Property Taxes, to fight or not to fight- I’ll save you the Googling

A lot of you likely just received your “2019 Notice of Appraised Value” in the mail from you respective appraisal districts assessing the value of your home. And a lot of you are probably thinking, what the h*ll?! Well, Carol, we live in Austin, and now everyone else wants to too, and we’re paying the price for it. A bit of silver lining, you won’t be hating these values when it comes time to sell, so, just remember there’s always an upside to getting totally taken advantage of by the government.

So what do you do with these “values” you ask. That all depends. Let’s start with the fact that there’s two and what they each mean- Market Value vs. Assessed Value.

Assessed Value is where you focus, that’s what you’re paying for, that’s what the county says your property is worth. Your annual tax payments are driven from the Assessed Value of your property. You multiply your tax rate (can be found on your county appraisal district website, Travis County’s is: by the assessed value, and that startling figure staring back at you is what you’re workin’ so hard for the man to pay back.

The Market Value however, is the figure that makes you feel like you just nailed the perfect performance to your favorite karaoke song. That figure should be higher than the assessed value, and if it’s not, keep reading, you missed a step. The Market Value is what the county suspects you might be able to sell your home for if you listed it on the open market. That value makes you sleep better at night, that value almost makes the other value worth it. Almost.

I had a few folks reach out to me for help or advice on what they should do with the values they received. I’ve included an example of an email back to a client who received quite a hike in property value from 2018-2019 and I’ve included my response below:

“I ran two CMA’s this morning, one within the last 6 months and one within the last 4 (sold properties for 2019 only). They both returned almost the exact same sale price for homes in your neighborhood with similar square footage and same bed/bath. The average sale price was $451k, CMA attached. 3 of the 4 properties included were built last year, same as yours. There’s one that was built in 2013 which is driving the average down a bit, but would still be included by an appraiser as it’s within the 10 year mark for comparing homes. I checked out your property also listed on the Hays CAD, and it looks like the biggest issue right now is that you haven’t filed your homestead exemption, or if you have, they haven’t updated it yet. Your market value will always be higher than your assessed value. Market value is what the county is suggesting you might get if you put your home on the open market right now. Assessed is what you’re being taxed on, and when you have a homestead exemption on your property, it can decrease that value substantially in most cases. Link to do so:
So first things first, I’d get that done. It’s hard to contest the value you guys have at this point because you’re getting taxed on your market value, which is not correct. So, once you file your homestead exemption, you should see a decrease in value and hopefully that will be closer to this CMA. 
That said, I don’t think the Assessed value will come down $30k or so, but it could. If it does, however, that equates to a savings of $1066/year and $89/mo.

Math is this: tax rate x assessed value = yearly taxesMarket Value:
2.96 x $487,000 = $14,415 year /12 = $1,201/moPossible Assessed Value: 2.96 x $451,000 = $13,349 year/ 12 = $1,112/moDifference is $89/mo between market value and possible assessed value.”

Here’s the part that was missed- you gotta file your homestead exemption! It’s a two page deal that takes about three minutes to fill out, I’m happy to help you, just get it done! Once it’s done, we can run all the CMAs (Competitive Market Analysis’) and discuss if the county totally botched your value or if they’re right on the money and we’re still living in 1998.

If it’s decided that you want to fight, for your right, to not pay all the taxes, then we fight a few different ways. The most time efficient would be to hire my friends at Texas Pro Tax and have them help you out. They don’t charge you a thing unless they save you money, and even then it’s only a small percentage. Another option is to submit electronically (I’ll help you with comps). The last option is to schedule an appointment with the county in person. If you are so bold, I’ll saddle up with you and make it a 2 v 1 situation at the county offices actually does a fantastic job of explaining all of this as well, and by ‘as well’, I mean much better than me. I’ve copied the link to that article below. If you’re not totally ready to gouge your eyes out, and you’re still reading, go ahead and give it a click. And good luck.

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