Edward’s bailout plan – save money on property taxes

obama-faces-tax-protest-angerjpgIt’s that time of year again, where the county assesses your home for a value that you could only wish you could get in this market. Well, here are two money saving tips for you:

1. This is easy, file a homestead exemption on your primary residence. This removes a portion of your value ($15,000) from taxation, and saves you about $200/year.

2. Protest your property’s valuation. This is a bit more involved. See my previous post here on my results from last year when I saved a whopping $1928/year in taxes:  Property Tax Protest – Results are in!

You can also find additional information at the Williamson County Appraisal District website and at this link.

Good luck and happy protesting!  For my clients, I’d be happy to take a look at your home’s valuation and send you some comparable homes that sold in 2008.  Just give me a call!

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5/12/2009 Update:

I just finished filing a protest for several properties and have totaled up the difference between the county tax assessment and my recommendation.  The difference?  $105,507.  At a tax rate of 2.4%, that equals a savings of $2532/year! I’ll post the results once I get them.  Remember, it pays to reduce your tax assessment!

5/13/2009 Upate:

The good news: I didn’t have to mail anything in, the Williamson County Appraisal District takes walk-in appointments so you can get this done quicker.  The bad news is that it’s probably a better “strategy” to wait.  Why?  The County usually sets appointments for big properties ($1 Million+) first since they have a deadline of July 25, 2009 to get everything done and set the tax rate by September.  Therefore, if most of the work (of raising money for the county through taxes) is already done by the time they get to a “small” $150,000 property, they are probably more lenient and they probably want to get things done quicker since they would be a bit more worn out from the months of work they’ve been doing.

The bad news: I went in early as a walk-in, and my appraiser (beware of Cliff, he has a mustache) was definitely not worn out.  I think he was having fun keeping my assessments high.  As a result, I was only to reduce the total assessment by half of what my goal was.  I wanted $105,507, and ended up with a $50,454 reduction, about $1211/year in tax savings. A modest savings, but a savings nonetheless.

Things to watch out for: Pulling comps from the same neighborhood isn’t good enough.  I pulled homes from Georgetown Village, but Cliff was being very picky in wanting homes from the same section!  I can understand the logic when there are many builders in a neighborhood, but if the builder is mustacheconsistent in the different section, it shouldn’t matter.  The same quality of home is being compared.

The other thing that bugged me is that the sold prices they use are artificially inflated.  What do I mean by that?  Well, they don’t take into account the amount of closing costs that a seller pays for the buyer.  So if a house sells for $180,000 and there is $5,000 of closing costs paid by the seller, the true market price is $175,000.  However, the appraiser did not take that into consideration.

Lastly, just because you show them the sales price of a home you closed in the year of the assessment, they won’t necessarily use that price for the new value.  I tried…and failed.

The worst thing about this is the inconsistency.  In previous years, the appraiser would take into consideration closing costs and would use the sales price on the HUD and would even use homes in different sections just as long as the builder was the same.  This year, it was not so.  My advice, go towards the end of the year when they don’t want to spend as much time arguing with you…and just in case it is the appraiser, avoid Cliff, the guy with the mustache. (No, I don’t have anything against mustaches).

Property Tax Protest – Results are in!

Property taxes are pretty high in Georgetown, Texas. Anywhere in Texas for that matter. The last thing you should do is pay more than you need to. In my previous post on property taxes in Williamson County, I revealed the actual value that the Williamson County Appraisal District appraised some homes for:

Boxwood Loop – Appraised for $171,607

Westbury Lane – Appraised for $160,324

Rosebud Lane – Appraised for $214,193

Greenside Lane – Appriased for $182,535

Well, here are the resuts:

Boxwood Loop – Adjusted to $153,600

Westbury Lane – Adjusted to $152,400

Rosebud Lane – Adjusted to $184,000

Greenside Lane – Adjusted to $158,300

That’s a total reduction of $80,359. Assuming a tax rate of 2.4%, I just saved $1928/year in taxes. Now that’s worth fighting for! I believe that service happens before and after every transaction so I provide this tax-fighting service free to my clients every year. Did you get good results fighting your taxes this year? If so, let us know your experience. This blog gets more interesting when you give your feedback!

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Fighting for your right…to a fair property tax assesment

Well, it’s that time of year again when Williamson County Appraisal District appraises my home and makes me feel as though I’m living in California.

“What? My house went up $40,000?! Woohoo!”

Actually, that happened to my personal residence, $38,268 to be exact. Not a bad number, unless the home was appraised at $167,445 last year which would mean a 23% increase in value! They capped it at 10% so that makes it only $184,190. Fortunately, I’ve been contesting my home since the beginning and this number is actually favorable for me.

Need some help lowering your tax appraised value?

Just shoot me an email or give me a call and I’d be happy to help! I’m currently working on the following appraisals and will be posting the results soon:

Boxwood Loop – Appraised for $171,607

Westbury Lane – Appraised for $160,324

Rosebud Lane – Appraised for $214,193

Greenside Lane – Appriased for $182,535

If I have helped you lower your taxes, feel free to post the results in the comments section. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you!

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Georgetown, Texas Real Estate Blog

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