Home Equity Assurance Program

Below you will find information pertaining to the Home Equity Assurance Program. This program was the original program that was established according to State Law.

How can I sign up for the program?

Fill out an application and pay your one-time fee of $150.00 for a single or two-flat; $175.00 for a three- or four-flat; or $225.00 for a five- or six-flat. The Registration fee covers the cost of the appraisal that will establish your guaranteed value. If you have a complete appraisal report (within 6 months), this appraisal can be submitted, and with Home Equity approval, you can join the program with no registration fee. Call the office for complete details.

When am I eligible to receive benefits?

You’re covered for any depreciation in the value of your home as soon as you register. However, Home Equity is designed for people who want to stay in the neighborhood, so you must be registered in the program for a full five years before you can file a claim to compensate you for your home’s depreciation.

How do I obtain benefits?

First, file a “Notice of Intent to Sell” when planning to put your property on the market. To qualify for benefits, the member must file the “Notice of Intent to Sell” 5 or more years after the registration date, at which time Home Equity will provide an appraisal (free of charge!) to determine a reasonable selling price. You may then list the guaranteed property with a real estate broker of your choice for up to 90 days following the listing date. During the listing period the member will forward all offers by registered mail or personal delivery to the Governing Commission.

If an offer is received that is less than the guaranteed value, the Governing Commission shall, within 3 working days, approve the offer and guarantee payment of the difference, or reject the offer instructing the member to continue showing the property until 60 days are completed. Any payments will be made after title to the property has passed to the purchaser.

If I sign up for this program, will it cause an increase in my tax assessment?

No. The appraisal you receive is confidential and the data will not be released to the Cook County Assessor.

How soon will my property be appraised?

An appraiser will contact you for an appointment approximately four weeks from the date of registration. After the Home Equity office has received the appraisal, you will be notified to appear in person to receive your copy along with a certificate of participation in the program.

What if I’m unhappy with the amount of my appraisal?

If a member disagrees with the guaranteed value established by the appraiser, a written appeal must be submitted to the Governing Commission within 30 days. The Governing Commission has 30 days to respond. If the member and Governing Commission are still not in agreement, the member has an additional 30 days to submit a written request for arbitration. 

All requests for arbitration shall be settled in accordance with the Real Estate Valuation Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association. The determination made in arbitration shall be final and binding on the member, the Governing Commission and any other party.

Can my property be reappraised in the future?

Yes. You can have your house reappraised every 5th anniversary of registration. The cost of a home improvement appraisal is one half of the current registration fee. Home Equity will pay for the other half of the appraisal. Your new guaranteed value will be applied five years from the date of reappraisal.

Can I sell my home before the five-year period?

Yes. Your home is your property and can be sold at any time. However, you must be in the program five years to file a claim.

If I sell my property, is my Home Equity membership transferable to the new owner?

No. The new owner can apply and receive a new guaranteed value that will be in effect five years from the date of enrollment.

If I should die, will my beneficiaries or estate still be covered by this program?

Yes. Benefits are paid to beneficiaries provided they apply for benefits within two years of the death of a Northwest Home Equity Assurance Program member. They must also comply with other provisions of the law, such as property maintenance.

How is this program funded?

The Northwest Home Equity Assurance Program is financed by an annual levy of not more than .12% of the total equalized assessed valuation on all single- through six-unit residential properties within the Northwest Home Equity District. The only  precincts taxed are those involved in the Program—and those precincts voted overwhelmingly to participate.

Does Home Equity coverage apply to declining real estate rates due to an economic recession or depression?

A program created under this Act provides a guarantee only against specifically local housing market conditions within the territory of the program as they may differ from municipal, regional, or national housing conditions. A program shall not provide relief from adverse municipal-wide, regional or national housing market conditions as they may affect local housing conditions. A program shall not guarantee against a decline in the value of housing due to economic forces such as a national, regional or municipal recession or depression. In the event of a regional decline in the value of housing in the municipal, regional or national housing markets, the governing commission may temporarily suspend coverage under the program in order to protect the fiscal integrity of the guarantee fund. For the purposes of this Section, a regional decline in the value of housing is defined as a 5% annual decline in the median value of existing houses in any 12-month period for the nation, Midwest region, State of Illinois or municipality in which the program is located, according to statistics published by the National Association of Realtors.