Let’s be blunt – property taxes in Austin are high. But, how do you know if your property taxes are too high? Nationwide surveys show about 25% of homes are unfairly over assessed. Thus, about 25% of home owners pay too much in property taxes. The most common reason is the property is assessed at higher than market value. Given this happens in about 1/4 of homes, it makes sense to check what your home is assessed at and determine if your property tax bill is fair. If you are one of the 25% of homes assessed too high, you have the right to appeal the assessed valuation and request a reassessment. A great way to avoid getting higher taxes is personalizing your house yourself. Here’s how to challenge your property taxes in Austin.
How to Find Out What Your Property Has Been Assessed At
First things first. You’ll want to know what your home is assessed at before starting the process of challenging your property taxes. How do you find out?
Check the Mail or Go Online
Preliminary property valuations are mailed out in April. If you haven’t received it yet, you should soon. If you can’t wait for the mail man to deliver it, you can check online. Here are the links for Travis County Appraisal District, Williamson County Appraisal District and Hays County Appraisal District.
When you pull your property record, you’ll see the current year’s preliminary valuation.
How to Find Out If Your Home’s Assessed Value is Too High
The fastest way to do a check is to first check what other homes in your neighborhood have sold for. Texas is a non-disclosure state, so you’ll have to sign in to find closed sale data.
Using our Market Snapshot tool, you can put in your address and email and a few minutes later, we’ll send you market data for your neighborhood. You’ll be able to see what similar homes sold for in your neighborhood. If your assessed value is more than the recent sales, you might be one of the 25% of over valued homes.
Get sales comps using our Austin Home Values tool.
Need a more detailed analysis? Email us your address at info@11OaksRealty.com and we’ll send you some comps.
How to Challenge Your Property Taxes in Austin
If you feel you have been unfairly over assessed, you have a legal right to appeal the Assessor’s opinion of value. Here are the steps to challenging your tax bill:
1. Gather Information
Obtain copy of the record card for the property from the appraisal district in your county. It contains information on file about the property, such as, lot size, building size, and amenities. Factual errors can be a strong determinate in affecting a re-evaluation. When you file your appeal, you’ll want to note any of these errors as reasons for filing.
Determine Fair Market Value (FMV) of the property. What’s called the “Sales Comparison Approach” to establishing value is at property tax hearings is used for homes and small residential apartment buildings. It compares recent sales of properties similar to your property adjusted for condition, age and location to establish value.
3. File a Protest
File a formal request for appeal with the Travis County Appraisal District – or the CAD in the County the property is located – and review the rules controlling the procedure. In Travis County, you will need the owner ID and PIN number on your notice of appraised value to file. The deadline to file a protest is May 31, 2017.
4. Informal Meeting
You will begin the legal process by attending an informal meeting where you can present your position to an appraisal staffer. You’ll be notified of the date and time via mail. Be prepared to present your case calmly and factually and be sure to bring all documentation. The appraiser will either reject your claim or offer to settle by establishing a reduced assessed value. Most appeals are resolved at the informal hearing. If you are not satisfied with this, you can proceed to the ABR hearing.
5. Formal Hearing
If your claim is denied, or you choose to not accept the proposed solution, you may appeal your claim to the Appraisal Review Board (ABR). At the hearing, the staff appraiser and yourself will separately present your evidence to support each position. Note: You have the right to review what the appraisal staffer plans to present before the hearing, but you must contact the appraisal district to request those documents.
When you get to the hearing, expect things to move fast and furious. You must be prepared to state the figure you believe your home to be worth and support it with facts. Expect that you will be questioned and be prepared to ask questions yourself. After hearing the evidence, the board will send you a certified letter with its decision. Their decision is not negotiable. However, their decision can be litigated in Texas district court.
Are You a Client of Eleven Oaks Realty?
As a value-plus service to our clients, we can help research and provide a market report package containing recent sale history of comparable properties. This information may be used to support a claim to lower the assessed value. Simply reach out to your Eleven Oaks Realty Realtor and they can help.
Have Real Estate Questions?
Contact our team to see how we can help navigate your real estate challenges. Call us at (512) 827-8323 or email us at info@11OaksRealty.com to schedule a no obligation consultation.