You’ve probably already received your assessed property values from the Central Appraisal District. They determine how much you’ll be paying in property taxes so it makes sense to pay attention to them. Simply stated, when properties are overvalued by the appraisal district, those homeowners are overpaying in property taxes.
Homeowners usually react to these tax statements in three ways …
- They consider their property value assessment fair, or at least close enough that they don’t want to waste time looking into it. This is by far the greatest majority of homeowners.
- They might think their assessment is too high but aren’t sure. They just don’t know what to do about it.
- They know their property valuation is high and are ready to protest it. They just need some ammunition.
If you’re in the second or third category, we might be able to help. We’re setting aside time through the entire 30 day appeals window to meet with any homeowner who has questions or needs sale comparables. We’re providing this as a complimentary, no cost, no obligation public service. The only thing we ask is you let us know what day and time you will be visiting our office so we can make sure at least one of our agents is there to help you. The sign-up form is at the bottom of the page.
There’s more to contesting your appraised value than just showing up at the Collin County office with comparable sales. You should be prepared and know what you want and why. There’s a strategy involved to building a case, which is why we encourage you to visit personally with our agents so we can go over some tips with you.
There Are 6 Important Timelines to Remember
- January 1st – The condition of your home on this date is what the appraisal district will be using for assessing values.
- March 1st of the prior year through January 31st of the current year – The date range in which sale comparables for your property can be used. Sales outside of that date range are usually not considered, however in certain special circumstances the district will make an exception.
- April 15th – Collin County residents start receiving their Notice of Appraised Value
- April 16th – the first day you can protest your tax valuation with the appraisal district
- April 19th, April 26th, May 3rd, May 10th – The Collin County offices will remain open until 7 PM
- May 15th or 30 days after the delivery of the Notice of Appraised Value, whichever is later – the last day to appeal your taxes
Some Quick Notes About the The Tax Appraisal Process
- Before you start laying out your case, let your assessor know the price you are looking for.
- Your home is being assessed on the condition it was in on January 1st, 2018. Remember, you’re always paying property taxes in arrears (for the prior year), not the year you receive the notice of appraised value.
- There are 35 appraisal district employees who are responsible for valuations on all the homes in Collin County.
- Every residential property is reviewed at least once every three years. That includes a drive-by visual inspection. They will not enter a home unless the homeowner invites them in.
- The appraisal district belongs to the MLS and sale comparables are just one of the many tools they use to assign a value to a property. Building permits and aerial views of your home are two others.
- If your home did not sell through the MLS, you will receive a letter asking what you paid for your home. You are not required to respond to that letter.
- The appraisal district pays a 3rd party service called Pictometry for aerial views. Low flying airplanes provide close-up shots so they can compare what structures are currently on the property and what was there in prior years.
- According to the appraisal district representative we interviewed, about 95% of people who walk in to protest their taxes bring nothing with them. It will help you tremendously to bring anything pertinent to support your case such as estimates of repairs needed, photos of damage, sale comparables within the acceptable date range, etc.
- Appraisers aren’t required to stay within your subdivision for sale comparables, but they always try to
- If you decide to protest your taxes, the first meeting should take no more than about 15 minutes and you’ll be given their decision right then. If you agree with the assessment, you’ll sign off and will have no further right to appeal.
- If you cannot comes to terms with the appraiser on a valuation, your case goes before the ABR (Appraisal Review Board) at a later date.
- You will also be given a decision immediately after you meet with the ABR. If you still cannot come to an agreement on the valuation, the next step is either arbitration or litigation
- The appraisal district representative we talked to told us the most difficult properties to assess are custom homes on acreage. Fairview, Lucas, and Parker are prime examples. I’ve said many times, pricing homes in these areas is an art, not a science.
- In my opinion, the appraisal district tries to be fair although many might disagree. You have to remember, it’s up to them to come up with a value on your property, but it’s up to you to determine if they got it right. They use very advanced software and algorithms to arrive at their valuations, but at the end of the day, it’s still just their opinion.
Remember, these valuations are their opinions and not set in stone.