Property Tax Protest
Every Spring the Harris County District Appraisal District sends a notice to property owners advising the new assessed property value of homes.
What we have learned: Property Tax Value typically increases every year incrementally. It is important to protest every year.
Implementation: A successful protest will be a thoughtful debate based on two factors 1) Unequal Value compared to other properties in the area. 2) Over-market Value.
Go online to the the taxing district website:
Follow instructions as a new user and ensure that you click to participate in “I-settle.” This is a tiny little icon that will allow you to communicate with the district about your value online. Each taxing year is independent and the current comparable sales of homes in your neighborhood affect your value.
Thoughtful preparation: You have 700 characters to contend why you believe your home is not valued properly. This is basically two short paragraphs. Pick some points and make it worth it.
Supporting Evidence: There is a section to upload documents. Do this. You can include pictures of your unimproved home. Google satellite image search of the geographic position of your home. Ask your neighborhood realtor for a market analysis. Negative influences could be busy streets, power plant nearby, commercial property bordering your home, etc. Basically think like a potential home buyer: Why would I not want to buy my house? Highlight the negative attributes.
Real Life Example: Subject Property is located at a heavy traffic intersection in large tract of residential single family homes within community. Any resident that enters or leaves community in vehicle will shine front headlights into the residence which largely affects the quality of life for owners and renders the property unequal compared to other properties. Home also has antiquated kitchen and no major interior updates. Based on the sold comparables of homes with similar interior condition the subject property reflects a range of $76-$84 dollars per square foot. Subject property should be assessed on lower range based on the geographic position in the neighborhood.
To Settle or Not to Settle: It has been my experience most appraisal districts want to settle. They will generally provide you a yes or no answer to your suggested “proposed” value online within 45 days of your protest. If you disagree with the value they suggest electronically then you go to the district and protest your case in person among a panel. Be respectful and present your information with intention.