Fishy Property Taxes…?

If you’re like me, you recently got your Property Tax Notice of Appraised Value in the mail and had to promptly pick your jaw off the floor.  Some people in Central Texas saw increases of over 50% in one year’s time.  We expected it because the real estate market has been a little cray-cray.  Sure, fine, whatever, yeah, it’s a HOT market in Central Texas, to say the least, we get it.  After the initial shock wore off, if you’re like me, you probably flipped to the next few pages and noticed the Appraisal District was kind enough to provide a great little “Comparable Sales Report”.  That’s awesome and yep, those values they show are certainly inline with my “new” value.  So, what good will it do for me to protest, right?!

Not so fast!  If you look more closely, and I have that luxury since I’m a real estate broker, at the numbers they are citing, they appear to be a little fishy.

Below is a snapshot of the “Comparable Sales Report” they provided for my 79 year-old, retired parents, who live in a modest home in Cedar Park, TX.

Fishy Comps

My parents’ property tax value went up 51% from last year.  Sure we have homestead exemptions, and elderly exemptions, but those aren’t across the board.  So, regardless there’s a significant increase.  If you’re a renter, beware, your rent is about to sky-rocket, because landlords/investors have no protections against value & tax increases, and guess what, the renter will have to pay the difference, ultimately.

The image above shows a few interesting things.  An “Adjusted Sales Price”, then a “Time Adjusted Sales Price*”.  That’s what the County is using as the basis for their calculations and appraisals.  I started comparing to actual MLS data, and found some shocking discrepancies.  I did this for 5 properties, EACH have the same outcome, which appears to be inflated/erroneous/faulty data.  For my parents’ house, I have highlighted the first 3 comps I checked and although the sales dates the county uses are correct, the prices, ON AVERAGE, are $48,000 higher than what the property actually sold for, then you add in the “Time Adjustment” and it’s even HIGHER in some cases.  That’s not cool.  And now I’m mad.

I’m sure the county will have validations for using inflated “Adjusted” numbers and then adding a time adjustment to those inflated numbers, in some cases, but this appears to be pervasive and makes it appear our Government is taking advantage of people, pulling the wool over our collective eyes, so to speak.  Come on man, why you gotta add an adjustment on top of already market-adjusted numbers?!

Question our local governments (City, County, and Schools) because they are eating us out of house and home…figuratively, and soon, literally.

Holler if can help in your fight.