In April, you should receive a notice of appraised value on your property. If your property value didn’t increase or decrease dramatically, you may not receive a notice, but you can usually find out the appraised value from your county appraisal district’s website or by calling the appraisal district office. If values in your county haven’t been released yet, make sure to ask when you can expect for appraisal values to be released and follow up with appraisal district periodically. When you have the appraised value of your home, it’s time to determine whether or not to protest your home appraisal. Most people can benefit from protesting their home’s appraised value, and in this blog, we’ll talk about some tips for a successful protest.
1. Start Early
Once you receive notice of your home’s appraised value, you will have a few weeks to submit an informal protest to the Appraisal Review Board. Because protest deadlines vary by county, it’s important to start early and make sure you know all the upcoming deadlines. You don’t want to miss out on potential property tax savings simply because you missed a paperwork deadline.
2. Plan Ahead
As you’re preparing to protest your home’s value, do your homework and plan ahead. There are many different reasons for protesting a home’s appraised value, and some of these are, essentially, guaranteed protest wins. Some quick steps to ensure your home’s assessed value is fair include:
- If you’re not a new homebuyer, compare your previous year’s assessed value to the current appraised value. If the increase in value is more than 10%, you should protest since property value increases are capped at 10% each year.
- Know what similar properties are selling for in your area. Right now, home values are very high, but this can still be valuable. Talk to a relator about recent sales (they’ll usually be willing to talk to you about your home’s value and comparable sales figures at no cost), check out online listings, and use these sales as a comparison for your home’s value. Appraisers typically only see the outside of your home, so if you can prove that your home needs significant repairs or improvements to be market ready and truly comparable to recent, higher sales figures, you will likely do well in a protest.
- Take photos of any part of your home that needs repairs and improvements and have copies available for the appraisal district as part of your protest.
- Get repair estimates to show further proof of the cost of necessary repair and improvements and provide these estimates to your appraisal district.
When you feel like you have enough evidence to submit your property tax appraised value protest, keep the language of the letter to accompanies your documentation simple and straightforward. We recommend using something like:
I have done research and discovered [briefly list your reason(s)], which indicates my home’s value seems to be lower than the current property tax appraisal notice. [Provide a bit more detail about comparable property sales, your current repair needs, etc. as discussed above. Reference any attachments you’ll be including to support your belief.].
Based on this evidence, I believe my home’s true value may be closer to [your desired home appraised value].
3. Stay Informed
You should always do your utmost to stay informed about any changes to the protest or appraisal process in a given calendar year, but this year may be especially complicated for Texas homeowners. Appraised property values are based on the condition of homes on January 1, but the severe weather in February caused a significant amount of damage for homeowners. If the storm caused property damage totaling 15% or more of your home’s appraised value, you may be eligible for a disaster exemption.
Another reason it’s so important to stay informed this year is that there are more than 100 proposed bills related to property taxes before the Texas House and Senate. The goal is to improve the property tax system for homeowners, and they could mean big changes. Make sure you’re staying informed by checking the Texas Municipal League website for changes and updates. On the website, click on the Policy tab, choose Legislative Information, and select City-Related Bills Filed, which will take you to a document outlining current filings. Bills related to property taxes can be found in their own section.
4. Everyone Should Review their Individual Situation and Consider Filing an Informal Protest
Most counties now have the informal property tax protest process fully online. It takes just a few minutes to complete, and as long as your appraised value request is reasonable, it’s likely to be accepted. If there is not an automated process online for your county or your online appeal is denied, all you need to do to make an informal protest is send a letter (like the one outlined above) to your appraisal district along with any support documentation. If you know your home’s value and make a good argument for lowering the appraised value, you will likely not need to go on to a formal appeal. In many cases, Texas homeowners save several hundred dollars a year by filing a simple, informal protest with the Appraisal Review Board.
5. Talk to a Professional
If your informal request is denied, a formal protest may be necessary, but it’s up to you on whether or not you want to move forward. Before you make that decision, you should consider taking time to identify and speak with a professional property tax consultant in your area who can help you decide whether the protest is worth taking to a higher authority.
Need Help Paying Your Property Tax Bill?
Whether or not you choose to protest your property tax bill, you may still need help paying your property taxes. If you find yourself in that position, the Home Tax Solutions team is here to help. We have five offices across the state of Texas serving all 254 counties. To get started any time, simply fill out our online request form. Once we receive your form, one of our team members will be in touch to finalize the details and get the financial stress of delinquent property tax payments off your shoulders.