Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms Common to Property Assessment in Illinois

Ad Valorem: According to Value.  An Ad Valorem tax is a tax levied according to the value of the property.

Appraisal: A supportable estimate of value (in real estate) of property.

Arms-Length Transaction: A transaction between unrelated parties.

Assessment: As applied to property taxes, the official act of discovering, listing and valuing property for ad valorem tax purposes.

Fair Cash (or Market) Value: The most probable price of a property in terms of money that a willing and knowledgeable buyer would give to a willing and knowledgeable seller, given sufficient time on the open market and assuming an arms-length transaction with no duress.

Legal Description: a statement that serves to identify the location and boundaries of a parcel of land.

Mass Appraisal: Process of valuing a large group of similar properties by employing a common reference for data, allowing for statistical testing.

Median: The middle number in a list of ranked numbers arranged in ascending or descending order.  In the state of Illinois (excluding Cook County), the median level of assessment is 33.33% or 1/3 of Fair Market Value.

Neighborhood: An area that has a direct influence on value, i.e. groups of similar land uses with similar desirability.

Personal Property: Those items not permanently affixed to the real estate.

Real Estate:
Property which includes land and all the structures affixed to the land, including various gas, coal, oil, mineral and other rights.

Real Property: The sum of all the tangible and intangible rights in the land and improvements.  It refers to the interest, benefits and rights inherent in property ownership.

Sales Comparison:
An appraisal method wherein the appraiser searches the market for selling prices of similar properties, and then, through the use of comparison and adjustments, estimates the value of the subject property.

Township Multiplier: a factor, derived from a sales ratio study, applied township wide to bring the median level of assessments overall to 33.33% of Fair Market Value.

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