Today is April 15th. The day the majority of us associate with as the day our income tax returns are due. I am not going to write about income taxes. Although I do have an accounting degree, I am not qualified to give advice on the many changes in the income tax laws. What I am qualified to write about is Spring Texas real estate and how you can protest your Spring Texas real estate taxes.
If you haven’t received your 2015 property valuation from the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) yet, you will soon. As HCAD is projecting to have them in the mail during the month of April.
If the value of your Spring Texas home decreased in 2015, don’t jump to the conclusion that you don’t need to protest the value. The value HCAD placed on your home for real estate tax purposes may be more than market value or may be more than the assessed value of your neighbors. If either one of these is the situation, you will want to protest your real estate taxes.
How to dispute your Spring Texas real estate taxes:
1. Determine if your property’s tax valuation accurately reflects the market value of your home as of January 1, 2015.
How do you determine if your value is accurate?
Contact a Spring Texas Real Estate Agent and ask her to provide you with the sales price of homes in your neighborhood. If homes are selling for more than the market value of your home, don’t dispute your valuation based on market value. But if
But before you decide not to dispute your valuation, determine if your property value is unequal compared with other properties. According to O’Conner & Associates, a property tax advisor, the majority of successful property tax disputes are those based upon unequal assessment.
How do you determine if your property’s tax value has been unequaled assessed? Go to HCAD and look up the tax assessed value of your neighbor’s home. Is their home similar to yours but their home is being assessed at a lower property valuation? If the answer is yes, then protest the valuation of your Spring Texas home based upon unequal assessment.
2. Determine if you want to dispute the value yourself or if you want to solicit the help of a property tax advisor.
3. If you decide to dispute the property valuation yourself, you can file your protest online at the Harris County Appraisal District’s website. HCAD will notify you of the date and time your protest has been scheduled. On the day of your appointment, you should arrive on time, be armed with data to present that supports your valuation, and be friendly to the assessor.
4. If you decide to solicit the help of a property tax advisor, you can contact either O’Conner & Associates or Bettencourt Tax Advisors. O’Conner & Associates and Bettencourt both require you to sign a service agreement.
If O’Conner & Associates (www.cutmytaxes.com) is successful in reducing your property tax valuation, they charge you 50% of the tax savings. For example, if your property’s tax valuation is $150,000 and O’Conner & Associates was successful in reducing your property’s tax valuation to $140,000 their fee is $10,000 * your tax rate. If your tax rate is 3.0%, their fee would be $10,000 * 3.0% *50% equaling $150.00.
Bettencourt Tax Advisors (www.paulbettencourt.com) is a property tax consultant firm formed by Paul Bettencourt. Paul Bettencourt was the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector for many years before resigning in 2008. Their firm’s fee is 40% of the tax savings. If they are unsuccessful in reducing your real estate taxes, they will charge you their minimum fee of $75.00
You have until May 31st or 30 days after the date your property tax notice was mailed whichever was later to protest your property tax valuation. If you decide to dispute your property tax valuation, Good Luck and remember you never get anything unless you try.
Let me just start by saying that Jill made the daunting process of both selling my old home and finding... read moreLet me just start by saying that Jill made the daunting process of both selling my old home and finding my current one more pleasant than could have been expected. Throughout the entire process she was honest, easy to communicate with, and patient. When it came time to sell my old home, I contacted Jill and she met me at home at took the time to get to know me, why I was wanting to move, my timeframe. She showed me the comps she already prepared, and explained the entire process. We then did a walkthrough of house where Jill identified items that needed to be addressed to make the house more appealing (paint, fixtures, minor repairs). Once those issues were addressed, and the house was listed, it received multiple offers and Jill took the time to narrow down the best options and then explain what each one meant in detail with regards to the offer amount, type of financing and what it could mean down the road when it came to inspections and appraisals. Once we came to a decision on the right offer, the rest of the selling process moved along smoothly and Jill was quick with updates each step of the way.As the closing date of my old home approached, the focus shifted to finding a new home. Jill was very accommodating during this time as my fiancé and I had a very small window of time during each day where we were both available for showings. Jill was routinely able to get the showings scheduled during this time, often on short notice, and was helpful at pointing out things both positive and negative that we may not have noticed otherwise. No example better illustrated this than when we found a home that appeared to check all the boxes. During the showing, Jill pointed out the proximity to a major road, and the road noise during morning and evening traffic, and even brought up potential future expansion of road and surrounding area. Despite this warning, we were so enamored with the house that we went ahead and put in an offer. While waiting to find out if the offer would be accepted, I heeded Jill’s advice and checked into expansion projects, and decided to drive back by the house during rush hour to check on the road noise. We ended up pulling the offer and Jill seemed genuinely relieved. I appreciated the fact that she was willing to be as adamant about the issue as she was when she could have easily let us make that mistake, and made the sale. A short time later we did find the home that checked all the boxes without any road noise or any other issues, and the purchase process went as smooth as the selling process had been for my old home. Even months after closing, Jill continues to be helpful as she was able to provide quality handyman references for some small projects that I needed done. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with and getting to know Jill and I can’t recommend her enough. read less