The first time was easy. We had bought our home six months earlier, and the appraisal district thought it had appreciated 20%!
I attended an informal meeting with an appraisal-district employee. When she looked at the copy of our closing documents, she immediately adjusted the price down to our purchase price. Simple as that. She said I could have handled the whole thing over the phone.
My second appraisal protest was only slightly more complicated. I came to the informal meeting with appraisals of comparable homes in my neighborhood and pictures of my house.
The appraisal district employee and I went back and forth over the details, and after 10 minutes, she dropped the appraisal. Not as much as I’d requested, but still a helpful amount.
So, I didn’t make it to the formal hearing with the appraisal review board either time. I hear from a friend of mine that’s a little more stressful, but still a fairly easy process if you do your homework.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to protest your appraisal.
Meet the deadline
According to the Texas comptroller, you have to file a written protest (for single-family residences) “by April 30 or no later than 30 days after the appraisal district mailed a notice of appraised value to you, whichever date is later; however, an owner may file a notice before June 1 if the ARB has not approved the appraisal records. Note that it is 30 days after mailing the notice, not its receipt.”
Depending on when your district mailed notices or approved the appraisal records, you may still have time to file.
Follow the rules
You can’t protest your appraisal on the basis that your tax bill is too high. Not successfully, anyway. You have to show that your property has been appraised higher than what it’s actually worth … or higher than other similar properties in your neighborhood.
Your opinion doesn’t carry much weight. Whether at an informal hearing or in front of the appraisal review board, you should focus on factual information supported by documentation.
Some people come to an appraisal protest ready to do battle. I’ve heard some loud, nasty folks while I was there to protest my appraisal. I don’t think that works. Just my opinion, but I bet appraisal-district employees and the appraisal review board members will probably respond better to homeowners who are polite and respectful.
You can find more specifics about how to protest your taxes from the state comptroller’s website.
Written by: Marty Kramer | Consumer columnist on TexasRealEstate.com
For Cameron County, go to www.cameroncad.org to print a form or submit online.