Jubally Blog

Is There a Hidden Houston and Austin Property Tax Protest and Appeals Strategy?

Over the years we’ve noticed that so many wait until the very last minute of May to file their protest.  While this might just be the way it is, we’ve long thought this is a good thing to do, if accidental or intentional.  We’d like to briefly discuss the reasons this could be good.

When you file your protest late, you’re likely to receive a later hearing date.  Now keep in mind that hearing dates are also set by value.  HCAD likes to handle the property tax appeal hearings for higher valued property early in the property tax season, but they can only schedule when a protest has been filed.  As a home owner, you have the right to protest your value with HCAD in order to reduce your property tax liability. Once you’ve done this, you will receive a hearing date. You have the option to have this hearing postponed one time.  Agents on the other hand, for some reason, are given a little more scheduling leeway. We’ll discuss that issue another time!  We bring up postponement because the end result aligns with a late protest. How, you ask?

We love common sense, but you can only have common sense with a subject if you have a bit of experience in that field.  As taxable values across the County are being protested and appealed either by individuals or by property tax consulting firms, values are being lowered.  Odds are that you have neighbors who are appealing their values. When they are successful, they (if they are similar properties) possibly  in turn give you a comparable property that has a lower improvement price per sqft (imp $/sqft).  If that property already had a lower value than yours, you were already planning to use that property as a comp.  If that value becomes even lower, than that helps you that much more.  As the season progresses, more properties have had their value appealed. The more properties that have had their value appealed, the more possible comps you have.

In summary, the later your hearing, the more comps you have to choose from.  Who says procrastinating never pays off? :)