property taxes

Home Appraisal Notices Arriving with ‘Sticker Shock' for Many

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Homeowners in some of the region’s fastest-growing communities are feeling ‘sticker shock’ as notices of their home’s appraised value start arriving in the mail this week.

In a press release, the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts announced ‘historic growth in Texas real estate values’ with regions experiencing increases in values between 10-50% since last year, including 23.55% in DFW.

The increase is due, in part, to massive population growth and competition for fewer homes.

Collin County homeowner James Anning just about got the wind knocked out of him after opening his home’s appraisal notice.

“Not much shocks me but this was a real sticker shock,” he said. “I had to sit down and put my glasses on like: This can’t be right.”

The Collin Central Appraisal District’s appraisal notice states his house increased in value by 40%, around $100,000. Anning’s two rental properties also saw increases in appraised value.

Appraisal districts administer exemptions, determine market value appraisals and facilitate protest hearings.

“I was expecting a 10% increase, maybe 15 and I was going to be unhappy with 20%, but I’m very unhappy with 40-60%,” said Anning.

On its website, CCAD alerted homeowners to expect between 28-30% increases in home values this year.

A stunning increase, even for Bo Daffin, CCAD’s chief appraiser who says the average increase of a homestead appraisal went from $396,500 in 2021 to $509,000 in 2022.

“I haven’t in my time working in Collin County seen that type of year-over-year increase,” said Daffin.

This year, the Texas Legislature requires appraisal districts to appraise at 100% of market value, he says.

According to CCAD’s website, May 15th is the statutory deadline unless the deadline falls on a weekend, or holiday, then the deadline is the next business day (or 30 days after notice of assessed value is mailed, whichever is later). The Collin County appraisal district is only required to send a notice of assessed value if the assessed value increased by more than $1,000.

It is important for homeowners to check appraisal notices carefully to ensure all applicable exemptions are in place.

“If the property was homestead-ed last year, therefore protected by the 10% cap, they need to be sure that the assessed value not the market value but the assessed value on the notice would address the cap to protect them even though the market value may go up 30%,” said Daffin.

Anning has long held a homestead exemption on his main home and will file a protest but argues: “It’s not going to do much good because it’ll lower the market value, but they still have a big gap between the appraised value they tax on and the market value it’s worth. So, even if I were to lower the market value 50% in their eyes, they will get two, three, four more years of increasing 10% with nothing I can do about it and that’s assuming they don’t raise the market value in three, four years which you know they will. So, I’ll be chasing something I can never catch.”

Will Wiggins, owner of NorthTexasPropertyTaxServices estimates one out of three properties are valued incorrectly and could be lowered through a successful protest before an appraisal review board.

“You got to get in there and make sure those values are accurate and look at the class and quality construction, depreciation and look at the values that the district is providing for and make sure it all makes sense,” said Wiggins.

His advice for homeowners protesting appraisal notices:

“It’s not about taxes. The discussion is not about taxes, it’s all about your value and how you arrive at a fair and equal value of everyone else,” he said. “I would stay on topic. Keep your keys simple. That’s the best advice I can give is you don’t get very long to make these arguments in front of the appraisal review board, maybe five minutes tops, so keep your keys simple and make sure it’s about value.”

Gather evidence, including photographs, experts say.

“You have two years retroactively to get that homestead approved so if you forgot last year, you’re not out of it. You can go back, you can apply now, and you can have your homestead exemption for the last two years if you need,” said Wiggins.

Denton County, like Collin, is among the Top Ten Counties in the U.S. for population growth, according to census data.

Denton County’s chief appraiser estimates 25% increases in market value this year for single-family residential properties.

Denton County’s website states, the deadline for filing a protest with the ARB is May 15 or 30 days after your notice of appraised value was delivered to you.

Wiggins cautions there are some counties like Denton and Collin that may offer limited information online.

“Once you filed your protest, just make a request for evidence and they are required to send you the evidence that they’re going to use in your hearing,” he said.

As deadlines to file protests approach, Wiggins advises homeowners unsure of whether they will protest their home’s appraised value to file for a protest in order to buy you time to consider your options.

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