Allowing strangers to enter your home makes many homeowners uncomfortable. In Texas, you may be asked to allow a tax appraiser into your house for an in-home appraisal.
While you may naturally recoil at the idea of allowing the government into your home for an inspection, there may be value in letting the assessor do their job. In fact, an in-home appraisal can be the first step towards you paying less in Texas property taxes.
Every county in Texas has its own appraisal district that assesses all properties in the county for tax purposes. For most counties, it is impractical for the tax assessor to personally appraise each home, as there are simply too many properties.
Therefore, most Texas appraisal districts use mass appraisal techniques to come up with taxable assessments for numerous homes simultaneously. These mass appraisal techniques often apply computer modeling to available data to appraise all the local homes more efficiently within the time frame allowed by law.
However, tax assessors still make occasional house calls, especially if you have recently added improvements to your home. Though rare, if an assessor knocks on your door, you may want to consider letting them in.
Legally, the assessor can enter your house unless you explicitly deny them access. Explicit refusal can be in the form of a verbal denial or a written sign indicating no trespassing or entry.
If you deny them entry, the assessor will be required to complete their appraisal based on what they can see from the street. They must leave your property and make their appraisal with the information they have.
Still, if you allow the assessor in, it may be beneficial. Mass appraisal techniques will often miss the individual characteristics of your home. Additionally, your house may have nice curb appeal but show more wear and tear up close. If you allow the assessor in, you can guide them through your home and ensure they see all its flaws. The difference between a street view and an up-close assessment can result in a lower appraisal value and lower property tax bills.
All Texas homeowners have the right to file a property tax protest. Through a protest, you can challenge the tax assessor’s appraisal of your home and argue the value is incorrect. When you file a protest, you will receive a hearing before a local Appraisal Review Board (ARB).
Often, you can informally negotiate with the appraisal district regarding your home’s valuation before an ARB hearing. During a hearing in front of the ARB, you will explain why you disagree with the tax assessor’s appraisal. You can collect evidence that your assessment is too high and that the market value of your home is lower than the appraisal.
There is no requirement that you obtain your own independent appraisal. During a property tax protest, you can present a wide variety of arguments regarding why the valuation of your home is incorrect.
However, an independent appraisal completed by a reputable, local professional represents compelling evidence. The ARB may give significant weight to an appraisal with a lower market value for your house.
Texas allows all property owners to retain a qualified, professional representative to assist them during the protest process. At Watchtower, our team is ready to help you every step of the way.
From determining whether you should file a protest to ensuring all the paperwork is correctly formatted and gathering and presenting evidence, Watchtower Protest is a full-service organization.
The experienced professionals at Watchtower will evaluate your home with our proprietary modeling. If needed, we can also obtain the services of a professional appraiser. Finally, we can negotiate with the appraisal district on your behalf and present your arguments during your ARB hearing.
Best yet, Watchtower's services come with no risk to homeowners because we only get paid if the protest lowers your tax bills. So, sign up today for Watchtower’s property tax assistance through our convenient web portal.
Discover how Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal techniques could wrongly calculate your home's Texas property taxes