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Wade Giles - Realtor

From the Desk of Wade:

A Homeowner's Guide to Protesting Property Appraisals in Travis County

So, you've opened your mailbox and found the latest appraisal notice for your home, and the number seems off, right? Well, you're not stuck with it—there's a way to challenge that figure if you think it's too high. Here’s a simple, straightforward guide to assist you in contesting your property appraisal, which in turn could potentially reduce your tax bill.

Why Even Bother Protesting?

Sometimes, the assessed value of your home can be out of sync with reality. Maybe they missed that your basement has been a fixer-upper project for years, or they haven’t noticed that the market in your area has cooled off a bit. If your property’s valuation feels off the mark, protesting is definitely worth considering.

First Things First: Mark the Calendar

Timing is everything here. For the 2024 appraisal season, make sure you file your protest by May 15, 2024, or within 30 days after your appraisal notice was sent out—whichever gives you more time. Don’t miss this window, or you’ll have to wait another year to make your case.

How to Protest Your Property Appraisal: A Step-by-Step Breakdown

Step 1: Get Your Ducks in a Row

Your first move is to collect evidence that supports your claim that your house isn’t worth as much as they say. This could include photos of parts of your house that are in disrepair, comps of similar homes in your neighborhood that sold for less, or an independent appraisal. 

Step 2: Let’s Make It Official

You can protest online, by mail, or in person—but I’d recommend going online for convenience. Check out the Travis Central Appraisal District website for the specifics on how to file. Make sure you have all your documents neatly organized and ready to go.

Step 3: Showtime at the Hearing

After you file, you’ll get a date for your hearing with the Appraisal Review Board (ARB).

 

You can appear at the ARB hearing in person, by telephone or videoconference or by filing a written affidavit. The ARB hearing procedures may tell you how many hard copies of evidence you may need for the ARB or panel members or what electronic devices may be acceptable for presenting your evidence electronically. You should become thoroughly familiar with the ARB procedures and adhere to them.

 

For a deeper dive into what to expect from the ARB hearing, check out the Texas Comptroller for all the details.

Step 4: The Hearing Itself

This is where you present your case to the ARB. Keep things clear and to the point, using your evidence to back up your claims. The ARB will hear you out, they’ll also hear from the appraiser, and then they’ll make a decision.

Step 5: What Happens Next

If the ARB sees things your way, your property’s value will be adjusted, and you’ll likely pay less in taxes. If not, and you really believe they got it wrong, you can take things further by appealing to the state district court.

A Few Pro Tips

  • Keep Things Tidy: An organized presentation of your evidence makes you look prepared and credible.
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  • Stay Cool: Keep the tone professional and the conversation respectful, no matter how the hearing goes.
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  • Get Some Help: If things get tricky, or this all feels too overwhelming, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional, like a property tax consultant or an attorney. Reach out to us if you need some recommendations.

Challenging your property appraisal might seem daunting, but it’s actually a pretty straightforward process. Plus, it can really pay off. Just remember to stick to the deadlines, come prepared, and keep your cool. Good luck!

 

Wade.

 

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