Ray Tax Group

Harris County Property Values Reach Record Highs 

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including, as of 2022, property taxes. While this famous moniker pokes fun at the biggest state in the U.S., Texas is now facing a super-sized property tax problem. The real estate market in Texas is booming, much like the rest of the nation, with the average price of a home sitting at  $295,319, a whopping 24% increase from last year. 

Harris County is the most populous county in Texas and the third-most populous county in the entire United States. Over 16% of Texas’ population lives in the county, with no signs of slowing growth. Despite a global pandemic and rising interest rates, demand for homes is still red hot. Keep reading to find out just how high experts predict Harris County property values and taxes to go. 

Harris County Property Values 

In the most populous county in Texas, Harris County, residential home values have surged by 15%-30%, per Roland Altinger, the county’s chief appraiser. Because property taxes are based on the assessed value of your home multiplied by your area’s tax rate, this unprecedented increase coupled with an already high county tax rate is astronomical. Harris county’s tax rate is 2.03%, double the national average. Harris County sends property owners their market and appraised values for the tax year each spring. These values then inform cities and school districts about yearly budgets. 

County tax appraisals are leaving homeowners with sticker shock. The Harris County Appraisal District expects home values to rise by around 15%-30% when notices are sent out this spring. According to the Harris County Appraisal District, most homes will be on the higher end, increasing by 20% or more. Although market values went up in 2021, at 8-10% respectively, no one saw such a dramatic increase coming in 2022. The Harris County Appraisal District attributes the growth to population growth, low-interest rates, supply chain issues, and the rise in the number of people who work remotely. 

Property Tax Exemptions 

The Harris County Appraisal District looks at comparable properties to assess Harris County property values. With data from recent property sales, appraisers estimate value while also accounting for the age of the home and location. 

Even with high assessments, homeowners have exemptions and the option to challenge the value. Exemptions help offset some of the property tax burdens. Exemptions include, but are not limited to: 

  • Residence homestead/inherited residence homestead
    • All residence homestead owners are allowed a $25,000 homestead exemption from their home’s value for school taxes.
  • Age 65 or older or disabled persons
    • All homeowners aged 65 years or older qualify for a $10,000 exemption.
  • Disabled veterans and surviving spouses of disabled veterans/first responders killed in the line of duty
    • A disabled veteran who receives 100% disability compensation may be entitled to a total property tax exemption.
    • This exemption also covers surviving spouses.

After a home’s market value is determined, exemptions are factored in to lower property taxes. 

The Harris County Appraisal District encourages property owners to check their website to see what exemptions they are entitled to, the requirements, and how to apply. 

Protesting  Harris County Property Values 

Harris County real estate values are climbing, and while this usually spells good news for sellers, the stark increases are becoming a nightmare for homeowners come tax season. 

Beyond exemptions, homeowners can protest their home value assessment if they feel their properties have been misjudged. Protesting can save property owners some money on their bills if they have the evidence to back up their claims.

If you want to file a protest in Harris County, you have until May 15 or within 30 days of receiving your notice to do so. 

Everything’s bigger in Texas, but your property taxes don’t have to be! We encourage all homeowners to consider protesting their assessments.

How Ray Tax Group Can Help 

The Ray Tax Group is Texas’ Premiere Property Tax consulting firm. We are a team of seasoned professionals, licensed attorneys, real estate agents, and property tax consultants with knowledgeable support staff. Throughout Texas, we have represented thousands of property taxpayers with residential, commercial, and business personal property tax issues.

Contact us here to see how we can help you save. 

Why You Need A Tax Professional To Protest Your Property Tax Appraisal

No matter where you live, you’ll pay some kind of property tax on your home. The amount you pay is based on the assessed value of your home multiplied by your area’s tax rate. There are some states that tax more than others, however. In the most populous county in Texas, Harris County, residential home values have surged by 15%-30%, per Roland Altinger, the county’s chief appraiser. Because property taxes are based on the assessed value of your home multiplied by your area’s tax rate, this unprecedented increase coupled with an already high county tax rate is astronomical. Harris county’s tax rate is 2.03%, double the national average.

The Harris County Appraisal District expects home values to rise by around 15%-30% when notices are sent out this spring. If you feel your appraisal is inaccurate, you have the power to protest. While you can protest your property tax appraisal in Harris County, your chances of success are far greater with a professional by your side. Here are the steps involved in protesting an appraisal. 

Steps To Protest Your Appraisal 

Step 1 – Complete The Protest Form

If you want to file on your own, The Harris County Appraisal District has a portal on its website called iFile Protest to submit a digital protest. However, you’ll need the proper evidence to move forward, so working with an experienced tax professional is best. 

On the form, there are two boxes you can check:

  • Check “value is over market value” if you believe that The Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) appraised your property’s value higher than its market value.
  • Check “unequal value” if you believe that your property’s value, as appraised by HCAD, is unequal to comparable properties in your neighborhood.

When you work with Ray Tax Group, we can advise you on how to best fill out this form. 

Step 2 – Gather The Evidence 

Once we have filed your protest, we ask for documentation from the county of the evidence that was used to determine your property’s value. The request must be made in writing at least 15 days before the protest hearing, which is discussed below. 

Some evidence we gather to support your protest includes: 

  • Measurements of your home and lot size
  • Photographs and statements from contractors that document hidden defects or areas requiring significant repairs
  • An appraisal of your property’s value from an independent appraiser

At your appointment for a hearing, we will bring your closing statement (if the property was purchased in the last year) or an appraisal report for the property, evidence gathered about your property and other properties in your area, and any other material you would like to present. 

Step 3 – Meeting With Staff Appraiser 

A staff appraiser will review your evidence and the district’s evidence in detail. The appraiser has the authority to settle the protest at their discretion. If a settlement is not made or agreed upon, an Appraisal Review Board (ARB) panel will be scheduled.

Step 4 – Hearing With Appraisal Review Board Panel

During a hearing with the board, Ray Tax Group and the HCAD appraiser will present written evidence to the ARB panel. The ARB panel will determine if your property was over-appraised. The final decision of the ARB is issued in writing and mailed. If you disagree with the panel’s conclusions, you can appeal to the State District Court. 

Deadline For Protesting 

If you want to file a protest in Harris County, you have until May 15 or within 30 days of receiving your notice to do so. 

Don’t forget about exemptions! Exemptions help offset some of the property tax burdens. 

For example, a disabled veteran who receives 100% disability compensation may be entitled to a total property tax exemption. After a home’s market value is determined, exemptions are factored in to lower property taxes. The Harris County Appraisal District encourages property owners to check their website to see what exemptions they are entitled to, the requirements, and how to apply. 

How Ray Tax Group Can Help 

Protest activity has been on an upward trend for at least the past decade, with the number of accounts under appeal increasing by almost 30%, according to HCAD data. Protesting will likely continue to rise with these sharp hikes in tax bills. 

The Ray Tax Group is Texas’ Premiere Property Tax consulting firm. We are a team of seasoned professionals, licensed attorneys, real estate agents, and property tax consultants with knowledgeable support staff. Throughout Texas, we have represented thousands of property taxpayers with residential, commercial, and business personal property tax issues. 

Contact us here to see how we can help you protest your property tax appraisal today. 

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