Housing News: Honey Do Lists, and Property Tax Info

Put It On the ‘Honey Do’ List

By Chanelle Rogers

Fall is here and winter is on its heels! Sure you’ve got your porch lined with carefully carved pumpkins and someone — I’m not saying who — is lugging cornucopias and fragile, little metallic balls from the basement like he works in the stockroom of a department store. But all that pretty prep will go to pot if you don’t protect your home from the cold weather.

There are three key areas to focus on to ensure a warm winter and cozy holidays:

Don’t let those pipes freeze! Pipes in exterior walls can freeze easily and the worst holiday intrusion is a busted pipe. Talk to a professional plumber about insulating pipes and other ways to prevent freezing or other winter woes.

Keep the warm air in and the cold air out! Save your money for holiday presents not heating bills! Change the filter in your furnace; repair and replace any failing caulk or weather stripping; have the chimney cleaned; and change the direction of your ceiling fans to clockwise.

Fortify the exterior! Free your gutters and downspouts of debris and leaves and trim any trees to save yourself the headache of water damage and leaks. Also, as roofers prepare for their slow season, they’ll have time to come inspect your roof for cracks and repair any damage that could pose a problem over the winter.

The winter prep ‘Honey-Do’ list is long, but adding these few tasks will give you peace of mind as you focus on the bigger things like massive dinners and presents, oh and spending time with family.

 

Don’t Lose Your Property Due to Delinquent Taxes

Every year, hundreds of properties in Cook County are lost by homeowners to so-called “tax scavengers,” who buy houses at auction when the owner fails to pay property taxes. Often, homeowners are caught off guard, having missed their property tax bill in the mail or because they failed to keep up with confusing paperwork.

“Too often, homeowners find themselves in crisis because they didn’t realize their property taxes went unpaid,” said State Sen. Bill Cunningham. “Senior citizens are most susceptible to this problem because their mortgages are more likely to be paid off, so a bank is no longer ensuring the taxes are being paid through an escrow account.”

In Sen. Cunningham’s district alone, 6,211 property owners are past due on their property taxes, according to records maintained by the Cook County Treasurer’s Office.

“If you don’t know your status, please check with the Cook County Treasurer’s Office,” said Cunningham. “This is an easy problem to avoid with a quick phone call or by spending some time on the treasurer’s website.”

The County Treasurer can be reached at 312-443-5100 or at cookcountytreasurer.com.