Travis County Property Tax Protest Season is Here Again

travis county property tax protest

I just received my property tax appraisals from Travis Country Appraisal District (TCAD)  and Williamson County Appraisal District (WCAD) for 2010. Doesn’t look like I’ll need to protest any property values this year. Some properties are borderline high, but not worth the time and effort to dispute because a) they are close enough, within a percent or two of my estimate, and b) some are low enough to offset the overage on the others, in my mind, and c) I still traumatized by my exposure to the utterly moronic and incompetent panel of idiots at my formal tax protest hearing last year. I need another year of recovery before I subject myself to that type of abuse again.

But as a home owner with only one property, even if your value is only a little bit high, it may be worth the effort to keep the value down so that the basis for future increases remains lower. And remember, if it’s your homestead, the value upon which you are taxed can’t rise more than 10% per year. This year, many of you will see an actual decrease in appraised value.

Each year Sylvia and I perform an increasing number of free comparative market analysis (CMA) for property owners seeking value guidance, or evidence to use in a property tax protest. That deal still stands. We did almost 100 of them last year, which actually benefits us as much as you because we get to really hone our CMA skills and see what home values are doing in many different parts of Austin. And many of you have turned into clients, which we really appreciate.

And here is a list of useful links to help you self-educate about the tax appraisal protest process at TCAD or WCAD in case you do decide to seek a reduction in appraised value.

Travis County Appraisal District Property Search
This is the County website where you can look up your property address and see what your 2010 appraised value is.For Williamson County Appraisal District, click here.

How to Protest Your Property Value at Travis County Appraisal District
This is the article I wrote a few years ago, in 2007, about how to protest your appraised property value at Travis County. I need to update it a bit now that TCAD allows an online protest for certain property owners. But the article still provides a complete overview of the basic factors you should consider before protesting, and the steps to follow to increase your chances of success.

Free Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for your Austin Area Home
This is the request form I set up after the above article started generating so many emails asking for help. Just complete the info and we’ll run a market analysis of your home and provide you with the results, including the comparable sales you would use as evidence at your hearing.

Austin Value Map – Find your Austin home value in 10 seconds
If your home is located in a homogeneous area of similar homes, and you’d like a quick automated value check, I set up this free tool to provide a fast, free, easy value check. It’s not 100% accurate, so don’t rely on this tool alone, but it will provide you with an estimated value and show your nearby homes that have sold and that are for sale. The algorithm uses actual MLS sold data as well as other factors, so it is, in my opinion, far superior to Zillow or other online valuation tools. To see a discussion of this tool and feedback from those who have tested it, check out this blog article about it.

Finally, below are links to some pretty good articles in this morning’s Austin Statesman about tax appraisal process and the new online protest that will be offered to some.

Travis launches online appraisal protests for some homeowners
How Your Home is Taxed
Williamson appraiser to use last-minute sales prices

Feel free to add your comments or ask questions.

Steve Crossland

Steve is a Real Estate Blogger, UT Austin Grad, Real Estate Broker and owner of Crossland Team and Crossland Real Estate in Austin TX.

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Bill - 9 years ago

Just got mine — appraised value went down considerably, but the land value did not. Valuation of the structure is now at laughable levels — well below replacement cost. There is something lazy or structurally flawed about the way TravisCAD manages land values.

Tim - 9 years ago

Yeah, mine went down 30% which makes me wonder if they shouldn’t have some sort of trigger that keeps that from happening without manual review. Do you have any info on how they decide valuations Steve?

Nate - 9 years ago

geez mine went up 20%….the app value that is… westlake hills

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