frequently asked questions

How often is property valued?

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Tax Code Section 25.18 requires appraisal districts to reappraise all property in its jurisdiction at least once every three years. However, most counties, including Harris County, appraise properties yearly.

What is the difference between market value and appraised value?

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Market value is the price at which a property would sell for under prevailing open market conditions. Because it is based on recent sales, the market value is not limited and can change as much as the current market changes.

Appraised value, also known as taxable value, is limited by the Homestead exemption and may not go up more than 10% in one year in most cases as long as the exemption was in place for the prior year by the current owner and there was no new construction on the property.

Once I turn 65 years of age, am I exempt from paying property taxes?

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No. Reaching age 65 does not automatically exempt you from paying property taxes. When a property owner requests an over 65 exemption, it places a ceiling on the property’s school taxes; therefore, the school taxes on the property cannot increase as long as the property owner lives in the home.

What is a homestead exemption?

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Homestead exemption is an exemption available to an individual’s primary residence. A homestead can include up to 20 acres, if the land is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to the residential use of the homestead.

One of the features of this exemption is a limit to the amount that the value can increase from one year to another; limited to no more than 10% of an increase. This limit is referred to as the “homestead cap.”

How does a contingency fee structure work?

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Example: A home is noticed by the appraisal district for $120,000 in a neighborhood that pays a 3% tax rate. A successful protest results in a new appraised value of $100,000. A $20,000 reduction equates to $600 in taxable savings:
$20,000 x 3% = $600.

We will work on a contingency fee basis, which means that we only bill when we save money on taxes for the property owner. If the client were quoted a 35% contingency fee, our invoice would bill for $210:
$600 x 35% = $210 fees owed.

My market value was lowered, but my assessed value didn’t change. Why?

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Every value hearing is regarding the market value of the property. In some situations, the assessed value will be lower than the market value. This is typically because a homesteaded property increased in value by more than 10% (the legislated cap for homesteaded properties).

When a protest is filed, the market value may be lowered in a hearing; however, the assessed value will only go down if the market value drops lower than the assessed value.

Often, property owners feel that the assessed value should be lowered at the same percentage as the market value; however, the tax code does not allow for this. The assessed value will only change if the market value falls below that number.

Who is the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) and can I appeal their decision on my market value?

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The ARB is an independent panel of citizens responsible for hearing property protests. *The ARB is not bound by any discussions or settlement offers made in regards to the property prior to the formal board hearing.

If you are dissatisfied with the ARB’s findings, you have the right to appeal the decision by litigation (appeal to the state district court in the county in which your property is located) or binding arbitration (if your property is valued at $5 million or less or your residence is a homestead regardless of its appraised value). You must file the appeal no later than 60 days after you receive the final ARB order.