How To | TCAD Appraisal Protest

Written By: Connor Matthews

 

Every spring, Travis County property owners whose market value has increased by at least $1,000 over the last year will receive a Notice of Appraised Value by the Travis Central Appraisal District (TCAD). This notice contains three important values; Market Value, Assessed Value, and Taxable Value. The TCAD is responsible for fairly determining the value of all real and business personal property within Travis, County, and appraises property according to the Texas Property Tax Code and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices (USPAP).

 

However, if you believe the market value of your property is incorrect, you have the right to protest that value. Here’s a simple guide on when you should protest your taxes and how you can do so.

 

When should I protest my taxes?

  • When your appraised value is higher than your purchase price (if purchased during the prior year).
  • If similar sales comps indicate a lower than appraised value.
  • If property condition is poorer (and can be documented) vs. similar appraised properties.

 

How do I protest my taxes online?

  1. Go to https://www.traviscad.org/eservices/ and select “E-File”. If you do not already have a login, you’ll need to create a New User account.
  2. Once your account is created, you’ll need to add the Owner ID and PIN number provided in your notice of appraised value mailed to you from TCAD. To add your Owner ID and PIN, go to Profile > Manage PINs > Add New PIN.
  3. You’re now ready to appeal your taxes online. Select Taxpayer Tools > Online Appeals > Click Here to E-File > Select “E-File” button next to the property you would like to protest. Once selected, you’ll need to provide commentary (limited to 1024 characters – don’t worry, you’ll still have the opportunity to upload evidence at a later stage). Check the box at the top if you would like to request a copy of the evidence which will be used in the hearing. After submitting, be ready to provide your opinion of value. The status of your appeal should show “In Review” at this stage.
  4. Shortly after submitting your appeal (it could be a few days pending volume of appeals), you should receive a protest update email from TCAD indicating a protest and case number have been successfully created for your property. You can now upload evidence using the Evidence menu at the top of the TCAD Web Portal. If you purchased your home in the prior year and your purchase price was lower than your appraised value, your best path forward is simply uploading your Closing Disclosure that reflects the purchase price (TCAD is generally prompt at making adjustments with this evidence provided). If your appraised value is under your purchase price or you did not purchase your home in the prior year, you’ll need to provide sales comps as evidence that your TCAD appraisal is overvalued. If in fact your home’s tax appraisal is overvalued, your Urbanspace agent may be able to provide sales comps for your protest evidence. To submit evidence, select “Evidence View” from the Protest Summary view and select “Upload”.
  5. Once evidence is submitted, TCAD will review and provide a settlement offer (within 10 business days). The settlement amount could be higher or lower than or the same as the initial appraised amount. After receiving the settlement amount you must accept, reject, or withdraw the offer.
    • If accepted, your appraised value will be updated to reflect the settlement offer.
    • If you reject the settlement offer, you will receive a letter in the mail with a formal hearing date and time. 
    • You can withdraw from the appeal process at any time. 

 

TCAD also provides tutorial videos here https://www.traviscad.org/protests/

 

 

Understand How TCAD appraises Your Property 

It’s important to note that TCAD’s process of appraising homes is much different than how an appraiser hired by a bank values a property. Understanding how TCAD appraises properties will help in determining what evidence will and will not be to your benefit when protesting.

 

  • TCAD assesses a property value based on the land and the improvements
    • Land value is based on the neighborhood and is generally consistent across similar sized lots within a neighborhood
    • Improvements are valued based on square footage and property condition
      • Property condition is identified with a class code and is generally a factor of property age
        • As property ages the class code will be adjusted to reflect condition
        • If you apply for a permit to renovate your home, the class code will also be updated
  • Generally, it’s easier to argue a properties improvements value vs. land value. This can be a challenge for central Austin neighborhoods as often, the land is worth more than the improvement. If you protest your land value, you likely will not be offered a reduced settlement and will need to reject and proceed with a formal hearing date and time.

 

How To | Get Pre-Qualified for a Home Mortgage

 

Shopping for a new home is an exciting time and we love getting to be a part of the process. To make this process as easy as possible for you, we strongly recommend that you get pre-qualified by a lender. A mortgage pre-qualification can be useful as an accurate estimate of how much you can afford to spend on a home and ensures you are truly looking in your price range.

 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on the pre-qualification process. 

 

1. Find a Lender 

Find a lender you’d like to work with. We’ve included a few of our favorite lenders below. They serve as a resource to select the financial institution best suited to you so that you can choose the most competitive loan terms and most favorable lending experience.

 

2. Have Your Information Ready 

Once you’ve found a lender you’d like to work with, the Lender will start with gathering some basic information about you and your financial history. If you are going to have a co-borrower, the Lender will need their information as well. In order to pull the required credit report, the lender will need information such as your gross income before taxes, and your social security number. 

 

3. Receive Your Results 

If the information you have given and the information obtained from your credit report meets the lender’s guidelines, the lender will make a preliminary decision on the particular loan you qualify for. *It is important to note that the Lender is not making a promise to lend this specific amount. Each lender will have their own standards and guidelines as to how much they will allow you to borrow. 

 

Urbanspace’s Favorite Austin Food Delivery + Take-Out Spots

With the citywide “Shelter in Place” order in full effect until April 13th, Austin restaurants have been forced to temporarily close their dining rooms. However, some of Austin’s best restaurants remain open with carry-out and delivery options. While typical takeout options range from drive-thrus to pizza delivery, many local restaurants that have never offered takeout service before have turned to the new model. 

 

While transitioning to to-go can be difficult with certain cuisines, restaurants have found a way to make it work including additions to the menu, and the option for “family-style” meals. With an expansive list of new takeout options, now is the prime time to support your local restaurants and order takeout from somewhere you wouldn’t normally consider. 

 

Here’s a list of some of Urbanspace’s favorite restaurants that are still serving to-go. 

 

Hestia: The open-fire restaurant is now fully to-go with both delivery and curbside options, Tuesday-Saturday, 5-9pm. Sister restaurant Henbit will be serving food as well, from 11am-2pm, and 5-9pm. (607 w 3rd st, austin, tx 78701) 

 

Better Half Coffee & Cocktails: The neighborhood bar that specializes in burgers & breakfast offers both curbside and delivery options from 9am-9pm. Check out their Happy Hour menu that consists of $5 burgers and sangria everyday from 1-4pm. (406 walsh st, austin, tx 78703) 

 

Uchi: The upscale sushi restaurant located on South Lamar currently offers curbside pickup with a delivery option coming soon. Simply place your order over the phone during 2:30-8:30pm or online to reserve a pickup time. Wine, sake, and beer is 25% off. (801 south lamar blvd, austin, tx 78704) 

 

Red Ash: The craft Italian restaurant that specializes in fresh handmade pastas, pristine seafood, and locally sourced prime meats offers call ahead and pickup orders each day from 4:30-9:00pm. Enjoy 50% off all Wines by the bottle with your food order. (303 colorado st, austin, tx 78701) 

 

Matt’s El Rancho: An Austin Tex-Mex favorite, Matt’s currently offers delivery or pickup Sunday-Thursday, 11am-7:30pm, and Friday-Saturday, 11am-8:30pm. Don’t forget about the legendary Bob Armstrong! (2613 south lamar blvd, austin, tx 78704) 

 

Tiny Boxwoods: The Houston based restaurant is offering their classic lunch and dinner menu items such as the Turkey Avocado Club, the Lucky Burger, and Pizza. They are also offering family style meals that feed 4- check out their website for this week’s lineup. Tiny’s will be open for pickup Tuesday-Friday, 11am-2pm and 4-8pm, Saturday-Sunday, 10am-2pm, and Saturday, 4-8pm. Tiny’s bakery Milk & Cookies will be open daily from 8am-8pm. (1503 w 35th st, austin, tx 78703) 

 

Fixe: This Southern Cuisine favorite is now offering call-ahead curbside pickup and delivery daily from 9am-8pm. The menu includes Biscuits and Biscuit Sandwiches, Snacks & Salads, select Entrees, and Family Style Meals like Fried Chicken or New Orleans Style Jambalaya. (500 w 5th st, austin, tx 78701) 

 

Loro: This Asian Smokehouse and Bar is now offering takeout and delivery daily from 11:30am-8:30pm. Specials include 25% off all beer, wine, and sake available for pickup only, the Loro Cheeseburger available all day for $8.75, and $40 Cocktail kits that make 8 drinks. (2115 south lamar blvd, austin, tx 78704) 

 

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew: This exceptional BBQ joint located off North Lamar is now offering curbside pickup with call-in and online orders Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-8pm. Check out their website for their daily specials such as today’s Smoked Prime Rib and Friday’s Texas Wagyu Chicken Fried Steak. (6610 north lamar blvd, austin, tx 78757) 

 

Lin Asian Bar + Dim Sum: The restaurant that specializes in Asian home cooking and Dim Sum is now open for online orders offering takeout and delivery options for Lunch, Dinner, and Weekend Brunch. Hours for pickup include Monday-Friday, 11am-2:30pm, and 5-9:30pm, and Saturday-Sunday, 11am-2:30pm, and 5-9:30pm. (1203 w 6th st, austin, tx 78703) 

 

5 Great Tips for Downsizing to a Condo

By Abby Drexler

There are many reasons why you might be downsizing to a condo, including the fact that your kids have moved out of the house and you no longer need the space, you need a place that requires less maintenance or you are looking for a change. No matter what the reason, getting ready to move from a larger home into a smaller one will take some time and effort.

 

1. Plan Ahead

Since it can take a while to sort through your belongings and sell the home you are currently living in, you’ll want to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get through the process. If you are moving with a family member or spouse, make sure everyone is comfortable and on board with the downsizing decision. This can reduce having to deal with hurt feelings and anger later down the road. Depending on your situation, you may need a few months to get all of your things together and make sure everyone is comfortable, or you may need up to a year. Make sure to take as much time as you need.

 

2. Consider the Items You Can’t Live Without

Through the years of living in your current home, you have no doubt acquired a lot of different things. Some of these will be important to you, and others not so much. Before moving into your new condo, it’s a good idea to make a list of the things that you can’t live without. This might include sentimental items that were given to you by friends or family members or pieces of furniture that are incredibly comfortable that you just have to have.

 

3. Get Rid of Things You No Longer Need

For all the items that didn’t make it onto your list, you’ll need to decide what to do with them. There won’t be enough room in your condo for all of your belongings, so the only options you have are putting your stuff in storage (which will incur a monthly cost) or getting rid of them. If any of the items are in good shape, consider recycling, selling ordonating them. The only things that you should throw away are items that are broken.

 

4. Know the Measurements in Your New Place 

Before moving any items into your new condo, it’s helpful if you know the measurements in your new place. This will ensure that your furniture and other belongings will fit. If they won’t, then you’ll need to make some decisions about what to do with them. This step can help you reduce your belongings even further to ensure that you are only taking the necessary items to your new home.

 

5. Work with a Moving Company

Once you are ready to move into your new condo, make sure to work with a moving company. This will make the process easier. You won’t have to worry about asking friends or family members to help move you into your new condo, and you won’t have to stress about how you’re going to move the heavy items. If you work with the right moving company, they may even pack your belongings for you.

 

Deciding to downsize your home and move into a condo is a major life decision. It will come with some stresses and fears, but it can also be viewed as an exciting new adventure. It will take some time and effort to get ready for the move, but putting a plan in place and having people help, including professional movers, will make the process less daunting and challenging.

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