Don’t Wait Any Longer to Protest Your Property Taxes

     

    If you think your property taxes are too high, you may want to consider protesting them. How do you do that, though?

    What happens first in this process is the county sends you a property tax statement in the mail saying what they think your property’s value is. They usually send these out in April, so you should have received your statement by May 1 at the latest. Included in this statement is a form you can fill out in case you want to protest their valuation. If you can’t find that form or it’s not included, you can go to the following county websites and download one:

    You can also use this form from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, which can be used for all counties. Remember, you have to send in your official protest form by May 15.

    After you file your protest, the county will contact you to schedule a hearing. If they give you a choice of having a formal hearing or an informal hearing, always pick the informal hearing. Never pick the formal hearing.

    Once your hearing is scheduled, you’ll need to bring evidence of your property’s value to it. This should include evidence of comparable properties in your neighborhood that are similar to your house in terms of structural size, lot size, and age. These properties should also have been sold at a lower price than your home’s appraisal.

    If you don’t have access to this kind of data, ask your Realtor for help. If you don’t have a Realtor, give us a call—we’d be glad to assist you. If you contact us, we’ll send you a sales grid of comparable homes in your neighborhood indicating the lowest sales from the past year.

    Next, try to think of any aspect of your house that could be perceived as negative and bring evidence of that to the hearing as well. Does your home have any foundational issues? Is there something wrong with the plumbing? If you can prove something like that with photos, it can make your house seem worse than it is. Your home could also be located in a floodplain, its driveway could connect to a busy street, or there could be power lines right next to it. Just bring evidence of anything that could be construed as negative. Make sure you bring multiple copies of any type of evidence so you can leave it with the county.

    If you bought your house a couple months ago and your property tax valuation is higher than what you paid for it, just bring the settlement statement from when you closed on the house to the hearing. They’ll drop their valuation all the way down to your purchase price.

    If you can lower your property’s valuation, your tax rate will go down too.

    When attending an informal hearing, remember that the county representatives are people, too. Dress nice, be courteous, and understand that they have a really hard job. If you can get them on your side, that will go a long way toward getting your property taxes reduced.

    Also, remember that you’re not arguing the tax rate—you’re arguing the appraised value. The tax rate stays the same. If you can lower your property’s valuation, your tax rate will go down too.

    Again, if you need any assistance getting your property taxes reduced, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be glad to provide you with you the evidence you need to make your case.

    As always, if you have any other real estate questions or you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in our market, just give us a call or send us an email. We’re here to help.

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