AUSTIN (KXAN) — Tax appraisals are out and the cost to live in Central Texas continues to rise. Travis County residents are seeing an eight percent increase in home values, and 23 percent increase for commercial properties. In Williamson County, the average residential market value also went up eight percent. For those who feel their home or property has been overvalued, you can protest the increase.
First, homeowners have to understand how the appraisal district came up with that number in order to demonstrate the appraisal is too high. The appraisal district is required to appraise all properties at market value – essentially what the property could sell for. As sale prices go up, so do the appraisals to reflect the market.
Appraisal district leaders told county commissioners that there is actually a divide in market appreciation along the Interstate 35 corridor. Homeowners east of I-35 will possibly see a slightly higher appreciation at 12 percent. West of I-35 should see increases around eight percent.
For those who protest, finding out what comparison properties the appraisal district used to set the rate is an important first step in determining if a home or property is overvalued. Owners might find these properties are in better condition or have features their home does not. Many times evidence is needed in order to get the rate adjusted.
“They may bring in some sales information that we might not have,” says Marya Crigler, Chief Appraiser of Travis Central Appraisal District. “There might be some condition issues with their property that we are not aware of. So if they have slab or mold or any other kind of foundational issues, that’s when we get that information and make adjustments to those properties.”
Owners can also present a closing statement to show what was paid for the home to demonstrate it is not as high as the comparison properties and photographs.
Protests in Travis County can be filed online or by mail with the form that comes with the appraisal notice. The deadline is May 31.
In 2015, the Travis County Appraisal District changed the e-filing process. Now, if you choose to e-file your protest and the County responds with a settlement offer and you reject the offer, your case will now directly go to a formal hearing instead of an informal hearing.
In 2016, 118,000 Travis County home and property owners protested. More than 90 percent of those settled through litigation, rarely going to trial.