In 2022, the real estate market in Fort Bend County, Texas, has been strong enough that homebuyers are often competing in bidding wars over the same property. Despite doom and gloom economic predictions in the past few years, the limited supply of single-family homes compared to the rapid growth of the Houston metropolitan area has kept prices rising in 2022.
But for homeowners in Fort Bend County, rising prices are often accompanied by higher property tax bills. Luckily, there are remedies available for property owners who think their taxes don’t reflect the actual value of their house, such as filing a property tax protest.
Many analysts first expected the COVID-19 pandemic to crater the economy and lead to a drop in home values. Fortunately, these predictions could not have been further from the truth, especially in growing areas like Fort Bend County.
According to the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District, COVID-19 led to solid growth in the county’s real estate market. During COVID and in 2021, many families left denser areas of the Houston area to find more room and space in places like Fort Bend County. Though over 9,000 new residential properties were built in the county, demand still outpaced supply.
According to Texas law, your property tax bills should be based on the market value of your home. The Fort Bend Central Appraisal District (FBCAD) is responsible for assessing the value of every tax-paying property in the county as of January 1. And as home sales continue to break records, FBCAD’s mass-appraisal techniques will likely be delivering significant tax increases to homeowners in 2022.
If FBCAD significantly increases the assessed value of your house, you’ll receive your new taxable value in a Notice of Appraised Value mailing. This value of your home, as determined by FBCAD, is used to calculate your property tax liability to every taxing unit in your area.
The Notice will also contain information on filing a property tax protest and a deadline for registering a protest with FBCAD. This is critical information for homeowners with new assessed values that may be incorrect or even exceed the maximum legal increase.
Texas law caps assessed value increases on homestead properties at 10% each year unless the increase in value is based on improvements made to the property. However, you must qualify for a homestead exemption to be subject to this cap. The capped appraised value law is meant to protect homeowners from shocking increases in their tax liability. While a 10% increase in assessed value still leads to significant increases in your tax bills, the cap is vital for many long-term owners.
For you to qualify for a homestead exemption, your home must be your principal residence and cannot be owned by a business entity. You cannot receive the Texas exemption if you claim a homestead exemption or list a primary residence anywhere else. Additionally, homestead exemptions are not automatically granted. Rather, they must be applied for by the homeowner.
Home values may still be increasing in Fort Bend County, but that does not mean your new assessed value correctly reflects the market value of your house. Because the FBCAD uses mass-appraisal techniques, your value may be incorrect if the data or models used are faulty.
Luckily, every property owner in the state of Texas has the right to file a property tax protest to limit their liability. The team at Watchtower Protest can present a strong case that your property taxes should be reduced.
Our knowledgeable staff will use our-cutting edge market models to determine the actual value of your property. We can also identify missed opportunities for savings, such as the capped appraisal value for homesteads that should have applied to your house. You can sign-up for our tax protest services online without any out-of-pocket costs.
This blog post will tell you everything you need to know about filing a Texas Do It Yourself (DIY) property tax protest.