Dear Tax Doctor:
What are the typical arguments that the city makes for raising the value of the improvement when there have been no upgrades to the property since the previous evaluation?  Also, what are the best counters to the city arguments other than comps.  Thank you.

Christopher McGuire, Vice President, Briggs Freeman | Sotheby’s International Realty

Dear Christopher,

If you see an increase to the improvement value of your home and no improvements were done to the home, it is likely due to an increase in the average selling price of comparable homes around you. The improvement value is the easiest value to increase and lower. Lowering/increasing land, on the other hand, is a far more difficult because it has the domino effect—change one and you must change them all.

Your best ammunition to fight this is to bring in Comparable Sales. Texas Law requires that the homes be appraised at 100% of market—nothing better indicates market than comparable sales. You can also bring in pictures showing condition issues, but you can’t argue condition every year—your home doesn’t depreciate THAT quickly.

Tiffany Hamil –PS folks! The deadline is next week for filing your property tax protests! That means you have only a few more days to ask the Tax Doctor!