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Right on the Money: Property appraisal protest tips, and some unemployment and credit help too

It's property appraisal season in North Texas. Some tips to help you if you are going it alone. Also, updates from the unemployment office, and free credit checks

Most property appraisal protests in Denton were due by May 29th, and in Tarrant County the deadline was June 1st. But you still have until June 15th to protest in the Collin County and Dallas County appraisal districts.

Dallas County is the big one. That’s where values (on average) have gone up the most this time. The Dallas Central Appraisal District doesn’t divulge the percentage of protested valuations that get adjusted, but most CADs indicate that the success rate for people who protest is generally decent.

This article includes some good information about how to protest and what you need to know. It is important to read about the process on the website of your central appraisal district, especially this year. The Dallas CAD, for example, is conducting hearings online because of COVID-19, so you will need to upload documents. It is also important to get information about comparison (comp) properties near you (a realtor can help you with that).

RELATED: Right on the Money: How to protest your property tax appraisals

Some who have been successful also say they had photographic evidence from the roof, the side of their house, the back of their house, and/or the interior of their house (these are all places the appraiser would not have been able to see). Those photos can provide compelling documentation.

Do not use old photos. Many central appraisal districts regularly take high resolution ‘drive-by’ photos of properties. Showing a dated photo could undermine your case if the CAD has an updated picture.

Some who have succeeded also note that they listed structural or mechanical things in their home that need repair or update. Some have even called out different contractors for free estimates on the amount of work needed for different things around their property, and then used those free estimates as documentary proof that the valuation should be lowered.

Perhaps most importantly, remember the person hearing your protest is not your enemy. In fact, they are in a position to potentially help you a lot. So be friendly and efficient with your presentation to them. Finally, for more information, listen to this recent episode of our Y’all-itics Texas podcast.

Unemployment: No news is good news for many

At their meeting last week, commissioners from the state’s unemployment agency didn’t discuss reinstating the job search requirement. But any time now they will go back to requiring you to look for a job to continue getting benefits. 

RELATED: Right on the Money: We could hear as early as this week about unemployment work search requirements

They’re meeting again next week. When they do reinstate the rule, TWC will give benefit recipients at least two weeks’ notice of the change. TWC says there will be exceptions to the rule — for instance, for people who are furloughed and already have a job to return to.

New feature to help deal with jammed unemployment phone line

The chat bot on the Texas Workforce Commission’s website can now take down your info to put you in line to be contacted back, since getting through by phone is such a miserable experience. To do it:

  • Go to https://www.twc.texas.gov/
  • Click the Chat Box in the lower right-hand corner
  • Type “contact”
  • Select “Request Contact from TWC”
  • Fill out the callback form to be added to the queue

Watch your credit. For free!

Finally, let’s talk about credit. Data from the Federal Reserve shows the number of 90+ day credit card delinquencies have surged recently. Credit Card Insider has a list of some of the relief different card issuers are offering.

Nathan Grant, Senior Credit Industry Analyst at Credit Card Insider, says, “Across the board you are starting to see things like lower monthly payments, late payment fee relief, and interest reductions temporarily."

RELATED: US consumer spending sinks by record 13.6% in face of virus

You should keep a close eye on your credit, especially now. Usually you only get one free report each year. But now all three of the reporting agencies are letting you get free weekly online credit reports. Click here to get access. Click here for more information.

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