The first property tax appraisals of the year are hitting North Texas mailboxes as the Tarrant Appraisal District began sending notices this week. Dallas, Collin and Denton counties are expected to mail notices mid-month and most homeowners should expect to see an increase.
"Notices go out and the phones light up," said Will Wiggins, a property tax consultant with North Texas Property Tax Service.
Wiggins said his clients are already emailing him with their latest property value notices and most have seen significant increases.
"It's kind of a similar theme: they did it again. A lot of the clients we've had in prior years, we'll work to get their value at a fair rate. Then, next year will come around and their value will skyrocket," said Wiggins.
Jeff Glass, who has been in his Colleyville home for nine years, opened the mail Tuesday to find the market value of his house increased by nearly $66,000 in a year.
Over the last five years, the property value notice shows an increase of more than 30 percent.
"Shocked. Well, I say I was shocked, but it's always a shock when I see it," Glass explained. "At the same time, it’s happened every year."
Tarrant Appraisal District’s Chief Appraiser Jeff Law told NBC 5 by email the office is following real estate market trends and district's appraisal records show the average home value for Tarrant County in 2018 was $223,849.
Law pointed to Texas A&M Real Estate Center data showing the average home sales price in the Fort Worth and Arlington area increased from $237,238 in 2017 to $247,723 in 2018 to now $270,570 in 2019. Median home price has risen from $200,000 in 2017 to 214,500 in 2018 to $232,000 in 2019.
"We do not determine the marketplace we only follow what the real estate market is doing," Law wrote. "Buyers and sellers determine what property is worth. For the past several years demand has outpaced supply and that will always cause prices to increase."
Wiggins said homeowners should investigate their valuations by talking to neighbors and looking at similar properties. Any major deficiencies or repairs needed that may affect value should also be noted. Wiggins said it's helpful to turn in repair estimates and photo proof.
Homeowners who want to protest their 2019 property values can file a protest online.
But even if homeowners are successful at reducing their market value calculation, the final tax bill still depends on local government and school district budgets.
"The best thing that I always tell people they need to do is: get involved with their school districts at those hearings, at those bond issues," Wiggins said. "That’s where the real rubber meets the road in terms of increasing taxes."