Property Tax Reduction Services
 

PROPERTY TAX REDUCTION SERVICES

 
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  Protest deadline is May 31st each year
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
  1. When is the deadline for filing a property tax protest?


  2. Should I file a protest?


  3. My appraised value didn't change from last year. Is it worth filing a protest this year?


  4. We never received anything from the Appraisal District this year. Don't they have to send us a notice every year?


  5. Do I have to hire an agent to protest the value of my property?


  6. What is the difference between the appraised value and the market value of my property?


  7. If you lower my appraised value, will that lower my market value?


  8. How much will it cost to hire Property Tax Reduction Services?


  9. How do you determine what the appraised value of my property should be?


  10. Will I have to accompany you to the protest hearing?


  11. I've already filed my protest. Can I still sign up for your services?


  12. If I sign up for your services, will you automatically protest the value every year?


  13. How will you keep current on the condition of my property from year to year?


  14. Will filing a protest make the Appraisal District look at me harder next year?


  15. Step 5 of your Appointment of Agent Form says "upon written notice". Why and can I put a date in there instead?


  16. What documentation can I provide that will help with my protest?


  17. If I want to sign up for your services, do I need to come to your office or will you come to my property?


  18. I recently purchased my property. How will that effect my appraised value?


  19. Could the Appraisal District RAISE my assessment if I protest?


  20. Why do you have two different fee structures?


  21. If I have the over 65 exemption, the surviving spouse exemption, or the disabled persons exemption, is it worth my while to protest?


  22. I'm turning 65 this year. What implications does that have for my property taxes?


  23. I don't have any school age children. Do I still have to pay school taxes?


  24. If we sign up for your services, where will the Appraisal District and Tax Assessors Office mail their notices and bills to?


  25. What properties qualify for a homestead exemption?


  26. How can I find out what exemptions I qualify for and how do I file for an exemption?


  27. Do you handle commercial properties?


  28. Do you do protests in any counties other than Bexar County?


  29. Are you guys lawyers?


  30. How successful are you in obtaining reductions?


  31. What is your average reduction?


  32. Who notifies the mortgage company of any reduction you get in my appraised value?


  33. If you get a reduction, will that affect my mortgage payment?


  34. Where else can I go to find some useful information?


  35. My property is in Bexar County, but I pay school taxes in a different county. Will you represent this property?


  1. When is the deadline for filing a property tax protest?
  2. May 31, or no later than 30 days after the Appraisal District mails your preliminary value notice, whichever is later. (If May 31 falls on a weekend, you have till the next business day.)

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  3. Should I file a protest?
  4. If you feel that the Appraisal District has appraised your property value too high, we believe you should file a protest. However, if you have the over 65 exemption, the surviving spouse over 65 exemption, or the disable person exemption, we really can't help you. Your taxes are frozen and it wouldn't be in your best interest to pay someone for work that almost certainly isn't going to save you money.

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  5. My appraised value didn't change from last year. Is it worth filing a protest this year?
  6. Yes. Just because your appraisal hasn't changed doesn't mean the value of your property hasn't changed. If you are experiencing problems with your property, that gives us an opportunity to lower your appraisal. And while the real estate market has generally been up in recent years, sometimes the price buyers are paying do go down. We do the research for our clients to identify those areas where this may be taking place. And finally, you may have been appraised too high last year!

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  7. We never received anything from the Appraisal District this year. Don't they have to send us a notice every year?
  8. No. The Appraisal District will generally only send out preliminary value notices for those properties whose value changed from last year, have new owners, or some other change to the property occurred. It's very important to understand that even if the Appraisal District does not send you a value notice to remind you of your right to protest, your deadline to file a protest is still May 31.

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  9. Do I have to hire an agent to protest the value of my property?
  10. No. You can handle the protest yourself. We offer you years of experience, knowledge of what the Appraisal District is looking for, access to information you probably can't get to, freeing up your time, and relieving you of the stress of having to confront the appraisers.

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  11. What is the difference between the appraised value and the market value of my property?
  12. While the two values are generally close to each other, they are not the same. The appraised value is that value placed on your property by the Appraisal District for tax purposes in any given year. And keep in mind it may have been two or even three years since the District looked at your property. The market value is a much more current figure, and is much more customized to the specific condition of your property. Market value is defined as (watch out, this is a mouthful!) the highest price a ready, willing and able buyer would pay and the lowest price a ready, willing and able seller would accept, when neither the buyer or seller is under any pressure to act. In other words, how much can you get for the property if you're not in a big hurry to sell it?

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  13. If you lower my appraised value, will that lower my market value?
  14. Nope! See FAQ #6 above.

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  15. How much will it cost to hire Property Tax Reduction Services?
  16. That depends entirely on how much we reduce your appraised value. There are no sign-up fees or yearly fees, and if we don't lower your appraisal, there will be no fee at all. For a detailed look at our fee structure, go to our Pricing tab.

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  17. How do you determine what the appraised value of my property should be?
  18. We'll look at several factors. First, if you've purchased your property in the last couple of years, your purchase price will be the most dominate factor. Next we'll consider the condition of your property. (The information you provide us about your property will be vital!) Then we'll look for properties in your neighborhood that are approximately the same size and age that have sold recently to see what they are selling for and what they are appraised at.

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  19. Will I have to accompany you to the protest hearing?
  20. No. Once you sign up for our services, we can handle all protest matters for you.

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  21. I've already filed my protest. Can I still sign up for your services?
  22. Yes. There are two important points to remember in this situation. First, we'll need your signature on the Appointment of Agent form before your hearing date arrives, so time may be short. Second, since you filed the protest, the Appraisal District will send you the Hearing Notice; so when you get the notice, you've got to tell us when the hearing is or we'll never know!

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  23. If I sign up for your services, will you automatically protest my value every year?
  24. We automatically analyze the value of every property every year. We file a protest on those properties our analysis suggests may be overvalued. If you want us to protest any or every year regardless of what our analysis shows, just tell us and we'll do that for you. If for any reason you DON'T want us to file a protest in any given year, just let us and we won't file a protest.

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  25. How will you keep current on the condition of my property from year to year?
  26. You'll tell us! Every spring we mail to every client and ask them to give us a call if there has been any change to their property's condition since last year.

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  27. Will filing a protest make the Appraisal District look at me harder next year?
  28. No. When the Appraisal District appraises a property, it does not consider past protests.

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  29. Step 5 of your Appointment of Agent Form says "upon written notice". Why and can I put a date in there instead?
  30. We believe that signing up on a continuing basis provides our clients with the best value for their investment. Our clients know we are analyzing their appraised value every year to ensure their taxes stay as low as possible. Of course, we never charge a fee except in those years we actually reduce the appraisal. If, however, you'd like to cross out "upon written notice", and put in a specific date, you may certainly do so.

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  31. What documentation can I provide that will help with my protest?
  32. Documentation on the condition of your property is a big plus! If you've recently purchased your property, a copy of your HUD-1 Settlement Statement will be very important. Pictures showing the condition of the property are very useful. Other documentation includes repair estimates, engineers reports, or a current appraisal of your property.

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  33. If I want to sign up for your services, do I need to come to your office or will you come to my property?
  34. Probably neither! To sign up for our services, we just need your signature on a couple of forms. Click on our Sign Up tab and it will take you through the process.

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  35. I recently purchased my property. How will that effect my appraised value?
  36. For properties purchased within the last two to three years, your purchase price is by far the most dominate factor in determining value. Unless you're experiencing problems with the property, it will be very difficult to get your appraisal below your purchase price.

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  37. Could the Appraisal District RAISE my appraisal if I protest?
  38. Theoretically, yes. When you protest a value, you receive two hearing dates. The first is informal, with just us and an appraiser from the District. Your value will not be raised at the informal hearing. We complete most of our protests at this informal hearing. The second hearing is formal, with us, an appraiser from the District, and an independent panel of three citizens. This panel has the authority to raise values, but rarely does. When we take a protest to the formal hearing, we generally know ahead of time from our first meeting with the appraiser if they will recommend an increase in value at the formal hearing, so the risk is minimized. If we feel there is even a remote possibility that the panel may raise your value, we will contact you and explain the risk involved before going to the formal hearing. If you don't want us to proceed, we will withdraw the protest.

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  39. Why do you have two different fee structures?
  40. Our basic fee structure is 50% of the taxes saved for that year. But because of the way taxes are calculated for properties with a capped value, an Over 65 exemption, or the Disabled person exemption, some reductions will be too small to provide a tax savings in the current tax year. Please understand that the 1.4% fee structure is in place to protect us by ensuring we are paid for our services. In doing so, however, it puts the property owner at greater risk, because, as stated above, we don't know how much money, if any, they are saving. For more information about our fee structure, go to our Pricing tab.

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  41. If I have the over 65 exemption, the surviving spouse exemption, or the disabled persons exemption, is it worth my while to protest?
  42. Probably not. Your taxes are frozen for most taxing entities. However, whether or not to file a protest is a personal decision only you can make. We do not represent homeowners with any of these exemptions; with their taxes frozen, we simply cannot save them any money.

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  43. I'm turning 65 this year. What implications does that have for my property taxes?
  44. The implications are huge! Your school, county, community college, and city taxes (depending on what city you live in) will be frozen at whatever you pay this year, so you'll want to get your appraisal as low as possible. If there's any year you want to protest, this is it. Your savings will continue as long as you live at that property (unless you make significant upgrades to it)!

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  45. I don't have any school age children. Do I still have to pay school taxes?
  46. Yep!

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  47. If we sign up for your services, where will the Appraisal District and Tax Assessors Office mail their notices and bills to?
  48. The only mail we should get is your preliminary value notice and your hearing notice. When we receive your preliminary value notice, we will immediately advise you of the value and invite you to give us an update on the condition of your property. This usually occurs in April or May. The Tax Assessors Office should continue to send all correspondence to you or your mortgage company.

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  49. What properties qualify for a homestead exemption?
  50. If you own your home and it was your principal residence on January 1, your property qualifies for a homestead exemption. Only one of your properties can have this exemption.

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  51. How can I find out what exemptions I qualify for and how do I file for an exemption?
  52. By calling the Appraisal District at (210) 224-8511 and asking for customer service. If you qualify they will mail you the appropriate forms or you can download the forms from their website. By visiting their website you can also see what exemptions you already have.

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  53. Do you handle commercial properties?
  54. No. We only do residential properties. We do not handle commercial, agricultural, or personal property or vacant lots.

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  55. Do you do protests in any counties other than Bexar County?
  56. No. Nor are we aware of any other companies handling other counties at this time.

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  57. Are you guys lawyers?
  58. No. We are real estate agents who specialize in protesting property values.

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  59. How successful are you in obtaining reductions?
  60. Historically we have obtained a reduction on about 65 percent of our protests.

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  61. What is your average reduction?
  62. We don't calculate that information. Because of the wide range of property values we represent, we feel the number would be virtually meaningless.

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  63. Who notifies the mortgage company of any reduction you get in my appraised value?
  64. We have no contact with mortgage companies. If you would like your mortgage company to have notification of the new appraisal before the Appraisal District contacts them, you will need to call your mortgage company directly.

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  65. If you get a reduction, will that affect my mortgage payment?
  66. Not necessarily. Mortgage companies have specific guidelines they must follow to ensure your escrow account has enough funds to pay your taxes and insurance. If the amount of your reduction is small, your mortgage company probably won't reduce your payment. You'll need to contact your mortgage company to ask about your specific situation.

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  67. Where else can I go to find some useful information?
  68. Try some of these links. We've found them useful in the past.

    Bexar Appraisal District

    Bexar County

    Bexar County Clerk

    City of San Antonio

    State Tax Central

    Window on State Government

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  69. My property is in Bexar County, but I pay school taxes in a different county. Will you represent this property?
  70. Absolutely!

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