AUSTIN, Texas — Texas property owners recently received their property appraisals in the mail. In Travis County, the value of residential properties increased 56% compared to last year, leaving many people wondering what they should do next.
Ashley Jackson, president-elect of the Austin Board of Realtors, spoke with KVUE's Ashley Goudeau about the appraisals and what homeowners can do. Below are Jackson's answers to some common property appraisal questions.
The deadline to protest an appraisal is May 16. Should I protest mine? Who should protest?
"That is really going to vary on a case-by-case basis. They [property owners] may want to reach out to their trusted Realtor to get some advice about where their market value is to see if they have a reason, a valid reason, to protest," Jackson said. "I think it would be especially important for landlords to protest if they find that their rentals have gone well above market value, as they don't have the homestead cap, so their tax burden will be certainly more palpable."
If property appraisals went up 56%, will tax bills go up 56%?
Jackson said she isn't an expert on taxes, but when you have a homestead exemption, the increase is limited to 10% ever year.
"Whatever the increase of the appraisal is, you have two exemptions, essentially. So, you have an exemption on how much your taxes can go up every year and then you have an exemption of how much what you pay in your taxes can go up every year, and that is capped at 10%," Jackson said.
What about the people who bought their homes recently?
Jackson said new homeowners need to make sure that they have filed their homestead exemption as soon as possible. Homeowners want to make sure they check on that and have that in place.
She said that exemption will be started immediately, but the 10% cap on the increase of value doesn't take effect until the second full year of homeownership.
I'm a new homeowner and my property is appraised at much more than I paid for my house. Should I file a protest?
"Absolutely. Absolutely," Jackson said. "If you've recently bought your home and you find that the appraised value from the county appraisal district is well above what you have paid, you should absolutely protest. They may ask for proof of what you've paid and, if you're comfortable providing that, then you can do so."
How should people in the market to buy a house be looking at appraisals and potential taxes in terms of what they can afford?
Jackson said she always encourages her clients to keep in mind that their taxes will likely increase at least 10%, by that 10%, every single year – something she knows from experience.
"I've owned a home in Austin for about 20 years, and I've certainly never had a reduction in my taxes," Jackson said. "So, as you're planning, you know, what price point you're targeting, you just want to keep that in mind that there will be increases in taxes year after year."
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