Skip to comments.How to protest property taxes?
Posted on 06/23/2013 6:51:35 AM PDT by bgill
Can anyone explain what sort of questions are asked at property tax protests? I understand I need proof why I'm being charged too much but what all can I use? I'm guessing research between the county appraisal listings for similar square footage and such. My house isn't similar to others in the area so maybe take pictures of inside and out? Perhaps go on a real estate site to see other homes' improvements as opposed to mine?
I'm doing this on my own because the legal help fell through. Neighbors were supposed to get together with legal help on this but didn't but I simply MUST get some relief. I know they don't care about sob stories but I'm against a wall and this will be the end of the family being here for 50 years.
Move to a place with lower taxes.
Pay for your own, independent appraisal. Call several Real Estate agents to get recommendations on expert appraisers.
Might affect your case
Read your assessment carefully.
In my county, you need to have a certified private appraisal in order to contest the county appraisal.
The first place to start is to get a handle on what other like properties or square footage is appraised at in your area. If everyone is appraised at ridicules levels, it will show you that a comparison approach will not work.
After that, determine what value your property is supposed to be assessed to...fmv; replacement values; costs plus yearly inflation or whatever.
That is how I would do it were it me. Our tax basis here is original sales price plus an allowed 2.5% per year for inflation assuming nothing changed like adding a pool or more sq footage. It works fine for owner occupied dwellings. Non owner occupied not so good.
In Texas it’s pretty simple - basically just appraisal work:
1) You list nearby comparable properties that have sold recently.
2) You determine a price per square foot.
3) You then adjust for any outliers, which might increase or decrease your value (like a warped foundation, or marble tile everywhere).
organize a group of like minded homeowners who are unanimously against property taxes and start dominating local elections with your agenda. I have been wanting to do this ever since my school board got it in their head that they needed several new schools in my district which they have not yet gotten despite three consecutive attempts at the same levy. Punish any elected officials who bring up a tax levy.
We have a realty firm that sells homes exclusively in our community. Every year, they provide listings to homeowners of like properties in the area for valuation comparison purposes as a method to protest tax assessments. You may be able to find a realtor that will do likewise, or pay the fee (typically $300-$400) for a private appraiser to evaluate your property. I wouldn’t take images of your home to the tax appraiser. Don’t give them ammunition. Besides, it’s a safe bet that they already have overhead and street side images of your home already. Any perceived improvements from your images may work against you. Good luck.
You need to get comps from around your neighborhood. It’s public record what these homes sold for. It has to be within the last 6 months or 1 year. My taxes went up as well. You should have exemptions for homestead and senior citizens as well home improvement. Just don’t give up. Stay on them. You may find out that everyone in your neighborhood had the taxes go up. They rasied the rate in order to get more money out of me. My guess is that is what they did to you.
With that said, you will need at least three com-parables in your area that are the identical “class” home as your home.
For example, on your taxing statement, you will see class 5 or 5+ or 6...that sort of thing.
Go out to HCAD or MCAD...whatever county you live and check all the lil details of your home. They will have pix of your home...even from the air (b@st@rd$).
Begin to put together a portfolio on your home. Anything not completed, not upgraded, damage and so forth...take lotsa pictures.
Drive by the homes you've chosen as com-parables. Take as many pix as you can w/o entering their property for risk of getting a bullet lodge in ya. Print out their info off of the HCAD/MCAD websites and place the pix you've taken with it. Place all your research in a binder or folder (I used a clear cover with a pic of my home), then make at least 3 copies of that same portfolio to hand out in case you have to go before the board.
Try to pick the most beautiful homes you can that are listed in your class. Then, try to document you home in a more negative light. Make sense?
Now you know why this whole process is a freakin circus?
You'll go down and sign in at the desk...make sure you arrive 15 to 30 minutes before your appt. But sign in. They'll pass ya over if ya don't and believe me, they don't give a rats patooka whether you make it or not.
They'll call your name, you will go back with one of their appraiser wannabe’s. You'll present your research and make your arguments as to why they shouldn't raise your rates to XXX amount. The rookie appraiser will either choose to bless you with something or he will blow you off.
At this time, you can either take what he/she gives ya or you can request to go before the board...this is a whole new ridiculous chapter in the process.
Now, if you go before the board, you'll have three or four people sitting in what looks like a board room (mine was elevated above the citizens) looking like they lord over you. To your side will be the chief appraiser...the prosecutor type fella.
The lords will have you raise you right hand and swear you in. (no joke). Then the chief appraiser will make a case to the lords why they should indeed raise your rates. He will use research and formulas YOU are not privy to. In fact, it will make no sense whatsoever.
You...the lil guy citizen will then be allowed a few minutes to present you research and make a case that is stronger than the fella sittin next to ya. They will either bless you with a knock off of the assessed value or they will foo foo you and send you away to bother them no longer.
I'm tellin ya, it's a damn joke...the whole process.
I love Texas for so many reasons...but this one, Texas has it all wrong.
Hope this helps. Ping me back if something is unclear.
Here, you can do it yourself.
FMV here is ridiculous. Property taxes have gone up the legally allowed 10% (cough, plus a wee bit extra in fuzzy math which adds up over time) every year. In the past, they’ve said I couldn’t protest because I was still below FMV. Texas never had the real estate bust the rest of the country did the last few years. There’s been new construction constantly here and people are still building mcmansions.
Have a blessed day...heck, I sound a lil negative...maybe it's I that needs a lil blessin. lol
I'm definitely taking off for ramshackle and non-maintained sheds. When the taxes rose over the years from 2 weeks income to 3 months, there's no way way to do basic maintenance anymore. No tile here, just linoleum and laminate so I'll be taking pictures of that.
All that said ask local RE brokers how much your property is worth and how do your taxes compare to what others are paying. Remember even though RE is off its peaks of 5 yrs ago it has appreciated in the last 25 yrs. and remember your ability to pay the local RE taxes is not the criteria, only the value of the RE. Also separate the house from the land. in my case land was 90% of the assessment, for 20 years I argued that they were over assessing the value of the land. they finally put our neighborhood in its own district and my assessment fell 30%. remember you can always sell it before somebody like me buys your RE lien which the municipality sells on the open market. Good luck!
Can’t afford any fees.
Go to assessor and get a copy of the entire folder on your property.
Assessments are based on recent “legit” sales.
Find out the comparable houses the assessor used to base your home’s value. Usually your home would be compared with four other houses. Find out how your house differs from them.
Remeasure the exterior of your house. Porch measurement is separate.(My measurements were wrong by 500 sq ft!!! no previous owner caught this)
There’s no need to take photos of the interior. Why should they have photos of your personal possessions on file? All they need to know is how many baths, half baths, kitchens and bedrooms. They don’t need to know if you have marble counter tops or a gold plated tub.
I’ve never done an appraisal and always fought the assessment myself. Be prepared for their stock answers such as “Where can you buy a house such as yours for that price?” “It’s a porch but you can make it into an enclosed porch so we’re assessing your porch as an enclosed porch and that qualifies as a room”
Do show up at the grievance even if you don’t think you have a chance of a result in your favor. If many show up, chances are they may change the assessments across the board. That’s what happened in my town.
Yeah, it’s all a scam and we’re the scam-ees. So, I have to swear to be honest but I can’t make them swear to be honest with me, right?
Good to know about the class ratings. I’d forgotten about that.
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