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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. 

 

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