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Old 01-22-2009, 08:21 PM
 
619 posts, read 1,180,765 times
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Personally I'd still fight it, especially now you can do it online.

Why pay more taxes than you have too.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Close enough to the Woodlands to enjoy the ammenities without being IN the Woodlands
148 posts, read 314,582 times
Reputation: 50
Personally I was questioning why are they not correct there and why people need to fight them? I stated maybe a full informational would be helpful to others as well. We just call them appraisals here...I still don't know what the HCAD part is...Could have been something completely different from what we have as appraisals here since there is never an issue with them...I have my friend run comps just because I always wanted to know...not because I knew that was what you were supposed to do. I didn't even know I could fight it if I wanted/needed to. Appraisals are not foreign to me, the HCAD is and the need to fight them is.

If you think I have some alterior motive or are not being honest, that's not my problem, but there are a lot of questions in this forum about HCAD appraisals, so I thought 1 place people could go to for ALL the info would be more helpful than a thousand threads asking the same thing, clogging up the board being shoved to the bottom.

Now I know, if I get down there, that the government doesn't run as smoothly as my town now and I have to do more legwork. Just seems silly that the appraisals aren't correct in the first place and that they just raise them 30% without doing their homework. A waste of government time, it seems. I'm sure they spend a lot of time readjusting everything.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Houston (Memorial) and Western NC
8,979 posts, read 15,648,545 times
Reputation: 4120
Harris County has older homes that have appreciated at different rates. Property values are high.

In the newer areas, or other counties, all the houses are worth the same in each neighborhood, and all the lots are worth the same. They all appreciate at the same rate for about the first 20 years.

Thus the confusion with HCAD. One million dollar+ homes next to 200,000 homes at "lot value," that are 40 years old. This leaves a lot of room for confusion and give HCAD a lot of taxing power to "nail" people every year.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:24 PM
 
2,577 posts, read 5,634,171 times
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I don't think it is an issue of things not running smoothly in Harris County versus Montgomery County. The "issues" tend to stem from something other than disorganization or anything like that.

Part of the "issue" is Harris County's appraisal district is very aggressive on assessments. They "push" values, or at least it seems that way. When we had a booming real estate market prices were rising and the appraisal district pushed to keep up. (boy did they ever). Another issue is now that the market has become softer, there is a lot of room for...."disagreement" on what is considered the "fair market value," especially for those living in areas where prices have recently taken a hit. Because of these changes in the market, many people feel that HCAD has unfairly appraised their houses too high.

Another problem is foreclosures. It is not peculiar to HCAD to consider foreclosures as something other than an "arm's length transaction." It is considered a sort of distress sale, and even though they may be forcing prices down in a neighborhood, or even if you got a deal on your own house as a foreclosure, HCAD basically falls back on an old appraising principle that basically says foreclosures "don't count" as comparables. Again, that is not something unique to them.

Where this principle has been a real problem is in condo buildings that were hit hard with mortgage fraud. Buildings like Tremont towers on Westheimer had a lot of "straw buyers" and units were sold at ridiculously inflated prices. Tax assessments were set to basically match the sales price. they were foreclosed on and people bought them at reduced prices, then faced a challenge getting HCAD to reduce the values because....they were foreclosures. So the moral of the story on that is check the HCAD value on any foreclosure and know you will have a fight on your hands with HCAD to get it reduced.

In most cases the HCAD value is less than the true market value because most people have sense enough to go down there and protest their values and get them reduced.

In my case, for example, They tried to jump my taxes up $20,000 more than I paid for the house, I protested, and the taxes were reduced to my sales price. they have only been increased by $1,000 in three years since.

So, basically you just keep doing what you have been doing up there and it won't be any different.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:28 PM
 
Location: NW Houston
1,150 posts, read 1,935,074 times
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HCAD = Harris County Appraisal District
MCAD = Montgomery County Appraisal District

The county is who does the appraisal here. Who does it where you live? Where do you live?

One reason it may be a bigger issue here is that we have no state income tax and the property taxes carry a heavier load. One will be more concerned about the valuation when one is paying $5000 per year in taxes versus $500, and being off 10% in valuation means paying an extra $500 rather than $50.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:42 PM
 
Location: NW Houston
1,150 posts, read 1,935,074 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modster View Post
Another problem is foreclosures. It is not peculiar to HCAD to consider foreclosures as something other than an "arm's length transaction." It is considered a sort of distress sale, and even though they may be forcing prices down in a neighborhood, or even if you got a deal on your own house as a foreclosure, HCAD basically falls back on an old appraising principle that basically says foreclosures "don't count" as comparables. Again, that is not something unique to them.
I would argue that foreclosures are more appropriate comps than normal market sales. In calculating one's assets, your house is worth what you could get for it right now, as is. Not what you might get if you first sink $10k into it and can afford to wait 6 months.

If me and my neighbor have identical houses and he sells his house for $200k, is mine also worth $200k? What about the $10k he spent on upgrades and repairs to get it in marketable condition? I haven't done that so my house isn't worth that. My appraisal shouldn't be what my house *would* be worth *if* I sunk a lot of time and money into fixing it up, but what is *is* actually worth right now.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:47 PM
 
Location: NW Houston
1,150 posts, read 1,935,074 times
Reputation: 629
Full tutorial = Harris County Appraisal District
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:53 PM
 
2,577 posts, read 5,634,171 times
Reputation: 1841
Quote:
Originally Posted by DiverTodd62 View Post
I would argue that foreclosures are more appropriate comps than normal market sales. In calculating one's assets, your house is worth what you could get for it right now, as is. Not what you might get if you first sink $10k into it and can afford to wait 6 months.

If me and my neighbor have identical houses and he sells his house for $200k, is mine also worth $200k? What about the $10k he spent on upgrades and repairs to get it in marketable condition? I haven't done that so my house isn't worth that. My appraisal shouldn't be what my house *would* be worth *if* I sunk a lot of time and money into fixing it up, but what is *is* actually worth right now.
That makes perfect sense, especially in neighborhoods that have a ton of foreclosures in them. How do you ignore the foreclosure factor? But, they do. This is sort of an oversimplification but they basically say that any sale, to count as a comparable, has to be an "arm's length transaction" and foreclosures are distressed sales, so they don't count. So if you are planning to fight your taxes with HCAD and you are using foreclosures as comps, just be prepared to meet that obstacle with them. I don't agree with it either, but it is what have been doing so prep yourself accordingly.
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Old 01-23-2009, 10:22 AM
 
231 posts, read 620,915 times
Reputation: 103
A lot of this has to do with the fact that Texas generates so much of its revenue from property taxes since there is no state income tax. My sister lives in north carolina where property taxes are much lower. There, no one pays much attention to their home assessment because the taxes are negligeable compared to their state income tax, so they focus more more of their time reducing their income tax payments rather than property tax.

This is also why counties are much more agressive at raising valuations especially if they are facing a budget deficit.
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Old 01-23-2009, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Close enough to the Woodlands to enjoy the ammenities without being IN the Woodlands
148 posts, read 314,582 times
Reputation: 50
Now it's making more sense, that's what I was pushing for, the nuts and bolts of these appraisals and why everyone is fighting them. It also makes sense that they push so much more on it because of not having state income tax...we not only have state income tax but a earned income tax per township! I honestly don't know who does the appraisals up here. Our tax bill comes one from the school district and one from the township.
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