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Chicago Reporting FAQ

A list of some common questions that you may have while getting started reporting in Chicago and my best stab at answering them.
FYI that photo is of Jackson + Wells (where BGA's office is) from 1911! ⤴️


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DISCLAIMER: By no means are my solutions the only way to find the answers to these questions, and there’s a very solid chance that some of this may be out of date. If you spot anything that should be corrected or could be improved, please let me know!! but hopefully they point you in the right direction.


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How do I
look up property records
in Chicago?

To look up property records in Chicago, you need to go to the Cook County Clerk’s website. It’s a little wonky and annoying to use but the information can be incredibly valuable for your reporting.

Portal to look up property records, including PDFs of the actual records
Great place to look up PIN numbers if you’re having trouble finding the right property on the clerk’s page

When you click on the Clerk’s Office link, you should come to a page that looks like this:

Screenshot 2024-01-18 at 10.41.44 AM.png

In the search bar you can type in a property address or its PIN (the ID number used by the gov for taxes and other stuff).

An Example

Let’s look up the property records for BGA’s building as a trial run.
(Disregard the chapter titles on here, idk how they did that but I didn’t write them.)

And just for funsies, here’s a photo of BGA’s building from 1930.

You think doorman Nick is standing just inside that front window?

Screenshot 2024-01-18 at 2.04.34 PM.png

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