Frequently asked questions
- When will the next application round open?
- Why is it taking longer to close the current round?
- How does the City communicate with applicants?
- How will applications be evaluated?
- How many times can I apply?
- What happens if the same lot is applied for by different people/organizations?
- Where can I get help in filling out my application?
- Are there any closing costs?
- How much in property taxes will I pay?
- Will I have to pay back taxes?
- What can I do with the lot after I purchase it?
- What defines a block?
- How do I download my recorded deed from the Cook County Recorder of Deeds?
- Handouts and flyers
When will the next application round open?
The City of Chicago is still processing nearly 700 Large Lots applications that City Council approved from the 2018 fall application round. A new application round is expected to open sometime after the current inventory of approved sales are closed later in 2020.
Why is it taking longer to close the current round?
The City’s closing process was modified to ensure all land sales, including $1 Lots, be disclosed with all City environmental records and a search of historic land uses associated with the property. Large Lot closings are occurring as the environmental screens are completed.
How does the City communicate with applicants?
Email is the primary form of communication used by the Large Lot Program. Applicants must provide an email address in order to apply. Information regarding application status will be sent to applicants via the email address they provided. You will receive a confirmation email once your application has been submitted.
How will applications be evaluated?
The main point of evaluation is to assess the completeness of the application and proof of ownership.
The City mainly denies applications for the following reasons:
- No deed provided and proof of ownership could not be located
- Name on deed does not match the name of applicant
- Applicant does not own property on the Large Lot definition of “block”
- Chicago City Council does not support the sale of the lot
- Applicant failed to submit an EDS
- Applicant has outstanding debt to the City
- Applicant lost the lottery
How many times can I apply?
Only one application will be accepted per property deed. If you own multiple properties in the pilot area, you can submit one application per property. If you have a deed with multiple grantors listed, only one application can be submitted.
What happens if the same lot is applied for by different people/organizations?
If there are multiple applications for the same lot, owners of adjacent properties will take priority. In the case of a tie, the City will host an in-person lottery to determine the chosen applicant.
Where can I get help in filling out my application?
Read more about this program on the City of Chicago website. Direct questions to the Chicago Department of Planning and Development:
Assistance is also available from the City’s ambassador organizations:
Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council
1751 W. 47th Street, 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60609
815 W 63rd St #2
Chicago, IL 60621
New Covenant Community Development
Corporation 1111 South Homan Ave
Chicago, IL 60624
Greater Westside Community Development Corporation
15th Ward West Englewood Office
6412 S Ashland
Chicago, IL 60636
Are there any closing costs?
Yes, there are closing costs associated with purchasing the property from the City of Chicago. The Cook County Recorder of Deeds charges approximately $60.00 for the recording of the deed.
How much in property taxes will I pay?
The amount of yearly property tax you will pay is determined by the Cook County Assessor and based on the assessed value of the property and the tax rates for all local governments providing services in your community.
This is not an estimate of your future taxes. It is only meant to provide a sense of what the property taxes are on vacant lots. Here are the taxes paid for a few vacant lots sold by the City of Chicago:
|Address||Neighborhood||2017 taxes||Assessed value||Sq ft|
|5938 W IOWA ST||Austin||$674.77||$3,369.00||4,493|
|3459 W FULTON ST||East Garfield Park||$1,105.62||$5,520.00||5,258|
|5014 S Laflin||Greater Englewood||$361.25||$1,792.00||2,987|
|5006 S MICHIGAN AVE||Greater Englewood||$1,585.12||$7,914.00||5,653|
Will I have to pay back taxes?
No you will not. When the lot is sold, no unpaid taxes by the previous owner will be transferred to you.
What can I do with the lot after I purchase it?
You must maintain the lot in accordance with the City of Chicago Municipal Code. See the sections on weeds, lot maintenance and fences:
- 7-28-120 Weeds – Penalty for violation – Abatement – Lien.
- 7-28-740 Lot maintenance – Required.
- 7-28-750 Noncombustible screen fence required – Nuisance declared when.
Additionally, lots purchased from the Large Lot Program are all zoned Residential, meaning you may build on the lot as long as its in accordance with the City of Chicago Zoning Ordinance on Residential lots. Generally speaking, you may build a house or apartment building, but stores, offices, and factories are not allowed.
What defines a block?
Property owners can purchase a city-owned lot:
- On their side of the street
- Across the street
- Across the alley behind their property
How do I download my deed from the Cook County Recorder of Deeds?
The Cook County Recorder of Deeds holds records of property ownership. If your deed was dated before 1985, you will need to pick up your deed in person at 118 N Clark St and then scan or take a picture of it.
If your deed is from after 1985, you can download a scanned version of your property deed by following these steps:
1. Create an account on the Cook County Recorder of Deeds website
2. Search records by address, PIN, or name
Visit the search portal. Enter the address of the property you own, and click PIN-ADDRESS QUICK SEARCH. Alternatively, you can scroll down to the ADVANCED DOCUMENT SEARCH and search by PIN, address, name, and other attributes. You will see a list of various records associated with your search query.
3. Preview your deed and add it to your cart
Find your deed in the results, and click SHOW DOC. This directs you to a preview page. When ready, you can add the deed to your cart by clicking "Add To Cart." Careful! LargeLots applicants must submit a deed, not a mortgage - please select the correct document.
4. Finalize your order
Click "View Cart," and follow the steps to purchase your deed document.
Handouts and flyers
Learn more about the Large Lot Program! Browse our handouts, and feel free to download, print, and share them.
The University of Illinois is studying the Large Lot Program. Preliminary findings show, in part, that the purchase of lots can strengthen community bonds. Read some of the study highlights.
City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development has a one page handout with details on the Large Lot Program.
If you have questions about the LargeLots.org website, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org