Your property taxes are based on the value of your property as determined by a local assessor. Since assessors are human, they make mistakes. If you can prove mistakes were made on the assessment of your property, then you may get substantially lower property taxes. You will have only a limited time to make an appeal, so contact your local assessor’s office for details.
Check for Assessor Mistakes
Get the assessor’s card for your property and go over it very carefully. There could be little mistakes that winds up making you pay big taxes. Check that the home is described property, has all special features listed and is as large as the assessor claims it is.
Put Off Repair and Remodeling Jobs
If possible, put off any repairs or remodeling projects until after your home has been reassessed. A repaired or fixed-up home is considered more valuable than a beat-up old home. You can get free written estimates from contractors or pest control companies which you can bring to your hearing.
Take Plenty of Photos
Get your camera and take photos of how bad the neighborhood is, any repairs needed on the home or anything else than can help devalue your home. Is the parking bad? Is the house right next to a train track? Is the house across the street burnt down? All of these pictures are evidence that your property is worth less because of its undesirable location.
Put Your Evidence In Order
Place all of your evidence in one convenient file or a shopping tote bag. This should include any photographs, Google Maps images, estimates from contractors, reports of sales in your neighborhood and the original assessor card. Before the hearing, make a list of all the main points you wish to bring up at your hearing. This will help you stay on track.
Dress for Court
Dress as you would for a job interview. Make sure your hair is neat and clean. Men should shave and cut long hair to present a conservative, law-abiding appearance. Taking time to look professional shows respect for the appeals process. Leave your temper at home and do not raise your voice during the appeal unless asked to.
You are not stuck having to pay unfairly high property taxes. Find out how much time you have to appeal, get the assessor card and check for mistakes. Take photos or get estimates that back up your claims. If this is all too much, consider hiring a property tax attorney.
Guest Author: Trae Mindiola is partner of Republic Property Tax, a full-service property tax consulting company based in Houston, TX. They represent business and homeowners in protesting property taxes.