How To Appeal Your Property Tax Assessment
At this time of year many are in the process of preparing their taxes. As you submit your documents to the tax preparer your accountant may ask if the assessed value assigned to your home is reflective of comparable homes.
Why does this matter?
The assigned value is used to calculate how much tax you owe. It’s possible to trim your property tax bill by appealing the value the tax assessor has assigned to your home if the value is inaccurate.
And here’s where having a conversation with your real estate agent can help. Your agent can do a bit of research, comparing your home to similar homes in your community, to determine if your home is worth less than the value assessed. If the agent determines it’s less, you can appeal the property tax assessment and save on the amount owed.
What’s involved in appealing a property tax assessment?
If the agent’s research indicates the home is worth less than it was assessed at your next steps are to appeal the assessment. These are general steps for an appeal:
Step 1: Review the Assessment Letter. Carefully read over the letter and follow the instructions contained in the letter for the procedures to start an appeal. Generally, you have less than 30 days from the receipt of this letter to take action.
Step 2: Decide if Pursuing an Appeal is Worth Your Time. Depending on how much the difference is it may or may not be worth appealing. Discuss this with both your real estate agent and your tax preparer to get a good understanding of the value and your options for savings.
Step 3: Confirm the Data. Pay special attention to the details written about your home and check for any inaccuracies. For instance, is the lot size correct? The number of bathrooms, any fireplaces, or the number of bedrooms? A misplaced decimal point on a size or a mis-typed number of rooms can influence the value calculation.
Step 4: Get the Real Estate Assessment (aka the Comps). Request your agent to assess at least 3–5 comparable properties they have sold recently. The REALTOR® will look at homes with similar style, condition, size, age, and location to your home. Should the homes being compared to be valued lower, you can argue that your home is value too high. Alternately, if the comp homes have had a new addition added or other major improvements this, too, could boost their assessment much higher than for your home.
Step 5: Take Your Research to the Assessor’s Office. Most Assessor’s are willing to discuss your assessment by phone to answer general questions or may request you bring your research to their office for a more formal review. The length of the review will vary and could span a few months before a final decision is made. The decision will be forwarded via postal mail and you do have the option to appeal this decision with an independent board should you want to.
As you decide if appealing your property tax assessment is the right approach for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to request property comps. I’m here to help. Schedule an appointment today.
Since 2004 Sara Lyn Nguyen continues to bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise about buying and selling real estate around the Houston area to those she serves. Sara is a multi-year award winning REALTOR® and relocation specialist where her clients trust her to have up-to-date information on the real estate market. She has been one of Gary Greene’s Multi-Million Dollar Top Producers every year and was the #1 Top Producing agent in 2019 citywide. Sara is an American Dream TV Power Player who shares Houston real estate news with television viewers. When it’s time to buy, sell, invest, or relocate speak with a trusted professional knowledgeable in the homes and neighborhoods of Fort Bend/Sugar Land and the surrounding region.