, 2018. Can I still apply?

A: Yes, but the exemption will be prorated if you purchased a newly constructed home that was not ready for occupancy until after January 1 of the tax year in question.

Q: I don’t know my parcel identification number. How do I look that up?

A: There are several ways to obtain your pin (parcel identification number). You can look it up on the Cook County Treasurer website and search by your property address. You can also look up your deed, which will have you parcel identification number on it on the Cook County Recorder of Deeds website. If you still can’t locate your pin, you can dig up your documents from your closing.

Here is an easy to read document to help you understand your tax bill.

Other awesome exemptions for tax relief:

  • Longtime Homeowner Exemption (Cook County only)

If you have lived in your home from January 1, 2006 to January 1, 2016 and have a total household income under $100,000 and your property has an assessment increase that was significant enough to exceed the maximum accounts set by the state legislator, you can apply for this exemption. This exemption limits the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) of your home to a certain percentage and has no maximum exemption amount. Please note that this exemption only accounts for 2% of the Cook County residential homeowners. If you apply for this exemption and are denied, you will be eligible for the full benefits of the standard homeowner exemption.

  • Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption

If you are 65 or older beginning January 1 of the tax year you are applying for, you may apply for this exemption for extra tax relief. The Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption isn’t automatically renewed, and you must reapply every year.

  • Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Exemption

This puts a tax freeze on qualified senior citizen of the equalized assessed value of their properties which they live in. This doesn’t freeze your entire bill. It freezes the fixed amount, and the taxing district may change the amount of taxes which can change the tax bill.

  • Home Improvement Exemption

Have you recently renovated your home? This allows you to increase your property value up to $75,000 worth of improvements without increasing your home’s taxable market value for at least 4 years. Please note that normal upkeep of your property will not increase your value of your property under this home improvement exemption

  • Returning Veterans Exemption

Have you recently returned from active duty in an armed conflict involving the U.S. Armed Forces? This exemption offers a $5,000 reduction in the equalized assessed value of your property for properties owned and lived in buy the veteran  from January 1, 2016.

  • Disabled Persons Exemption

This is an annual exemption that offers a $2,000 reduction in the equalized assessed value of the owner occupied property for a person with a disability that is liable for property taxes. This exemption must be renewed annually.

  • Property tax appeal information

If your property taxes have increased, you can appeal them - but don’t do this alone. If you use an attorney who specializes in property tax appeals, you can win most of the time. Email or call Christopher Walsh at or 312-372-1155. He will start you on the right foot.   


Still have questions about Cook County homeowner exemptions?

Call the Cook County Assessor's Office at 312-443-7550. You will need your parcel identification number, which is located on your property tax bill.

In addition, if you're still early in the start of your home search, make sure to download our free guide for first-time home buyers. You'll learn insider advice from our team and how to close on a home 3x faster than other buyers.

Get our FREE First-time Home Buyer Guide!

You may also like:

Using Future Rental Income From Your Current Property to Buy a New Home

Having two homes doesn’t mean you have to qualify for two mortgages. Use your future rental income to offset costs on qualifying for a new home.

Can you refinance your current home before buying a new one?

Refinancing your current home before buying a new one can require some mortgage gymnastics. We'll need to look into DTIs, LTVs, and loan limits.

How to lock-in a low mortgage rate

This article answers: what is rate lock? How long is the rate lock period? How do I lock my mortgage rate? What if rates drop after I lock? Can I get an extension?