Do want to start a protest? Every spring, property owners whose home market value has increased by at least $1,000 over the last year (which is ALL of us in this housing market!) will receive a Notice of Appraised Value. This notice contains three important values:
Market value: This is the value based on what your property would sell for as of January 1.
Assessed value: This is the reduced value of your property based on limitations provided if you have a homestead exemption.
Taxable value: This is the assessed value minus any exemption amounts. It is the value the county uses to calculate the property taxes for each taxing unit.
The tax-assessed value is what the county believes your property is worth. The county attempts to set its values at market value. However, they do not evaluate comparable properties. They also don’t perform an individual market analysis on every home. The county simply values your home according to the area, not the house. Therefore, the value may be too high or too low, depending on the size, location, amenities, and condition of your specific home. This is where Skelly Agency can help find comparables for your home based on your actual house, not the surrounding area.
Last year, many Central Texas homeowners found themselves in a bit of shock over the sizable increase in the taxable value of their home.
If that happens again, what can you do? You can protest.
If you believe the market value of your property is incorrect, you do have the right to protest that value. Every year, the deadline to file your protest is usually mid May, around the 15-16th. If you choose to protest the value of your property, you can initiate the protest in one of several ways:
- If you are short on time, you can certainly hire a tax protest company to do the work for you. Many companies such as ownwell.com or propertytaxprotest.com will submit the paperwork and do all the required hearings with the tax district for you. If the company representing you is successful in lowering your property taxes, they will take a cut (usually 1%) of the money they saved you. However, if the company is unsuccessful in lowering your property tax with the county, then they do not ask for any payment from you for their work.
- You can file with the county yourself. The advantage to this is that you get to keep all the savings you earn in the protest for yourself. The disadvantage is that you will need to find your own comparables, fill out forms, and possibly even attend a court hearing with your county.
For example, the process to self protest your property taxes in Travis County (Austin, TX) is as follows:
- File your protest using the protest form (Form 50-132 Notice of Protest PDF) available from the County Appraisal District. You can file online to protest your Travis County property tax here.
- After you have filed, it can take several months for the Travis County Appraisal District to schedule your informal hearing.
- 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 overvalued your Austin home or condo.
So what evidence and facts do you need to support your claim? All of the following can be helpful evidence to support lowering of your taxable value:
- CMA: 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. Contact us on our Skelly Agency website or ask one of our agents to unlock home sale prices and find comparables in your neighborhood.
- Bring Evidence of Special Issues in the Home: Do you have electrical issues? Foundation 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.
- If Your Location Adversely Affects Market Value, Bring Documentation of Your Exact Location: For example, if your home backs up to a busy street, then print off a Google map to document your exact location.
- Purchased Price was Lower than Appraised Value: Have you purchased your home in the last several months? If the purchase price was lower than your appraised value, bring a copy of your settlement statement to the hearing.
If you believe your property valuation is too high, you should definitely appeal your taxes. When you appeal your assessed value, it helps keep all of our tax valuations more in line with market value. You can do it! If you have any questions or need help in this process, contact us here. We are happy to help!