Agents find gold in property tax appeals

3 ways this service can help boost reputation, referrals

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Dealing with the property-taxing authorities can be daunting. In fact, it’s so daunting many owners simply cave in and pay the increased property taxes. If you want to create great buzz about your business and help your clients as well, helping them with an appeal on their taxes is one of the best ways to do this.

We received our property tax bill in January and it showed an increased assessment on our home of 4.3 percent. Because we’re in the most expensive school district in the state, this translated into almost $2,300 more in taxes than the comparable sales suggested our evaluation should be.

Our formal hearing was a real eye-opener on how the taxing authorities work, as well as what you can do as a customer service-savvy agent to help your clients.

The guidelines from our local appraisal district said that the district would use the median sales prices. I had our Realtor pull the comparable sales and there were four excellent comparable sales with the same lot size, similar age, as well as within 10 percent of the square footage on our house. The guidelines also said that the sales date should be as close to Jan. 1, 2011, as possible.

I also came armed with information showing that prices in Austin had declined 7 to 10 percent overall. My comparable sales information supported this as well.