1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

Property Tax Protest - Who to Use

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by JayZ750, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2000
    Messages:
    24,077
    Likes Received:
    10,100
    I'm sorry if this is a repeat thread....with no search, I just don't know. I don't have the time to file a protest myself.

    I've used a firm in the past but am thinking about switching. I've been quoted anywhere from 35% to 50% of savings, to flat fees up to $300. Which firm do people have good experiences with? Here are some of the firms:

    http://www.hctax.com/services.asp
    http://www.republicpropertytax.com/
    http://www.novotnycompany.com/home/
    http://www.poconnor.com/
    http://www.assessmentadvisors.com/
    http://www.assessmentadvisors.com/
    http://www.robertspropertytax.com/

    I don't mind paying any of the fees associated above, but am most interested in best reviews / highest likelihood of reducing appraisal value.

    Thanks!
     
  2. SpiffyRifi

    SpiffyRifi Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Messages:
    929
    Likes Received:
    22
    If I'm not mistaken Harris County allows you to protest (at least for the intial meeting) online now. I don't have a suggestion on who to use of those guys, I tend to think its kind of a scam as they aren't doing something you can't do yourself. That being said, if you actually want to have the hearing and don't have time - I guess hiring someone is the way to go.
     
  3. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 1999
    Messages:
    66,994
    Likes Received:
    6,655
    i use o'connor's and i've been happy with them.
     
  4. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 1999
    Messages:
    31,951
    Likes Received:
    9,713
    I've done one myself and had good success, but the amount of work I put in then I couldn't do now that I have kids. Last year, I didn't protest because I just didn't want to do the work. This year, I was all ready to hire one of these companies, knowing my valuation must have gone down. But, HCAD beat me to the punch and considerably reduced it themselves. Now, I don't know if I'll bother to fight for more.
     
  5. Ziggy

    Ziggy 99ers STAND BY
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 1999
    Messages:
    34,509
    Likes Received:
    10,433
    You can also make 2 phone calls max, fax or email some photos of damages, and see what their offer is before forfeiting 35%. Then again, if 30 minutes is too much time and hassle fair enough, just letting you know how easy it can be.
     
  6. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2000
    Messages:
    24,077
    Likes Received:
    10,100
    it's not a damage issue, it's a comparable based valuation issue. I believe I am too high, I am capable of doing it myself...I do not have the time or inclination to do so this year.
     
  7. Ziggy

    Ziggy 99ers STAND BY
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 1999
    Messages:
    34,509
    Likes Received:
    10,433
    Ya you can take pics of damage, maybe I should have said deficiencies, and they take that into consideration, assume your property isn't up to par, and give you a relatively quick offer. I say damages because things like outdated flooring, paint, whatever, thats all aesthetic and "preference" type stuff that carries no weight to them. If you reject that offer it escalates and you have to deal with a board of old geezers which in case you definitely want someone else to deal with that hassle.

    If you have had a leak, water damage, foundation problem, anything that would devalue your specific property you can take a pic, send it in, and see how far it gets you.
     
  8. rhadamanthus

    rhadamanthus Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Messages:
    14,304
    Likes Received:
    594
    I just do it myself. It's easy. If you're reasonable with your price they won't even want to hear your rationale. They'll just give you the number you want and send you on your merry way.
     
  9. BetterThanEver

    BetterThanEver Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    9,931
    Likes Received:
    189
    1) Do it yourself for free. You only have to beat 50% of a firm can do for you. If you lower it the same amount as the firm. The other 50% is yours to keep, instead of the firm.

    2) If you can't get it lowered, then you bring in the firm.

    My sister protested last year and got it lowered. This year, she protested it herself and they wouldn't go down. Her valuation was still low from last year, but she wanted to get every penny. She called a firm and they couldn't do anything either, so they charged her nothing. She got 100% of the difference in the tax refund from last year, and the firm couldn't beat it this year.
     
  10. Icehouse

    Icehouse Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2000
    Messages:
    12,531
    Likes Received:
    2,580
    I say do it yourself, and in person. They give you a link to all of the properties that they use to assess the value of your land. Go take pics of these places, pics of your place and come up with an argument of why your place isn't worth as much.

    When you go in for your initial interview you have like a 40% chance of getting someone who really doesn't care about the value and will just change it to what you want if you are reasonable. One dude once asked me "what you think it's worth man"....and he put that number in.

    If that doesn't work, then you go before a board (I have done this twice), and as long as you have a logical argument then they usually drop it somewhat (again, happened for me twice). And again, they give you all the properties that they use to base their argument on. So all you have to do is show why they are wrong based on what they use.
     
  11. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2000
    Messages:
    24,077
    Likes Received:
    10,100
    Ok, a lot of DIY'ers here. I have not done it myself before but am perfectly competent.

    Can one of you walk me through the steps in doing it yourself, especially in regards to being most prepared to get the best results? I understand the picture of damages suggestion. I am more interested in how their comps work, etc. For example, what exactly does the following mean: Protest based on market value is too high or appraised value is not equal.

    My appraised value does equal my market value, so I'm assuming the above means I should protest based on the fact that my market value is too high - which, comparing to houses on similar lots, of similar sizes, built at similar times, renovated at similar times, and near my house, it definitely is. I've built a set of 4 very good comps based on the above criteria and can definitely prove this out.

    Also, in regards to comps, does it make sense to approach them from a Land Value + Improvement Value perspective, or a Total Market Value perspective. That is, if I have 1 very good comps and it's land is valued at X/land-foot and home is valued at Y/living-foot, and combined it's valued at Z/living-foot, I would think it makes more sense to take my land-feet and living-feet and sumproduct by X & Y, as opposed to taking my living-feet and just multiplying by Z. Sorry if that's confusing.

    Just throwing some things out there. Any tips? How do the dates work...do they just pick a date, and what if I am out of town that day, do you have at least one can't make it on that day option?
     
  12. rrj_gamz

    rrj_gamz Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2002
    Messages:
    15,591
    Likes Received:
    195
    Why don't you just do it yourself...it's not that hard and takes an afternoon...just pull up some comps and you get a reduction if you state your case right...

    I have to do the same in Dallas...
     
  13. BmwM3

    BmwM3 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    3,896
    Likes Received:
    255
    It's very easy to do. I had a house listed for 115K and the appraisal district appraised it for 150K. I print out the archive report for that house and all the houses in the market in that neighborhood and she gave it to them at the hearing.

    They told her, why didn't you just mail it, this is all we need and she was done. In and out in 2 minutes. Her property tax was lowered to 112K. :cool:
     
  14. rage

    rage Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    1,492
    Likes Received:
    41
    Do it yourself if you can prove the market value is too high.

    I live in Galv county. I went to the county appraisal office, no appointment, showed them a piece of paper with the sell price of a comparable house in my neighborhood (I had many, I chose the lowest one). They briefly looked at it and lowered my appraised value (about 10%). They did not ask any question. Two minutes, in and out. I don't know how hard it is to ask for more.
     
  15. Icehouse

    Icehouse Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2000
    Messages:
    12,531
    Likes Received:
    2,580
    If you think their value is greater than the market value, then just prove what the true market value is. They are supposed to base your value off of recent sales in your area. Go online and there is a link somewhere where you can see which comparable houses they used to determine the value of your property. See how long ago those sales were made...has the market changed since then? Drive by those houses and note the things that those houses have that yours doesn't (corner lot, newer, etc). Take pictures as proof (and you must print the pictures out to give to them). Also have pictures of your property to show the difference. If things have happened to your property to reduce the value (i.e. Ike damages) then take pics of that and use it to get a reduction.

    When you go in the first time, you will have an informal review with one person. This part all depends on the person you get. You may get a person who doesn't care at all and will just change it to what you want, or you may get a hardass. But do note, this person is taking note of your proof and what you think the property value is...so they can use this info against you in a formal hearing.

    If you don't come to an agreement there then you go to a formal board hearing, with someone from the county (to argue their case) and a panel of 3 independent reviewers. Make 3 copies of your support so the reviewers don't have to share. They will let you go first, the county employee presents their case second, and you have a chance to rebut. Again, you will already know which properties the county is using as evidence (they have to tell you...it's on that link). Just show how your home is worth less than those, or how those homes are overvalued (i.e. bought a while ago and the market slipped but no one came in to dispute their values but you). Oh, you can also google reports showing how real estate sales have slipped in the area and use that too.

    I hope this helps.
     

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now