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A Texas appraisal official told us how your property tax protest could actually work

James Chapman is the chairman of the Dallas appraisal review board. When you’re an appraisal protester, they’re the people you’re trying to convince.

DALLAS — When looking for a new place to call home, many would-be home buyers first check out the kitchen and bathrooms.

As it turns out, that’s also a great place to start for appraisal protesters.

“Take pictures of the bathrooms and kitchens because those are generally the things that you need to remodel,” James Chapman said on Y’all-itics.

James Chapman is the chairman of the Dallas appraisal review board.

When you’re an appraisal protester, they’re the people you’re trying to convince to lower your taxable value.

There were more than 200,000 protests in Dallas County last year, and it took the board six months to make it through them all.

Chapman’s tip is to pay particular attention to your kitchen and bathrooms.

If they haven’t been updated, take pictures of them and use them as part of your evidence to help you make the case for lowering the appraised value of your home.

“If you have a bathroom, maybe it's a little older. It maybe has stains on the tub. Shower leaks. We can take a look at that,” Chapman told us. “But looking on the outside of the house, we've seen some beautiful houses in Dallas County and then we get to see the inside of the pictures and you think, oh my gosh, so yes, let's go ahead and make a correction here.”

Another important factor to know this year before you get started: Your 2023 appraisal is based on research the appraisal district did last year.

Exactly when they did that really matters, maybe more than it did in previous years.

At the start of 2022, the housing market was cooler. But by spring and summer, it was scorching hot, before home prices stabilized a bit in the fall and winter.

Listen to the full episode of Y'all-itics:

So, if an appraisal district pulled a “comp” (a similar home that sold recently in your neighborhood the board is using to “compare” to your home) from early summer, the value of that home will be higher than a “comp” pulled in January or December.

“One thing that makes property tax protesting and valuations unique is that they only value these properties once a year. So, that the value in question is what the value was on January 1st, only on that day,” Chandler Crouch explained on Y’all-itics. “And so, since they're only valuing once a year, they'll look back at the entire past 12 months to look at all of the sales for the entire year.”

Realtor Chandler Crouch is one of Texas’ leading experts on protesting property appraisals.

He’s been helping Tarrant County homeowners for years and says he’s received 17,000 requests for protests this year already. And he tells us that’s a lot more than normal.

Crouch says in 2022, there was around a 25% increase in home values in the middle of the year, followed by a roughly 12% decrease.

If a “comp” is pulled from the middle of last year, it won’t reflect current value, which would be lower.

“So, this year the values are more inaccurate than I've ever seen because they're looking at comps that were, they're 10% above what you could actually sell your property for.”

The deadline to file an appraisal protest varies by district, so be sure to check. It is May 22 in Dallas County and May 15 in Collin County, for instance.

Listen to our latest episode of Y’all-itics to learn more about comps, codes, full agent reports and everything else you were afraid to ask to help you lower your appraisal, which could significantly lower your property tax burden. The Jasons and Chandler Crouch also discuss why lawmakers haven’t done a thing to lower property taxes, despite many promises leading into the legislative session. Cheers!

More expert advice on protesting your appraisal: How the pros protest property appraisals | wfaa.com

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