Purchasing a home can be exciting and a little frightening. Despite careful budgeting and planning, there is always the fear that an unexpected expense will make residential real estate ownership a struggle, perhaps jeopardizing the owner’s ability to keep up with mortgage payments and other costs. One woman in a town south of Chicago was shocked when just such an expense arose. However, the seemingly underhanded manner in which she accrued the expense may be a cautionary tale for others.
The woman purchased a home in 2014 and moved in with her seven children. All seemed well until her property tax bill arrived, and she realized her house straddled two separate plots of land. Synergy Property Holdings, LLC, the company that sold her the house, did not disclose that the house held two property index numbers, one for each lot, a questionable practice known as PIN slamming. Synergy insisted they had no legal obligation to disclose the second PIN.
Because she was unaware that she owned two lots, the homeowner unknowingly failed to pay taxes for that second plot for the past three years. She suddenly owed over $6,700 in property taxes and was told to expect to pay taxes on both lots as long as she owns the house. When local media heard of the situation, their investigation prompted the county to consolidate the properties into one.
When purchasing residential real estate in Chicago, it is difficult to predict when conflicts or difficulties will arise. Home buyers often find that having a legal advocate to represent their cause makes it more likely that a positive resolution will be found. Laws regarding disclosure can be tricky to negotiate, and an experienced real estate attorney can provide a decided advantage.
Source: abc7chicago.com, “PIN slamming can double property tax bills“, Jason Knowles and Ann Pistone, July 27, 2017