March 01, 2021

How to save on your property tax - 5 reasons why your neighbor’s property tax bill is lower than yours and how you can lower your property tax bill too!

Your neighbor may have a property that is very similar to yours. It may appear pretty much the same, have similar dimensions, the same number of rooms and other amenities. Yet, it is possible that your neighbor's property tax bill is significantly lower than yours. If you are at your wit's end as to how that may even be possible, this article is for you!

Homeowner wondering why their appraised value is higher than their neighbor's

Yes it is possible for your neighbor to have a lower property tax bill than yours. This holds good no matter how identical your properties may be. Here are 5 reasons why your neighbor with a seemingly similar property is paying a significantly lower amount in property tax than you and what you too can do to reduce your property tax.

Your neighbor qualifies for exemptions you or your property don't qualify for

Taxing entities offer several exemptions on the property's appraised value based on the owner's and the property's qualifications. If your neighbor is aged 65 or older, is a veteran or a disabled veteran or a surviving spouse or child of a deceased disabled veteran, or a surviving spouse of a deceased first responder killed in action, they could qualify for partial or total exemptions that you do not qualify for.

What you can do

Determining a property as your principal residence can help save tax money through homestead exemptions but this can only be claimed on one property that you regularly reside at or intend to.
Learn more about all exemptions and necessary qualifications to claim them in the state of Texas now..

You have made improvements to your property before the assessment that your neighbor hadn't

Now that you compare your property to your neighbor's, it may be very similar in terms of dimensions, improvements etc. But your neighbor may have been smart enough to wait till after the assessment to get that shiny new marble counter-top or some new fancy appliances. Any and all structural changes, such as the addition of a deck, pool, garage or shed, directly raise the market value of your property.

What you can do

The next time you plan to renovate or make improvements to your property, time it right. Get it done after the assessment for a particular taxing year to save on your tax bill until it is time for the next annual assessment.

Your neighbor's curb appeal is simpler compared to yours

Although structurally similar, your neighbor’s property may have a very modest external appearance as compared to yours. Curb appeal plays a major role in telling your assessor what your property may overall be like. A fancy-looking home from the outside could make your assessor assume that the property has expensive fittings and other factors that contribute to a higher valuation.

What you can do

While it is tempting to make your home look lavish inside-out, keeping it simple encourages assessors to assign a lower market value to your property, thereby decreasing your property taxes.

Your neighbor was present at the time of the annual assessment

You are not legally required to be present, walk your assessor through your property or even grant them access to your property. But leaving it completely to the assessor's will may result in assumptions about expensive refurbishments or extravagant interiors, leading to higher property taxes.

What you can do

Volunteer to show your assessor your entire property. Be an active part of the assessment process and walk with them. This gives you a chance to point out and let the assessor make a note of all wear and tear. Every small such factor plays a crucial role in reducing the dollars on your property tax bill.

Your neighbor has appealed the property appraisal notice and you haven't

This may be the most obvious reason why your neighbor's property tax bill is significantly lower while yours has only been climbing up drastically year to year! More and more homeowners are realizing that their neighbors have lower taxes than they do, simply because appeals have been filed for several years. Only those properties under appeal get reduced tax bills while others do not.

What you can do

Claim your legal right to appeal your property’s market value and lower your property tax bill.

Every property owner is legally allowed the right to challenge the property's market value. Maybe your assessor has made a mistake in calculating your land or building square footage. Or they have outdated records of number of bed, bath, pool etc. Recent sales data of highly evaluated properties nearby tend to increase the assessed value of similar properties. Maybe there are such discrepancies you could bring to the notice of your assessor and significantly lower your tax bill.

Do you want to appeal your property appraisal notice? Begin by researching comparable properties in your area to locate properties recently sold at lower prices than what your property is being assessed at. It is a tedious and time-consuming process to comb through several similar properties to find truly comparable ones.

Fortunately, Square Deal offers the best and easiest way to find the closest comparable properties with just a few clicks! Find comparables that you can make use of to ensure fair and equal assessment of your property for taxing purposes now.

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Articles presented here are for general information and education only. It is provided as a courtesy to the general public. SQD Taxtech LLC does not warrant that it is accurate or complete. Opinions expressed and estimates or projections given are those of the authors or persons quoted as of the date of the article with no obligation to update or notify of inaccuracy or change. This article may not be reproduced, distributed or further published by any person without the written consent of SQD Taxtech LLC. Please cite source when quoting.

SQD Taxtech LLC, its managed affiliates and subsidiaries, as a matter of policy, do not give tax, accounting, regulatory or legal advice. Rules in the areas of law, tax, and accounting are subject to change and open to varying interpretations. You should consult with your other advisors on the tax, accounting and legal implications of actions you may take based on any strategies presented, taking into account your own particular circumstances.