Property tax surprise

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ghostrunner
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Property tax surprise

Post by ghostrunner »

Curious what you folks think of this.

I got my assessment yesterday and my house has jumped in value by about $17k, according to the assessment. My mortgage payments will jump up a bit to cover the increase, but I get it. The neighborhood has improved and so has the market.

The surprise is that after living at the house for 15 years, a huge concrete slab that sits in the side yard - 1900 sg ft - was included as well. This thing is poorly made and I think was intended as a basketball court but it's uneven and unusable for that purpose. We've always considered it an eyesore and wanted to get rid of it, but it's been more cost and trouble than it's been worth to us. Always way down the list of priorities. Suddenly this year it's listed as a "patio" and valued at $7600.

What's more, it's categorized differently from the house and has a higher tax cap. Normal residential property tax is capped at 2% of value, but this is under "all other property or business/personal property" which is capped at 3%. That's less annoying than the sudden change, but curious.

My total property tax has been hiked by about $600, and this likely accounts for a small portion of the total tax but it bugs me. I don't mind paying property taxes, even increased property taxes, but this would have influenced my thinking on removing it a long time ago had it been included before. Now it's been added to an already increased property value.

I've appealed, so we'll see what happens.

cardsfantx
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Re: Property tax surprise

Post by cardsfantx »

not sure what state you're in, so i'm sure they're all a little different.

does your state have a homestead exemption, and if so, do you have it? If so, your property taxes can only go up 10% max every year (the appraised/taxable value...what you're actually taxed on. There's also the market value, but they can put whatever they damn well please on that one it seems)

also...on that slab/patio...take pics where it's falling apart. then get a bid/estimate from a company on the cost to demo it. take those with you to the appeal and show it's an eyesore and the cost to remove it, and they usually will give you relief. if there's anything wrong with your house, take pics of that/get estimated, and do the same thing at the appeal.

basically, even if you have a nice house, you want it to appear as a piece of [expletive] that needs a lot of work, and isn't worth what they're saying.

these appraisers haven't seen in your house nor prob ever even seen it or your neighborhood in person..they're just pulling comparables and letting the computer spit out a value.

here in TX, they also have to give you the list of those houses they used as comparables...do the same thing/take pics, but show how nice those houses are compared to your piece of [expletive], and how yours should be worth less.


i fight ours every year, and usually get 3-5% knocked off (they always jack ours up the max 10% every damn year)..they do have an online option here in TX (tarrant co) now, which is nice, you can just type in an amount you think yours is worth and the computer will spit out a yes or no/if they accept or reject...if they reject, then you go in person and fight the old fashioned way.

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ghostrunner
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Re: Property tax surprise

Post by ghostrunner »

I had the total appraisal reduced years ago when it clearly wasn't worth what they said, and it was a huuuuge pain. Probably won't challenge the value this time, because I think it's close.

I think they might have come out and measured because the dimensions on the slab seem correct and they wouldn't have that on file. Unless they're ballparking based on Google maps, which I suppose is possible. Will definitely be taking pictures and all of that. I just don't see how they can justify leaving it out all this time and suddenly claiming I have a "patio".

If I don't win the appeal, I'll be looking into removing it finally. I think it was going to cost me a couple thousand when I had it estimated last. I've considered doing it myself, but I'd have to rent some equipment for a while and then figure out how to dispose of it. Either way I end up with nothing but more lawn space, so it kind of sucks to have to put money into it.

tlombard
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Re: Property tax surprise

Post by tlombard »

ghostrunner wrote:Either way I end up with nothing but more lawn space, so it kind of sucks to have to put money into it.
Ha! I remember when my parents got rid of our pool growing up. I was working full time and going to school full time so I didn't really care about the pool being gone since I never got a chance to use it. I was however mad that it was gone because suddenly there was a lot more lawn to mow once the pool, surrounding deck and all were removed!

Arthur Dent
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Re: Property tax surprise

Post by Arthur Dent »

ghostrunner wrote:I had the total appraisal reduced years ago when it clearly wasn't worth what they said, and it was a huuuuge pain.
What'd you have to do?

I did the informal appeal here once, which meant going to the tax office and sitting down in somebody's cube with some comparables for brief chat, and that seemed to work fine. If that fails, there's a formal process where you have to go in front some kind of panel to present a case, but I haven't gone through it, so I don't know what all is involved.

Edit:
ghostrunner wrote:Unless they're ballparking based on Google maps, which I suppose is possible.
Austin utilities does this because they charge you a fee based on the amount of impervious cover, so the software to do this is definitely available, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's what they're doing.

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ghostrunner
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Re: Property tax surprise

Post by ghostrunner »

I had to file a written appeal. I think I printed the form and then wrote it up and took pictures, then hand delivered it because I wanted to make sure it got to the right person. Then I waited weeks, maybe months, calling here and there. Finally got an appointment and had to drive to a weird office in an industrial zone and meet with the guy. That part was fine and he reduced it. Seems like the process might have been improved because the online filing of the appeal this time was a piece of cake.

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G. Keenan
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Re: Property tax surprise

Post by G. Keenan »

You guys get to appeal your property taxes to a real human face-to-face? How quaint.

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