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The DIY guide to protesting your property appraisal

We sat down with a professional protestor, who shared some insight about how to fight the valuation that will be used to determine your property tax bill.

DALLAS — You can board up the windows and lock the door — but they’re coming. Last week we talked about property appraisals being sent out. That estimate of your property’s value is the first part of the equation that, when multiplied by the tax rates that will be set by local tax authorities, will determine how much you’ll owe in property taxes.   

You might want to protest yours but may not know what to do. Enter Chandler Crouch, a realtor in Tarrant County who has been at the forefront of protesting appraisals. Crouch quickly gained notoriety for the blog on his website where he posts how-to videos for protesting. 

For years he has also been running an automated free service that assists property owners in Tarrant County in beginning the protest process. Another realtor, Ben Lauer, is offering a similar free protest service in Dallas County.

RELATED: Texas property appraisals are going out again, but you can protest them. Just make sure you have a homestead exemption first

You can listen to our podcast with Chandler Crouch discussing property tax appraisals by clicking here

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Here are some takeaways. Crouch says:  

  • The number one thing that you should do is take your value notice, turn it over, fill the thing out and mail it in. That satisfies the legal requirement of filing a protest.  
  • Since the appraisal is based on other homes around you, ask the appraisal district for the comparisons they are using. They must tell you which houses they are comparing yours to in order to determine your appraised value.  
  • You can drive around and take pictures of the comparable properties the appraisal district used and show evidence of how your property doesn’t compare to them. 
  • You can also ask your realtor to provide you with comparable properties. And Crouch says don't just ask for the past 30 days or six months. Go all the way back to Jan. 1, 2020…since your appraisal is based upon the entire previous year. 
  • If you made major repairs to your home recently, but the damage existed before January 2021, you can use that to detract from your appraised value.  
  • Crouch also says if you have a fairly recent inspection report, you can cite flaws that were noted in the report to detract from the appraised value. 
  • And he says in some cases it may make sense to hire a contractor or inspector to itemize repairs that need to be made to your home to prove to the appraisal district that the estimated value they produced is too high.

Now let’s dive into pool construction —and destruction

It looks like this is going to be another summer where I am going to have to make sure I have friends...who have pools. Now seems like a bad time to get one built. I don’t like buying something when a lot of other people are buying it. That’s because the cost — just like the waterline when too many swimmers get in — goes way up.  

Pool Corp just announced it expects more than 110,000 swimming holes to be constructed in the U.S. this year, more than in any year since the Great Recession. The company just announced results for the first quarter of 2021. Here are some of their hottest markets with the corresponding rate at which pool sales there surged: California (30%), Arizona (29%), and Florida (33%). But Texas cannon-balled those numbers. Pool Corp announced that pool sales in the Lone Star State jetted up 68%!

RELATED: Texans have until April 14 to renew vehicle title and registration

Pool Corp said our February winter storm made for big business. In fact, your pool may still be waiting for repairs and replacements. You may even still be fighting with the insurance company over this. I got a lot of messages from people whose pipes burst, the water froze, and the concrete cracked. Many insurers don’t cover pool freezes (so many have learned that lesson the hard way recently). Insurers recommend you drain your pool at the end of the season. Hopefully, first you’ll be able to get it filled up and working again this season. ,