Even Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins called this year’s property-tax valuations “ridiculous” and encouraged everyone to protest theirs.
Here’s everything you need to know to protest the valuation of your home from the Dallas County Appraisal District. Read to the end for a real estate lawyer’s tips for winning your protest.
Protests are due by June 15.
Do it online: Find your home on dcad.org and click where it says “uFile Online Protest,” located in the chunk under your address. It looks like this:
Have a PIN sent to your email, and the uFile deal walks you through the process.
The appraisal board will notify you by mail of your hearing date. The hearings are normally in person, and the appraisal district hasn’t announced whether they will be online because of the coronavirus.
This document from DCAD explains the process, including the arguments you can make.
These two are key for homeowners:
• The proposed value of your property is too high. This could be based on incorrect information on the Appraisal District records, such as lot size, building size, etc. It could also be due to situations that the Appraisal District does not know, such as hidden defects, cracked foundations, inadequate plumbing, flooding problems, etc. If similar properties are selling for less than your property, you may have a reason to protest.
• Your property is valued unequally compared with other property in the Appraisal District. The Texas Constitution gives property owners the right to equal and uniform taxation. For instance, if your property is appraised at 100% of market value and similar properties are appraised at 90% of market value, then you have a right to protest your value based on the Appraisal District’s failure to appraise
Attorney Lauren Cadilac found her niche in real estate law after winning a lower valuation for her own home in 2014.
The free webinars she gives on the topic are available on YouTube. Here are the top tricks we learned from watching them:
Take photos: Document every little thing that’s wrong with your house, from missing shingles to a broken dishwasher. Even if the photo doesn’t show the damage, images can help your case. Cadilac says to show photos of cracks above doorways that could indicate foundation problems, as well as mold and broken tiles.
Find your house listing: Appraisers look at real estate listings for intel on values. Use photos to show that the real estate marketing for your home — terms like “updated bathrooms” — isn’t necessarily reality.
Look at the map: What properties were yours compared against in your appraisal? Should your home be compared with “golf course houses” that are three miles away? “They’re not as intimate with your neighborhood as you are,” Cadilac says. “You are the expert on your neighborhood.”
Compare: The law says you must be taxed similarly to the properties nearby. Make sure your home is taxed fairly based on price per square foot, compared with your neighbors.