Please note, I am not an appraiser nor am I licensed to appraise, these are my mere opinions.
First off, search for your property on your county website. Make for certain you are not being taxed for something you do not have, such as a pool or additional square feet or additional rooms. Also, make sure if the home is your primary residence, you have applied for your homestead exemption AND it is being applied towards your taxes. If you have ever had an actual appraisal (and you have if you financed your home) on your home, check the square feet provided by the appraiser in their report against what the county appraisal district says you have. If you have a pool, note the value the county is assessing your pool at.
Check to make sure there are no other exemptions you are missing out on such as 65+, disabled, etc.
What if the comps actually increase the value of my home?
It is possible, with the steady increase in prices of homes due to low inventory over the past few years. A few years ago when it came time to protest my own home’s value, I took pictures of EVERY imperfection in my home, from cracked bricks to my awful fence to the cell phone tower that can be seen from my backyard.
Maybe you have been in your home for 8+ years or maybe you are the original owner of your home. If you have not made updates to your home including, but not limited to granite or quartz counters, wood floors, light fixtures, even your HVACs and water heaters, basically anything that adds value to the home, make sure the appraisal district is aware of this; especially if the comps in your neighborhood all have updates.
Point out EVERY imperfection of you home. Do you have fogged windows? Do you need foundation repair? Do you have outdated wallpaper in many areas? Do you have popcorn ceilings? Do you have cracked floor tiles? Do you backup to a busy road? Do you have an obstructed view from any area of your home? Really examine your home. The problem with most comps is they are market ready; many imperfections were taken care of before it was listed.
What if I just purchased my home in the past two years or refinanced within the past two years?
If you have done either of the above, and the value of your home according to an ACTUAL appraisal ordered by a lender came in lower than the county appraisal, this is all the evidence you need…although the county still might not lower the value all the way down to the appraisal (this happened to me in 2019, I had an appraisal from refinancing). If you purchased in the past two years, your CD provided to you at closing by the title company will suffice as evidence.
Also, if you recently purchased a home, a good thing to comb through for finding your home’s imperfections is your inspection report. Again, in this seller’s market many times, sellers are not making many repairs. Use anything not repaired from the inspection report that was marked deficient to your advantage now.
How does a pool affect the value of my home?
Most buyers in Texas find a pool to be a desirable addition to their home. You always hear you never get your money back when you add a pool. What is meant by that is the actual value that is added to your home is not the same as what you paid for the pool. For example, you may have paid anywhere from $70,000 – $90,000 on installing a pool, but at max, that pool will only bring about $20,000 of value to your home. (Depending on the pool and the price point.)
I mentioned earlier to check the value the appraisal district is assessing your pool at. The reason for this is the county rates the pool based on a classification system. If you notice the county has your pool rating higher than it should be, note it in your evidence and take pictures of it. For example, the county is saying my pool, which was built in 2001, is a 1750S1 (Superior). My pool needs to be resurfaced; the coping needs to be redone, etc. and I do not believe it is “superior”.
How much value is the county giving certain items?
I have the comps now WHAT do I do with them???
Find at least one home, three to four would be preferred that are within 10% of your home’s square feet and if it has a pool or not depending on if you do or not. If you have many to select from, also find the ones that are near the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Make note of their square feet, number beds, number of baths, the sold price and the sold price per square foot. These homes will be your comps.
Here is the equation I prefer to use to find a home’s value against comps. To make it easier I will first label all of the items in the equation.
Your homes square feet: A
The comps square feet: B
The difference between the comp and your home: C
The equation is A-B=C, then C/2, this answer will be D
The comps sold price per square foot: E, the equation E*D=F
The comps sold price: G, If your home is bigger than the comp your equation to get the value is G+F= your home’s value against that comp. If your home is smaller, the equation will be G-F= your home’s value
Next, look at the site I provided to you of all the listings sold so you can see pictures of the comps you used and this is helpful for you to see if the home is located on a premium view lot, a corner, or a cul-de-sac increasing the comps value. If it is and yours is not, deduct for that. When you find the pictures of the comps, note the updated difference in that comp and yours. If your home does not have the updated items make another deduction.
If after all of this your home’s value is less than what the appraisal district thinks, use this number and the supporting comps. However, if your home is higher than the appraisal district, go for the strategy of pointing out all of the negative items about your home and make your reduction based on that. One year, I had to get really creative and look at the land value compared to my neighbors.
Best of luck in your protest!