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Should you protest your home appraisal? If so, how? Property taxes are soaring in the D-FW area

Housing demand remains high, and it's impacting property taxes in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area. Homeowners have a window of opportunity to protest the increase

DALLAS — Many homeowners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have recently received a notice of appraisal from their local appraisal district.

"They are coming, and if you haven't gotten it yet, be ready," said Jason Doyle Spencer, a realtor with Dave Perry Miller. 

Home inventory and interest rates have remained low. At the same time, demand is high, so housing prices are through the roof. 

It's all reflecting in property taxes.

Spencer said, "It's a double-edged sword. We've been watching our neighbors sell and people have sold their homes in the past year. We all know that it has been a very good market for sellers, and unfortunately that second side of that sword is the taxes." 

At the Dallas Central Appraisal District, between 600,000 to 700,000 appraisal notices were mailed out on Friday. Ken Nolan, chief appraiser at DCAD, said people may be unhappy with the numbers, but it shouldn't be a surprise with the housing market the way it is.

Homeowners can decide if they want to protest the appraisal or not. Spencer recommends to all his clients, "Protest your taxes every year."

Kevin Pierce, a loan officer and sales manager with Thrive Mortgage, has similar advice for homeowners. "I believe that there's a good opportunity for everybody to be able to go in and fight their taxes, if it makes sense." 

Pierce tells his clients to take a look at their tax values and understand where the numbers are coming from. Pierce said it's important for homeowners to do their due diligence, research the area and contact local real estate agents to pull data that will help with protesting.

On the other hand, when homeowners receive an appraisal letter in the mail, Nolan said some people may not need to protest. 

He said, "Ask yourself, would I sell the property for that? And if you think you would either sell the property for that or for more, then our value is probably good. If not, think, what about my property makes it worth less than they say it is?"

In Dallas County, homeowners who decide to protest their property value should do it online with the DCAD UFile system. Nolan said they should not go to their office to protest. 

In your online protest, include neighborhood data that can be pulled from your real estate agent, repair estimates and photos of repairs needed. 

Dallas Central Appraisal District will contact homeowners electronically or by telephone once the protest is reviewed. If DCAD and the homeowner can't come to an agreement, the homeowner will be scheduled for an appraisal review board hearing. 

This would happen around the third week of May and last until July or longer.

Nolan expects between 180,000 to 200,000 protests in Dallas County, higher than the last two years. 

The deadline to file a protest is May 16.

Homeowners who filed for a homestead exemption should double-check that it is on the notice, capping their increase at 10%.

In Collin County, Bo Daffin, chief Appraiser of the Collin Central Appraisal District, said all real estate notices are in the mail as of Friday. Around 295,000 appraisal notices were sent. 

Last year, Collin County received more than 79,000 protests. Daffin expects between 90,000 to 100,000 protests this year. 

Daffin said, "Last year, our average homestead market value was $396,500. This year, at the release of appraisal notices, our average homestead market value is $509,500."

In Denton County, the appraisal district will send more than 360,000 notices in the next few months. The first batch with nearly 175,000 notices were shipped on Monday. 

The deadline to file a protest in Denton County is 30 days after the date the notice is mailed. 

Denton CAD is expecting more than 120,000 protests in 2022 as real estate values continue to outperform expectations. The median home sale in Denton County increased from $345,000 in 2021 to $420,000 in 2022.

WFAA reached out to the Tarrant Appraisal District and did not hear back at the time of this publication.

Arlington residents ready to fight

After living on the same street in the same house, for years, Marion Bush is ready to try to do something about her property tax increase. She's on a mission about the property tax bill she just got in the mail last week.

"I've been here 20 years," said Bush. "It's tremendously higher than it has ever been before. And so, I look at that. I'm in my sixties, so I should be exempt. The exemption has went up as well."

Bush's tax bill shows her three-bedroom home in Arlington has a 2022 market value of more than $198,000. 

The market value from 2017 jumped by more than 60%, even with exemptions.

On Bush's street, she's rallying neighbors like Chandler Lopez for a petition as part of their protest.

Lopez said, "It is quite upsetting, especially since, you know, our house is less than a thousand square feet, so I don't really feel that it's worth almost $200,000."

Part of their protest will include arguing appraisals should not jump so high just because their smaller homes are just a block away from much larger homes.

Bush said, "Those homes over there, they are more expensive, they're lonelier. Square footage over here. It's not like that."

Bush's tax bill gives her until May 16 to protest, and it won't be her first time either. She has protested property tax increases in the past. 

Bush has had two occasions where she challenged the bill, and it was lowered by county officials.

"Only time they ever did it was twice and not helping people," she said.

Bush said, "It gets depressing when you got to try to figure out, well, if you're going to eat or you can pay these tight tax bills, you know, it's just too much."

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