The Tarrant Appraisal District just sent our notices of appraised value for your homes to many of you. (May, 1997) I have already heard from several of you and want to explain the process to those of you who want to contest your appraised value.

First of all, if your tax evaluation went down, be glad. This means your taxes may be lower but does not mean your house if worth less. Did anyone from TAD come inside your home? Probably not. All they know about your house is the class and general area it is in.

For instance: single family residential homes (not condos or apartments which have their own classifications) are classed from 1 to 26B with 1 being a substandard almost shack and 26B being the fanciest, most expensive new home in Mira Vista or Colleyville. A Class 7 home is brick, 2 or 3 baths, good construction, good quality roof, a fireplace, etc. When TAD re-evaluates homes, they take all the homes in Class 7, for example, and apply computerized mathematical formulas based on market variables within a specific area to determine property value. Properties are not assessed individually. Characteristics that could raise or lower the value of each property are not considered.

If your value went up, that does not mean your house will necessarily sell for more either. Again, they haven't seen your home. They do not know its condition. Realtors do not pay much attention to TAD's valuations. We sometimes have to use their square footage, but even that can be wrong. If there seems to be a discrepancy I always measure my listings to get a correct square footage. When porches are enclosed, TAD doesn't always pick that up. Owners are not usually eager to tell TAD about home improvements or additions that will increase the valuation.

Now, if you disagree with TAD's value of your home, you have until May 31 to file a protest with them. To file a protest, this is what you do: notify the Tarrant Appraisal District that you disagree with the proposed value. The phone number and instructions are on the notice you received. You might be able to resolve this by phone in an informal hearing.

If you are not satisfied with the informal hearing results, you can decide to appear before the Appraisal Review Board. You will need to be prepared. 1) It helps to have pictures of the subject property showing anything you think detracts from the appraised value. 2) Take 5 copies of a market analysis. This is where I can help. I can give you a more detailed market analysis for this purpose at no cost to you. 3) Check with neighbors to see what their assessment is. State law requires that properties be assessed on a uniform and equal basis.

I have personally successfully gotten taxes lowered three times. The key is the preparation. The panel will have documents to support their valuation, so you need to have some too. I hope this information in this article helps you. Please call if you have questions or need help.

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