10 Things to Know When Buying a Home in Evanston, IL
Evanston is a popular choice for many people buying a home. Evanston is attractive to buyers because of the tree-lined streets, vibrant entertainment/restaurant district, beautiful shoreline, excellent schools, and close proximity to Chicago. If you decide to purchase in Evanston, here are a few things that a Chicago Real Estate Attorney thinks you should know:
1. There is no buyer’s transfer tax. In most municipalities, the buyer pays a transfer tax based on the purchase price. In Chicago, for a $300,000.00 purchase, the buyer’s transfer tax would be $2,250.00. In Evanston, buyers don’t pay a transfer tax, so you will not have to spend an additional amount in your closing costs.
2. If you are purchasing a rehabbed or remodeled property, make sure that all permits have been properly applied for. While this is important when buying a property anywhere, Evanston is especially vigilant in looking for building code violations. I know of a property that was listed for sale as 3 bathrooms, but it was only permitted as 2 baths. The inspector saw the listing, checked the records, and the property received a litany of violations (not just limited to the unpermitted bathroom).
3. You need a pass or a token to use the beaches. While the beach/lakefront is one of the big draws of Evanston, to visit the beach, you need either a token or a pass. Yes, you have to pay for them, but the fee is discounted for Evanston residents. It’s free to visit the parks and trails adjacent to the beach.
4. The property taxes are less than other suburbs. A lot of people think that Evanston taxes are very high, but compared to the Cook County’s south suburbs, the taxes are very reasonable. A $300,000 home in Evanston might have a $5,000 yearly property tax bill. The same property in Country Club Hills, IL might have a property tax bill of $9,000.
5. Side streets receive street cleaning and snow plowing. Most municipalities in Cook County only plow main streets. In Evanston, once the main streets are plowed, the side streets get the same treatment. Also, street cleaning is done on a regular schedule. Other municipalities only street clean when residents complain or when the sewers get backed up with leaves. Because Evanston provides these services, you have to be mindful of the street parking signs in your immediate area to avoid getting a ticket or towed.
6. Dogs and cats have to be registered in Evanston. All dogs and cats have to be registered with Evanston. If you fail to do so, the ticket costs more than the registration. Having your pet registered also helps in the return of your animal to you if you lose it.
7. If your vehicle is registered in Evanston, you have to pay a wheel tax. There is no longer a vehicle sticker required in Evanston, but there is a wheel tax for all vehicles. Failure to pay the wheel tax will subject your vehicle to being ticketed.
8. Peoples Gas is not available in Evanston. If you want natural gas service to your home, you have to contact Nicor. Nicor services areas outside of Chicago. Don’t worry, ComEd still provides electric service in Evanston.
9. Evanston is very diverse. Almost every nationality can be found living in Evanston. In addition to racial diversity, there is also socio-economic diversity.
10. Sump pumps are common. In some communities, only homes with flooding issues have sump pumps. In Evanston, you shouldn’t be scared of a home just because it has a sump pump. Many homes were built with sump pumps in the original plans—other homes have added them later. Ask the homeowner about water infiltration and make sure you do a home inspection.
If you have any questions please contact us today at the Law Office of Ranj Mohip.
By Ranj Mohip