Is Your Property Tax Valuation Fair?

image001It’s that time of year again… Counties began mailing out property valuations beginning April 15th. Many homeowners wonder if they should protest their valuation — good question. If the market value on your home is lower than your tax assessed value, then you should appeal. If the market value of your home is higher than the tax assessed value, then you should not appeal. When we appeal, we help keep our appraisal district valuations in line with true market value. However the county appraisal districts have been very aggressive with increasing property values over last few years…

To learn more about whether or not you should appeal, read below. Links to your county’s tax appraisal site and the necessary protest form are also below. If you would like help determining your home’s market value, call me anytime to provide you with a current market analysis of your home. I can also assist with the whole process of appealing that is outlined below.

Why is tax-assessed value different than market value?

The tax-assessed value is what your county believes your home or condo is worth. The county attempts to set their values at market value. However, they do not evaluate comparables, nor do they perform an individual market analysis on every home. The county simply values your home according to the area, not the house, meaning the value may be too high or too low, depending on the size, location, amenities and condition of the specific home.

How do you determine your market value?

Simply call me. I can provide you with market information, collect information from neighbors who have recently purchased their homes, or contract a company who specializes in assisting with tax assessor valuation protests.

Should you appeal your property valuation?

If the market value on your home is lower than your tax-assessed value, then you should appeal. If the market value is higher, then you should not appeal.

When should you receive your property valuation and how long do you have to appeal?

The County Appraisal Districts began mailing property valuations sometime after April 15th. Most homeowners should have received their valuation on or before May 1st. Homeowners have until May 31st, or 30 days from the date they receive their valuation (whichever is later), to appeal.

How to Appeal Your Property Taxes

If you believe your property valuation is higher than the current market value, you should appeal your taxes. When people don’t appeal, the taxing authority accepts that their value is correct which affects all homeowners in a given area. By appealing the assessed value, we all help keep our real estate taxing authority valuations in line with market value.

1. File your protest using the protest form available from the County Appraisal District. After you have filed, it can take several months for the Travis County Appraisal District to schedule your informal hearing.

2. At the hearing: The purpose of the informal hearing is for you to present your evidence and facts to support your claim that they have over-valued your Austin home or condo. SELLER TAB: “Is Your Property Tax Valuation Fair?”

Present Your Evidence

The following information that I can provide, will be helpful to present at the hearing:

• Comparable Market Analysis: A comparable market analysis looks at Market Value and shows recent sales for homes that are similar to yours in size, age, location and type of construction.

• Documentation Regarding Your Home’s Condition: Do you have foundation issues? Plumbing problems? Anything that would adversely affect the Market Value of your home should be documented. Take photographs and bring them with you to your hearing.

• Documentation Regarding Your Home’s Location: Once again, anything that would adversely affect the Market Value of your home is evidence that you can use in your appeal (ie: if home backs up to a busy street; consider printing off a Google map to document your location).

• Recently Purchased Homes: If you purchased your home in the last several months, and the purchase price was lower than your appraised value, bring a copy of your settlement statement.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind for the day of your hearing:

1. You are only appealing the county’s assessed value of your home. The Appraisal District is responsible for setting the appraised value, they have nothing to do with the tax rate. You are not going to the hearing to protest your tax rate or how much you are paying in taxes.

2. Be polite and courteous.

3. Bring an extra copy of your supporting documentation to leave with the county.

Find out more about protesting your tax appraisal at:

Hays County: http://www.hayscad.com

Travis County: http://www.traviscad.org

Williamson County: http://www.wcad.org

Bastrop County: http://www.bastropcad.org

“Property Tax – Notice of Protest” Form (can be used for any Texas county)

http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxforms/50-132.pdf

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