As they say, the only two things we can’t avoid is death and taxes. Due to skyrocketing property values the last few years, property taxes have had a severe financial impact on many Houston area homeowners. With the market starting to soften in certain areas and price points, this presents a great opportunity to protest your property taxes in Houston and surrounding areas. While some people choose to hire a professional company to protest their taxes, many others attempt this on their own. If you are one of the homeowners who want to try this, here are some important tips in helping you fight your taxes:
- File your protest on time and try to get the reduction resolved without having to appear in person at the appraisal office. Many counties have an online tax protest service, If this doesn’t achieve the reduction requested, then escalate it to the Appraisal Review Board.
- Know the difference between “market value” and “assessed value”. Market value is how much the county believes your home is worth based on comparable sales. When you take the market value and subtract your exemptions such as Homestead, Over 65, etc, that leaves your assessed value which is the true number that your tax bill is generated from.
- Always protest your market value if possible. It is a common reaction to think “my assessed value is in line with the value of my home, who cares what the market value is”? Keep in mind that the market value is a benchmark that everything else is set off of.
- The appraisers who work at the county tax offices are trained to sift through baseless requests. If you are going to take the time to protest, make sure you have evidence to back up your claim. This can be done through comparable sales, pictures of your property, pictures of the surrounding area and estimates of repairs needed.
- Be nice and respectful to the appraisers. Remember that their opinion is based a lot of non-tangible factors, attitude could be one of them.
- Remember that the money they collect is what helps provide many basic services we all need. Falsely reducing your taxes can have a negative effect on the community we all live in.
If you need help gathering comparable sales to help protest your taxes in Harris County or the surrounding counties, please contact me and I would be glad to help provide you as much evidence as I can. I have access to some very professional reports that can help clarify the true value of your property. Having a Houston Realtor pull actual sales numbers is much better than going to sites like Zillow that often have inaccurate or incomplete information.
Please let me know if I can help in any way with helping protest your taxes. Over the last 15 years, I have been able to help many of my friends successfully lower their taxes. And finally, thank you for letting me be your advocate in helping with everything related to your home. Please keep me in mind if you or anyone you know is looking to buy or sell a home anywhere in the Houston or surrounding areas.