Property owners in River Forest Township received assessment notices from my office. As your Cook County assessor, I’d like to explain what this means.

We reassess one-third of Cook County each year. We last assessed River Forest in 2020 and must do so again this year. By law, assessments are based on market value. Our algorithmic model used the more than 600 homes that were sold in River Forest during the last three years to value your property, which considered location, square footage, and other factors.

The median sale price for a single-family home in River Forest during the last reassessment was $632K. Last year, the median sale price rose to $733K.

Using this data, we estimate the median market value for a single-family home is $752K. Price levels vary significantly within each neighborhood.

With your reassessment notice in hand, look at the top right corner to see the value placed on your property. Then, under “current characteristics,” find your neighborhood. Visit the assessor’s website to learn more and look at your neighborhood to see recent sales and assessments.

If the characteristics listed are incorrect, or if you think your property was over-assessed, consider filing an appeal by May 30. Appeals are free and can be filed online.

We also reassess commercial properties, which are mostly retail and office space in River Forest. The income commercial properties generate drives their valuation. Assessments incorporate a property’s use, estimated income, market-level vacancy, and expenses. On our website, owners can locate their property on a worksheet that contains the assumptions we used.

If your assessment changes by a certain amount, does that also mean your tax bill will change by the same amount? No. Here’s why: the total amount of property taxes collected in River Forest is predetermined by taxing bodies (schools, village, Cook County, and so on).

Your property’s share of the equalized assessed value in each taxing district basically determines your share of the tax levied by that unit of government. So, if your assessment goes up, while everyone else’s assessment also goes up, your share of the property taxes levied in River Forest may change by a much smaller amount.

How are things looking in River Forest? Assessed value is up 32%, to $70M. Appeals will reduce this number. Appeals compared to the prior reassessment year have declined for four consecutive years now, but it’s hard to estimate the impact of appeals in any single year.

The picture further changes as the Cook County Board of Review also revises assessments through appeals. Also, our local taxing bodies will decide how much to levy next year. This will affect your tax bill in 2024.

To explain more about property assessments and appeals, the Assessor’s Office and River Forest Township Assessor Pamela Kende held a virtual workshop on May 22 and in-person on May 23 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the River Forest Community Center.

More information can be found here:

Fritz Kaegi, an Oak Park resident, is the Cook County assessor.

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