Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Should You Protest Your Property Valuations?

A record number of property owners protested their tax valuations in 2009 and 2010 should be no different.

Why is tax-assessed value different than market value?
The tax-assessed value is what your county believes your home or condo is worth. The county attempts to set their values at a market value. However, they do not evaluate comparables nor do they perform individual market analysis on every home. The county simply values your home according to the area, not the HOUSE. Meaning, the value may be too high or too low, depending on the size, location, amenities, & condition of the specific home.

How do you determine your market value?
You can contact your Realtor who can provide you with market information, collect information from neighbors who have recently purchased their homes, or contact a company who specializes in assisting with tax assessor valuation protests. If you have purchased a home during the previous 12 months & paid less than the valuation, your closing statement is usually all the county needs to see in order to lower your valuation.

Should you appeal your property valuation?
If the market value on your home is lower than your tax-assessed value, then you should appeal. If the market value is higher, then you should not appeal.

When should you receive your property valuation and how long do you have to appeal?
The County Appraisal Districts began mailing property valuations sometime after April 15th. Most homeowners should have received their valuation on or before May 1st. Homeowners have until May 31st, or 30 days from the date they receive their valuation (whichever is later), to appeal.

How to appeal your Property Taxes?
If you believe your property valuation is higher than the current market value, you should appeal your taxes. When people don't appeal, the taxing authority accepts that their value is correct which affects all homeowners in a given area. By appealing the assessed value, we all help keep our real estae taxing authority valuations in line with market value.
  • File your protest using the protest form available from the County Appraisal District. After you have filed, it can take several weeks or more for the Appraisal Distric to schedule your informal hearing. Depending on the county, this can take place over the phone.
  • At the hearing: The purpose of the informal hearing is for you to present your evidence and facts to support your claim that they have over-valued your home, condo, or land

PRESENT YOUR EVIDENCE: The following information can be helpful to present at the hearing:

  • Comparable Market Analysis (CMA): A comparable market analysis looks at Market Value and shows recent sales for homes that are similar to yours in size, age, location and type of construction
  • Documentation Regarding Your Homes Condition: Once again, anything that would adversely affect the Market Value of your home is evidence that you can use in your appeal (if your home backs to a busy street - consider printing a Google map to document your location.)
  • Recently Purchased Homes: If you purchased your home in the last several months, and the purchase price was lower than your appraised value, bring a of your settlement statement.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you talk to the County Appraisal District:

  • The Appraisal District is responsible for setting the appraised value. THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TAX RATE. You are not going to protest your tax rate or how much you are paying in taxes. You are only appealing the county's assessed value of your home.
  • Bring an extra copy of all your supporting documentation to leave with the county.

To find out more information about protesting your tax appraisal, visit these sites:

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