Higher demand for housing across North Texas pushed up residential property values nine to 13 percent in the latest county appraisal notices. But those higher values can mean higher taxes. Homeowners who believe they owe less have a recourse: They can file a protest with the county appraisal district by May 31.
Highlights from the interview with Dallas Morning News "Watchdog" columnist Dave Lieber:
What you need to protest: You need to know what’s going on in your neighborhood, and those are called “comps.” And that stands for comparables. Ask any realtor friend, say “Give me the comps” and for free, they’ll print out a list for you of what they know about home sales in that neighborhood that actually somehow got into the record. “Cause some do and some don’t.
But the other thing you do besides the “comps” is you look at what’s wrong with the inside of your house. Is your roof damaged from hail? If so, you get a roofer to come in and get an estimate written, and then you take that written estimate to the appraisal district during your in-person protest and say, “Hey look, this estimate says my roof cost $9,000 to fix. So I think instead of appraising my house at $139,000, you need to lower it to $130,000.”
So those are the two ways I’ve done it. I’ve said look at my foundation. Look at my estimate. Look at the comps in my neighborhood. Oh, the third way. Look at my neighbor down the street. His house is the same as mine, but the rate is different. That’s not fair.”
Filing online: “Every county has an online website that shows all the numbers, and every county, under law in Texas, says you are allowed to protest online. That’s easiest way to do it, but mailing a letter works, too.”
Is the appraisal review board decision final: “You can appeal it to arbitration or to a civil court. You can file actual legal papers and you may even want a lawyer. Businesses go to court when they don’t like the decision, but homeowners generally don’t because they don’t want to deal with the court, the lawyers, the expense and the time.”
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