DALLAS — Fueled by the rising market value of homes throughout North Texas, property tax appraisals arriving this week are providing sticker shock for some homeowners.
It's also the time of year when Chandler Crouch's phone begins to melt, so to speak.
"It's devastating," said the Fort Worth real estate agent who also offers his services to help homeowners fight their annual property tax appraisals. "We have people calling our office every single week crying, in tears, because they don't have any answers. They don't know how they're going to afford their tax bill."
This year, pandemic or not, supply and demand is very much in play. Mirroring trends nationwide, the median house price in DFW is up 12% this year over the same time last year, according to data compiled by Realtor.com. The number of houses available, however, is down 69%.
Realtors like Abigail Davis of Christie's International ULTERRE says that even in distant Dallas-area suburbs new construction is often on the market for as little as 15 days.
"By the time we were ready to look a couple days later," she said of a recent subdivision inquiry for a client, "they were all under contract, including the model. It goes so fast you don't have any time to think. So that pressure is everywhere."
And with that pressure, home values, and what your taxes are based on, are up as much as 10%, capped at that increase if you have a Homestead Exemption: potentially even more if you don't.
"It's a supply and demand kind of issue," said Cheryl Jordan with the Dallas County Appraisal District which mailed its latest appraisals to property owners late last week. "But regardless of that we have to reflect what is the market residential market as of January 1."
But Chandler Crouch, who helps people protest their tax appraisals, sees it more worrisome than that. Thousands are calling him for help. And Monday he was in Austin testifying in support of HB 2311 which proposes reducing the potential appraisal increase to just 5% for someone with a Homestead Exemption and no more than 10% annually for any homeowner.
"I would say it's a crisis level because we're coming off the heals of COVID and there are still many sectors of the economy that are hurt, and people out of a job," Crouch said. "We're seeing people get taxed out of their homes and it's not fun to watch."
So, as always, appraisal districts invite you to protest your appraisal. In Dallas, the preferred method is to go online. Their uFile Online Protest and Settlement System can be found at dallascad.org where you can upload your documentation and proof and be contacted by an appraiser for a possible hearing date.
But if you prefer, you can mail your protest and the documents you have that you believe prove your appraisal is too high.
Appraisal Review Board of Dallas County
PO Box 560348
Dallas TX 75356-0348
"So if you think it's wrong we want you to go ahead and protest and go through the process," said Jordan of the process that helps them refine and most accurately determine property appraisals. "But by all means if you believe that your value is incorrect, protest, and let's talk about it."
And check with your county appraisal district. In Dallas the filing deadline this year is May 17.