Pour yourself a glass of something strong before you check your mail in Austin this week. Travis County Appraisal District value estimates are out and many were hit hard. Values are up an average of 11% in Austin with some neighborhoods up 20-25%.
If you purchased your home in 2013 or later, you need to watch extra carefully this year because your tax basis is not yet set. It takes 2 years for the basis to be set on a home before that homestead exemption caps the your taxable value.
It’s worth fighting if you have reasonable cause that your tax bill should be less. For example, one of our clients lives on a street where 4 homes sold last year. The sales on that street were all within 5% of each other and in-line with other sales in the neighborhood with one exception that sold for 25% more. You can bet that the 19% increase they saw is weighing that high sale heavily. They will be arguing that the high sale was an exception and not a rule for sales in the neighborhood, where homes are now sitting on the market and being reduced below the new tax appraisals.
Your final amount won’t be set until late summer after adjustments have been made. It’s time to get sales data from your neighborhood and check to see if the appraisal district has any errors on your file. You have the right to request the data they are using to come to your value, be sure to get it.
The appraisal district sites high demand for housing for the increase in values, but you need to make sure that they are being fair. There are neighborhoods where homes are sitting on the market for less than the new appraisal estimates so be sure to get the facts to make sure that you aren’t overpaying. Officially, TCAD does not have MLS access, but they do wind up with this data so expect them to have it.
How much did your appraisal jump this year?