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Property taxes after purchasing new home


longcat

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I've got a question I was hoping the knowledgeable people here could help me with. We're going to close on a home in West U area soon that has a current HCAD appraised value (and market value in HCAD) much lower than the price we are paying. Could someone explain to me what will happen to the appraised value next year as I see several potential options based on some preliminary research:

1) appraised value rises to purchase price - I would have thought this was what happens for sure, except it didn't in my last house purchase.

2) appraised value rises to purchase price, but the 10% yearly cap keeps it from going all the way up.

3) appraised value rises in line with some neighborhood value index or the like

And before I get slammed for buying a house without knowing what the true financial cost is likely to be, I budgeted for worst case scenario where the appraised value rises to the purchase price.

Thanks for any insight

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I've got a question I was hoping the knowledgeable people here could help me with. We're going to close on a home in West U area soon that has a current HCAD appraised value (and market value in HCAD) much lower than the price we are paying. Could someone explain to me what will happen to the appraised value next year as I see several potential options based on some preliminary research:

1) appraised value rises to purchase price - I would have thought this was what happens for sure, except it didn't in my last house purchase.

2) appraised value rises to purchase price, but the 10% yearly cap keeps it from going all the way up.

3) appraised value rises in line with some neighborhood value index or the like

And before I get slammed for buying a house without knowing what the true financial cost is likely to be, I budgeted for worst case scenario where the appraised value rises to the purchase price.

Thanks for any insight

I think that #1 may happen, then again it may not. I have seen #1 happen. I think that #2 occurs after a new owner taker over, but you can be hit with a full increase on the first appraisal.

Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

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I've got a question I was hoping the knowledgeable people here could help me with. We're going to close on a home in West U area soon that has a current HCAD appraised value (and market value in HCAD) much lower than the price we are paying. Could someone explain to me what will happen to the appraised value next year as I see several potential options based on some preliminary research:

1) appraised value rises to purchase price - I would have thought this was what happens for sure, except it didn't in my last house purchase.

2) appraised value rises to purchase price, but the 10% yearly cap keeps it from going all the way up.

3) appraised value rises in line with some neighborhood value index or the like

And before I get slammed for buying a house without knowing what the true financial cost is likely to be, I budgeted for worst case scenario where the appraised value rises to the purchase price.

Thanks for any insight

the cap won't come into play here since the homestead is lost during the sale. at MOST legally, it will be the purchase price. a friend down the street bought one and the county raised it to more than she paid. She protested with the purchase price and they lowered it to that. basically the county knows that many don't understand the process.

Edited by musicman
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Here is the reply from HCAD on your topic. I emailed them about the same thing last year and I cut and pasted their reply into my Palm. You will find it below:

October 2005

We do use the sale price, but not necessarily will the value equal the sale price. It would depend on other sales in the neighborhood, did the buyer pay too much, was it arms length (not a foreclosure, family, distress sale, etc). We review values annually and depending on sales activity in a neighborhood, the value could change each year, decrease/increase based on sales. Our general reappraisal is every odd year.

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Thanks for the responses. It sounds like I'll just have to sit tight and wait for HCAD's "magic 8 ball" to come up with a number. I guess anything less than the sales price will be free money, but it would be nice to have some budgeting certainty.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've done some further research on this, which might be interesting to some people. I found an article that mentioned that HCAD gets sales prices from the MLS, so even if you don't fill out the little card they send you they will know what the sales price was for purposes of reappraisal. The article below mentions that some people (at the high end) are not reporting their sales prices to the MLS. I don't know how that is possible though as the listing agent has control over the updating, is required to do so by HAR rules, and has no incentive to not update the MLS (you might be able to talk 'your' buyers agent into it, but I can't see the seller's agent going for it as there is nothing in it for them.) Any idea how they are keeping the MLS for getting the sales price then?

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metrop...ey/4327162.html

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I just looked at our old house in Tanglewood. We had been able to keep it very low due to the fact we had lived there 10 years. The new owners got slammed for the full sale price the next year. But I think it also has to do with how closely HCAD is watching certain neighborhoods....or which way the wind is blowing...

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I've done some further research on this, which might be interesting to some people. I found an article that mentioned that HCAD gets sales prices from the MLS, so even if you don't fill out the little card they send you they will know what the sales price was for purposes of reappraisal. The article below mentions that some people (at the high end) are not reporting their sales prices to the MLS. I don't know how that is possible though as the listing agent has control over the updating, is required to do so by HAR rules, and has no incentive to not update the MLS (you might be able to talk 'your' buyers agent into it, but I can't see the seller's agent going for it as there is nothing in it for them.) Any idea how they are keeping the MLS for getting the sales price then?

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metrop...ey/4327162.html

“…Sands Stiefer, the chief deputy at the Harris County Appraisal District, wasn't surprised at what I found.

The district, he said, has access to the data collected by the Houston Association of Realtors, but it is most reliable with mid-range houses.

"It is really easy to get data about the transactions from $60,000 to $200,000 or $300,000," he said. "Lower than that, transactions are often between individuals and not reported. Higher than that they often don't report the sales price."”

Not only are we talking about HAR data, but often times the sales price (or close to it) is on the deed because of the mortgage, and of course HCAD has the deed info.

Edited by jm1fd
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Interesting question. I posted a similar question to another topic.

If you overpaid for your house, I doubt you'd fully be exposed to the full tax burden. Since HCAD land values are computed by a formula (land square feet within individual subdivisions), your land assessment cannot rise unless the entire subdivision rises. Since you overpaid, it wouldn't be fair to increase land assessment for the entire subdivision. The rest of the slack would have to be taken up by the structure assessment. And frankly, HCAD won't increase the assessed value of a structure by, say, 30%.

All this IMO.

Edited by mpbro
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  • 1 month later...
This is something you may want to look at as well. Did you go off of improved or unimproved taxes? Here is a good link: http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/prop...c04/ch11b3a.htm

Thanks for the information. Taxes were based on improved value, but the house has not had any work done, so there should not be a difference because of that.

Still awaiting the new appraised value from HCAD post sale. Does anyone know when to expect that notification? I think I have a potential case for appeal if it does increase substantially based on these facts:

-Original structure is unimproved from before sale.

-Whole neighborhood has been appreciating at a very fast clip, but it's all land value that's going up essentially.

I would think that HCAD would have difficulty increasing the land value for the entire neighborhood as dramatically as it has in real life (big assumption), but if true, then the only way they could get my value up to the sales price would be through increasing the improvement value as well, which I can appeal because nothing has changed about it.

So assuming the above, can I go into HCAD with the argument that they are low on the land value (which they won't change for the entire neghborhood just because of me), but high on the improvement value....and so my improvement value should be lowered and land value left the same???

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Thanks for the information. Taxes were based on improved value, but the house has not had any work done, so there should not be a difference because of that.

Still awaiting the new appraised value from HCAD post sale. Does anyone know when to expect that notification? I think I have a potential case for appeal if it does increase substantially based on these facts:

-Original structure is unimproved from before sale.

-Whole neighborhood has been appreciating at a very fast clip, but it's all land value that's going up essentially.

I would think that HCAD would have difficulty increasing the land value for the entire neighborhood as dramatically as it has in real life (big assumption), but if true, then the only way they could get my value up to the sales price would be through increasing the improvement value as well, which I can appeal because nothing has changed about it.

So assuming the above, can I go into HCAD with the argument that they are low on the land value (which they won't change for the entire neghborhood just because of me), but high on the improvement value....and so my improvement value should be lowered and land value left the same???

If you just bought the house, HCAD will be using the paperworked filed at the county which usually has how much you paid for the home. Appealing that will be difficult because you paid a certain amount for the home and that is what they will probably place its value as.

As for the land value vs. the house value, there's less leeway on changing the land value because most likely all your neighbors will have similar numbers. The last couple of yrs I know my land value has gone up (as has my neighbors) and the value of the structure is decreased accordingly and then they apply 10% cap. Then you go in a protest, the value of your house goes down but the property value stays the same.

It isn't out of the question that the HCAD value is lower than the sale price, however the large majority of the time they do the easy thing and use the sale price.

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Still awaiting the new appraised value from HCAD post sale. Does anyone know when to expect that notification? I think I have a potential case for appeal if it does increase substantially based on these facts

New valuation data comes out, IIRC, in March or so. Your market and appraised value should be what you paid for the property or more. Full stop. A transaction for the property occured on the open market and thus firmly established the market value, and the law says, yo' ass gets taxed on the market value.

Doesn't matter what everybody else's values are....if they are below market, then it is because they're capped, but they will eventually be brought up in line with yours if enough years go by.

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Land value going up is how they tax the poor people out of the neighboorhood. Look at the values in Spring Branch where they are building expensive homes. The land value can be more than the house value. This makes it easier to get the poor people in old homes to move. Eventually they can't afford their property taxes any more and they have to sell. I think this is part of why they want to keep property taxes.

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Land value going up is how they tax the poor people out of the neighboorhood. Look at the values in Spring Branch where they are building expensive homes. The land value can be more than the house value. This makes it easier to get the poor people in old homes to move. Eventually they can't afford their property taxes any more and they have to sell. I think this is part of why they want to keep property taxes.

Land value going up is a product of land value going up. Property taxes follow. The reason we keep property taxes is because we don't have or want a state income tax.

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New valuation data comes out, IIRC, in March or so. Your market and appraised value should be what you paid for the property or more. Full stop. A transaction for the property occured on the open market and thus firmly established the market value, and the law says, yo' ass gets taxed on the market value.

Doesn't matter what everybody else's values are....if they are below market, then it is because they're capped, but they will eventually be brought up in line with yours if enough years go by.

My question is more about the mechanism for bringing up my property to the established market value. The land value is set based on the neighborhood, so it seems like the improvement value is the only real variable at play that then absorbes all the rest of the increase needed to bring the total value up to the sales price, right?

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My question is more about the mechanism for bringing up my property to the established market value. The land value is set based on the neighborhood, so it seems like the improvement value is the only real variable at play that then absorbes all the rest of the increase needed to bring the total value up to the sales price, right?

yeah basically. if your property went up this yr, if you go onto HCAD and look at your neighbors, they will most likely have also gone up accordingly.

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My question is more about the mechanism for bringing up my property to the established market value. The land value is set based on the neighborhood, so it seems like the improvement value is the only real variable at play that then absorbes all the rest of the increase needed to bring the total value up to the sales price, right?

If I understand your question correctly, the land value could go up also. I'm thinking of inner city neighborhoods where lots are available and lot prices are rising. In a large suburban subdivision that is built out, lots may not be available but the increase in appraised value will still be divided between the land and the structure. I would think there is a formula but I don't know it.

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My question is more about the mechanism for bringing up my property to the established market value. The land value is set based on the neighborhood, so it seems like the improvement value is the only real variable at play that then absorbes all the rest of the increase needed to bring the total value up to the sales price, right?

No. You're taking too simplistic an approach. All the lots in the 'hood aren't equally desirable, therefore they aren't equally valued.

If your sale (and others) indicate higher prices in the 'hood, then HCAD will adjust everybody's upward proportionally.

Or, on the other hand, if your lot is demonstrably more desirable then they can raise your value without consideration to the rest of the 'hood.

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I want to be taxed on my income, not on what I own. It currently takes 8% of my income to pay my property taxes. Compared to most state income taxes that is very high.

Land value going up is a product of land value going up. Property taxes follow. The reason we keep property taxes is because we don't have or want a state income tax.
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I want to be taxed on my income, not on what I own. It currently takes 8% of my income to pay my property taxes. Compared to most state income taxes that is very high.

Move to a different state.

I happen to like the Texas tax system....it gives me the ability to control how much I'm taxed without having to limit my earnings. Make big bucks, live in a modest home, and effectively what you've got is a very low income tax rate.

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Move to a different state.

I happen to like the Texas tax system....it gives me the ability to control how much I'm taxed without having to limit my earnings. Make big bucks, live in a modest home, and effectively what you've got is a very low income tax rate.

Then after you make the big bucks move to another state with Income Tax and Low real estate tax and have the best of both worlds?

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Then after you make the big bucks move to another state with Income Tax and Low real estate tax and have the best of both worlds?

Potentially, sure. Although If you're saying retirement....well...you get a pretty healthy tax break with an over 65 exemption here in Texas.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...
no, actually I've seen it increased almost 50% :ph34r:

Well crap, my 2007 appraisal value just showed up online and I'm not too pleased. I bought my place in August 2006 for just under 10% UNDER the tax appraisal, which seemed artificially high to me versus other houses in the area. Anyway, for 2007 they actually increased the appraisal by 15%, making it nearly 25% above what I actually paid just 8 months ago.

Is this good grounds for a successful protest? I've got documentation showing my purchase price and the appraisal done during the purchase, which shows the various comps used to arrive at a value very near that purchase price. Is it as simple as filling out that form, including some documentation, and sending in a package to them? I've never owned a place before this

I also have a friend who has a new place that really went up in appraisal value, only it has the wrong details (says 3 bedroom, 2500 sq ft when it's 2 bedroom, 2000 sq ft). Are the details shown on hcad.org the basis for their calculations?

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Well crap, my 2007 appraisal value just showed up online and I'm not too pleased. I bought my place in August 2006 for just under 10% UNDER the tax appraisal, which seemed artificially high to me versus other houses in the area. Anyway, for 2007 they actually increased the appraisal by 15%, making it nearly 25% above what I actually paid just 8 months ago.

Is this good grounds for a successful protest? I've got documentation showing my purchase price and the appraisal done during the purchase, which shows the various comps used to arrive at a value very near that purchase price. Is it as simple as filling out that form, including some documentation, and sending in a package to them? I've never owned a place before this

I also have a friend who has a new place that really went up in appraisal value, only it has the wrong details (says 3 bedroom, 2500 sq ft when it's 2 bedroom, 2000 sq ft). Are the details shown on hcad.org the basis for their calculations?

yes go protest! you should win that easily.

if something has the wrong details, you can save that for a later year too. i know my friend's garage burned down and it still shows up. this year she will be using that info.

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I also just bought a home. This one was recently completed and brand new. While looking at the paperwork on the closing they maxed out my property tax at over $600.00 per month!!! They said this is because the taxes havent be assessed yet. I am looking forward to how this works and if my payment will change. Anyone know how to get this information?

Thanks

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I also just bought a home. This one was recently completed and brand new. While looking at the paperwork on the closing they maxed out my property tax at over $600.00 per month!!! They said this is because the taxes havent be assessed yet. I am looking forward to how this works and if my payment will change. Anyone know how to get this information?

Thanks

maxed out? there is no maximum. just keep checking hcad.org and put in your address. you can also email them. you'll usually get a response in a day or so.

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Well crap, my 2007 appraisal value just showed up online and I'm not too pleased. I bought my place in August 2006 for just under 10% UNDER the tax appraisal, which seemed artificially high to me versus other houses in the area. Anyway, for 2007 they actually increased the appraisal by 15%, making it nearly 25% above what I actually paid just 8 months ago.

Is this good grounds for a successful protest? I've got documentation showing my purchase price and the appraisal done during the purchase, which shows the various comps used to arrive at a value very near that purchase price. Is it as simple as filling out that form, including some documentation, and sending in a package to them? I've never owned a place before this

I also have a friend who has a new place that really went up in appraisal value, only it has the wrong details (says 3 bedroom, 2500 sq ft when it's 2 bedroom, 2000 sq ft). Are the details shown on hcad.org the basis for their calculations?

Yes. You can protest. You will win. Don't mention anything other than what you paid for it. Ignore the comps....your purchase is the best comp. You will have to go down there, and probably go before an appraisal review board for the protest, but it should be pretty easy. The documentation you'll need will be your closing statement.

As to your friend...yes...square footage is one of the major factors in the calculation. Number of bedrooms...not so much. He should file a protest, and cite the reason as inaccurate square footage/property attributes/whatevertheycallit.

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  • 1 month later...

I got my 2007 hcad valuation, and at first blush it's pretty reasonable since it is under what I paid for the property last year. However, in comparing the improvements portion of the market valuation to many of my neighbors houses with comparable statistics (age built, size, 2 story, style...etc) my improvements value is more than double theirs. I would have thought that that would be ironclad evidence for an 'unequal appraisal' appeal, but in looking at HCAD's website, you are only able to use recently sold houses as comparables. How does that fulfill the intent of the 'unequal appraisal' avenue for protest???? I have no objection to paying my fair share, but why should similar structures in similar states of depreciation and with similar renovations be taxed at over 100% different amounts???

HCAD's stated methodology for filing an 'unequal appraisal' protest forces you to use only comparable sold houses. When I look at those for my area, I find that they are in a similar situation and so provide little evidence of unequal valuation. So my question is do I have to use the formalized and rigid 'step by step' approach that HCAD lays out for making an unequal appraisal protest, or can I put my analytical skills to use and make a case based on whatever relevant data I can find?

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I got my 2007 hcad valuation, and at first blush it's pretty reasonable since it is under what I paid for the property last year. However, in comparing the improvements portion of the market valuation to many of my neighbors houses with comparable statistics (age built, size, 2 story, style...etc) my improvements value is more than double theirs. I would have thought that that would be ironclad evidence for an 'unequal appraisal' appeal, but in looking at HCAD's website, you are only able to use recently sold houses as comparables. How does that fulfill the intent of the 'unequal appraisal' avenue for protest???? I have no objection to paying my fair share, but why should similar structures in similar states of depreciation and with similar renovations be taxed at over 100% different amounts???

HCAD's stated methodology for filing an 'unequal appraisal' protest forces you to use only comparable sold houses. When I look at those for my area, I find that they are in a similar situation and so provide little evidence of unequal valuation. So my question is do I have to use the formalized and rigid 'step by step' approach that HCAD lays out for making an unequal appraisal protest, or can I put my analytical skills to use and make a case based on whatever relevant data I can find?

Longcat

I have never used unequal appraisal in my protests, and was thinking about using it myself this year after I got the solicitation from O'Connor, I did not realize you had to use recent sales in the unequal appraisal analyss, but I just checked the HCAD web site and that sure seems to be what it says on page 9, item 3 of the EqualAppraisal pdf on the HCAD web site.

I checked O'Connor's web site, and his write up does not mention this -

Uniform and Equal Approach

The Texas Property Tax Code was amended in 2003 to allow property tax for property owners to protest based on "a reasonable number of comparable properties appropriately adjusted." This new section of the Texas Property Tax Code allows a protest based on a limited number (perhaps 3 to 10) of assessment comparables. Some appraisal districts agree and are considering protests under the section. Others have chosen to interpret this section differently.

To prepare a protest using Uniform and Equal, gather data on assessed values for property similar to your property. Make adjustments for significant differences between the assessment comparables and your property. This can include items such as building size, land size, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, size of garage, site influences, age, etc. Make negative (downward adjustments) to an assessment comparable for items that are superior in the assessment comparable. For example, if the assessment comparable has four bedrooms and your house has three bedrooms, make a downward adjustment to the assessed value for the assessment comparable for this item. After applying appropriate adjustments to the assessment comparables, calculate the median level of assessment for the assessment comparables. The median is the middle data point after the adjusted assessment comparables are arrayed in order of increasing or decreasing (on a per square foot value basis). Multiply the median per square foot assessed value times the size of your property (improved area) to calculate the value your home should be assessed for based on Uniform and Equal. Section 41.43 of the Texas Property Tax Code provides you the opportunity to protest using this methodology. However, don't be surprised if your local appraisal district is not receptive to this method of protest.

I think I will give O'Connor's office a call and ask them directly what their take on what Section 41.43 allows, and their take on whether the HCAD would accept an unequal appraisal analysis based on compariosn to properties that were not recent sales.

I went to a presentation Pat O'Connor gave at a local real estate investment club last week, Pat talked about unequal appraisal, I do not remember him saying anything about having to use properties that were recent sales in the analysis.

I am wondering if Section 41.43 is as restrictive as the methodology HCAD is telling us to use - can HCAD refuse to accept a methodology that does not use properties that were recent sales in the unequal appraisal analysis..................

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Spidey,

Thanks and please let me know what you find out from O'conner. I'm very interested to hear, and would also consider using his firm since public speaking really isn't my thing.

I called O'Connor's office yesterday, ended up talking to a lower level employee who tried to be helpful, however she had not even heard of using unequal appraisal as the basis for a protest.

She gave me the name and email address of one of her co-workers who she said would be able to answer my question, I fired off an email but received no response so far.

I then sent an email to the president of a small firm in the Woodlands that does property tax protests (I heard him speak at another real estate investment group earlier this month), he sent me the following reply by email

" There is nothing requiring that the properties be recent sales. HCAD often utilizes some sales comparables in their unequal analysis, but they do acknowledge all reasonably adjusted comparables whether they have sold or not. I haven

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Just passing this on in case it may be helpful for anyone - HCAD and GCAD are conducting seminars on how to protest your property appraisals....................

Harris County Tax Office Media Advisory

Harris County Tax Office Along with HCAD and Galveston County TAC Conducting Appraisal Protest Seminars before Deadline

HOUSTON
- May 25, 2007 - Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt along with Harris County Appraisal District Chief Appraiser Jim Robinson and Galveston County Tax Assessor-Collector Cheryl Johnson will conduct simultaneous two-county taxpayer appraisal protest seminars on May 30, 2007. The deadline to protest property appraisals for most accounts is May 31, 2007.

Who:
Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt

Harris County Chief Appraiser Jim Robinson Galveston County Tax Assessor-Collector Cheryl Johnson

What:
How to Protest your Property Appraisals

When:
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where:
Harris County

Taste of Texas

10505 Katy Freeway

Houston, TX 77024

Galveston County

Galveston County North Annex

174 Calder

League City, TX 77573

Why:
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  • 1 month later...

Update - I went before the board, and they reduced my improvement value based on my unequal appraisal argument. The issue about only using recent sales comps in an unequal appraisal protest did not come up at all.

I have one question though. One of the things presented by HCAD against me was the 'Cost and Design' portion of the 'Building Data' that they keep. They list my house as 'Total' which means that it has been completely renovated, while all my comps were 'partial' or 'extensive'. I can't find any formal definition for these terms on the HCAD website. Who determines what is 'extensive' versus what is 'total', and how is that determination made? I really disagree with the 'total' designation, but don't even know where to start in terms of how to get it changed.

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Update - I went before the board, and they reduced my improvement value based on my unequal appraisal argument. The issue about only using recent sales comps in an unequal appraisal protest did not come up at all.

I have one question though. One of the things presented by HCAD against me was the 'Cost and Design' portion of the 'Building Data' that they keep. They list my house as 'Total' which means that it has been completely renovated, while all my comps were 'partial' or 'extensive'. I can't find any formal definition for these terms on the HCAD website. Who determines what is 'extensive' versus what is 'total', and how is that determination made? I really disagree with the 'total' designation, but don't even know where to start in terms of how to get it changed.

Probably take pictures to show that portions are original, and present that to the review board. At the beginning of the hearing they should ask you if everything on your record is correct.

I'm thinking my best shot this year is unequal appraisial based on HCAD's own numbers for other houses in my 'hood....based on the junk I got on the mail from O'Connor, that's how they do their unequal appraisials. Hopefully I'll be one of the last folks in the 'hood to go before the board, then I can use everybody that's already gone before the board and gotten a reduction as evidence. LOL

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  • 2 weeks later...
Probably take pictures to show that portions are original, and present that to the review board. At the beginning of the hearing they should ask you if everything on your record is correct.

I'm thinking my best shot this year is unequal appraisial based on HCAD's own numbers for other houses in my 'hood....based on the junk I got on the mail from O'Connor, that's how they do their unequal appraisials. Hopefully I'll be one of the last folks in the 'hood to go before the board, then I can use everybody that's already gone before the board and gotten a reduction as evidence. LOL

Does anyone have anything I could reference to demonstrate the reduced value of a 1985 remodel as opposed to a recent (1998-2005 remodel)?

I argued this to little avail with the appraiser and the ARB - I was wondering if there was any industry data, etc that I could use as reference next year?

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