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Q: How Do You Protest Your Property Taxes If They’re Too High?

Here are four tips on how you can get the most out of protesting the tax appraised value of your home.

As the costs of Texas homes rise, so do their valuations. While those valuations may help the government increase revenue, for homeowners, they consequently mean higher property taxes and more out-of-pocket expenses every year. Are these higher taxes warranted? 

In many cases, they’re not. If your home is over-appraised, it means the taxes you’re paying aren’t based on the true value of your home. This year alone, approximately 74% of homes in Harris County went up by an average of 5%. Considering that our county has one of the highest tax rates in the country, a successful protest can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, especially in the long term.

Here’s how to ensure the best possible outcome when protesting the tax appraised value of your home:

1. Seek the assistance of a trusted real estate professional or tax reduction expert. These professionals have full access to all MLS recorded sales information and can provide you with the most useful comparable sales to justify lowering your appraised value. They can also provide you with detailed breakdowns of the subject sales to arm you with the best possible information to give to the appraisal district.

   The lower the appraised value of the surrounding homes, the lower your tax bill will be.

2. Have the right evidence. If you bought your home in the last couple of years, you can use your settlement statement to show what you paid for the property, especially if it’s lower than the valuation you got from the county. Maybe your home has certain qualities that would impact its market value, like being backed up to a busy street or commercial property. Also, photograph any areas of your home in need of repairs, updates, or renovations; this lets the appraiser consider the actual condition of your home.

3. File a protest every year. Even if you filed a property tax protest last year, do it again this year and every year after. This shows that you’re tuned in to the market and won’t take a sky-high valuation lying down. More importantly, the tax savings benefit is a compound effect that will significantly build over time. If you had a $300,000 house and you continued to reduce the appraised value by, say, 2% each year, that would be roughly $6,000, which would amount to a $60,000 swing in your favor!

4. Get your neighbors on board. As you’re protesting your property tax valuation, encourage your neighbors to do the same. If your neighbors get theirs lowered, that makes it much easier for you to do so as well. The appraisal district will use comparable home valuations and sales in your neighborhood to determine what your home is worth and how much in taxes you should pay on it. The lower the appraised value of the surrounding homes, the lower your tax bill will be.

If you have any questions about protesting your property taxes, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to help you.