Houston / Harris County Property Tax

17 Replies

Hi All,

I just got my 2015 tax appraisal value and can say that Harris county appraisers are going crazy !!! Compared to last year I'm having 120% increase in taxes. 

I'm planning to protest but not sure if I should do it alone or hire a company ? Can anybody recommend a local company that can help me? 

Any advise is welcomed.    


Do you mean your appraised value went up? Is this your personal home? If so, you should be protected by the homestead exemption cap which limits increases in appraised value to 10% of the previous year plus any improvements made to the property.

I live in the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest area and we're seeing huge increases as well. I see a lot of griping about it on the neighborhood Facebook page. A lot of people are protesting their appraised value, but most don't seem satisfied with the results.

You can do it yourself if you have the time to spend. There are several companies out there that do it for you. O'Connor is probably the best known. But they will charge you half of whatever they save you in property taxes. My personal experience with them is that they saved me $120 and I had to cut them a check for $60. Not worth the time it took to write a check and take it to the post office.

Here's a link to the comptroller's website about how to protest your property taxes.

tax protest

Good luck!

@Fred Heller

 Yes the appraisal value went up. Not personal it is an investment property (duplex) so no homestead. 

Thank you for the information.   

I'm facing this same dilemma with a finished flip property that we put on the market a couple of months ago in Houston.  The county recently appraised it for $489k, over $200k more than what we paid for it.  I have filed a protest and am waiting on the ARB schedule.  I opted not to use a service like O'Connor because I don't want to cut a check to them for a $1000 or more for a property I am selling.  I am having the house appraised this week for $425 and will use that as evidence at the ARB.  However, I am assuming that if I sell the house before the ARB that I will be on the hook for the full tax bill as appraised by the county.   I'm sure this is a common situation for investors, but this is the first time I've had to deal with it.

This is the norm in Texas.  Our 1.3 mil apartment purchase was assessed at 2.1 mil. We did use O'Connor and got it down to 1.3.  I recall that we only had to pay 25% of what he saved us.  I do believe that the assessors office forces the property owner to prove value so they don't have to. 

Hire a pro.  O'connor is awesome

You can also negotiate the rate the companies who protest for you will charge you.

As you can see Jeff got 25% while others are saying 50% of the saved amount.  

O'Connor used to give that 25% to investors, so I would call them and ask.  There are many companies out there that do this, so you can shop around. 

Good morning all.  First time poster here.  I was doing some late night searches on property tax agents in Houston tonight and came across this thread. I just received my hearing dates for my properties in Harris.  Is the process still the same?  Informal Hearing, and then 7 days later a Formal Hearing?  We've been using one of the larger property tax agents in Texas for awhile, but this year I'm going it alone with the assistance of Jubally.com . I have no idea what to expect this year as sales in Houston should have dropped values from November through February due to the falling oil prices.  Any other recommendations on agents, if I decide to go that route?  We have 7 properties in the Heights area, and a few off Gessner.

Houston no longer feels like an investors market due to the spike in values. Le Sigh.

@Yavor Tomov

everybody is getting hit, not just yourself. I have to go up in rent to cover just for this non-sense as well. They appraised it even higher than the market value, then you have to either go spend your time to fight or hire someone to fight it down and pay the fee or lose your time. Something doesn't make sense here. 

If you haven't register to protest it probably too late now. Call hcad and check

@Huy N.  

You are absolutely correct, they are trying to pull a fast one on people. They did appraise my property higher than market value. I have filled a protest and waiting on a date.

Good luck to all

@Brandon Ritter

It is my first time doing this so can't help you much. But as far as I know the informal hearing it will be you vs three people form Harris county and one from HCAD. Make sure you have all of the evidence/comps/pictures organized in a simple and easy to understand way.

Good Luck 

This is asinine, Harris county bankrupted me. Definitely shop around for a pro, wish I would've had BP 10 years ago to learn that. Good luck and keep us posted.

I also protested 8 of my properties in Harris County.  I always look up neighboring properties and get a price/sq foot of the house only (take appraised value - land and divide by sq feet).  If my property is higher than the neighbors I protest and value my house at slightly lower than the price/sq ft average for the neighborhood.  I have found they will work with you on the price, as they lowered 6 of the 8 I protested.   They 2 they didn't lower, I made mistakes on the value and I have to go for an informal hearing.  I filed online using ifile and have had great results and I like that I don't have to waste time driving to their office.   Also,  if you are protesting multiple properties, they try to group them together so you only have to go one time to their office.   I had a piece of land lowered by 25000 this year to 38000, so IMHO its worth it to protest

@Yavor Tomov

The informal hearing will be you and one rep from HCAD.  If you go to a formal hearing I think it is 4 people sitting on a panel.

I have a new listing in the Rice Military area. The first thing I did was pull the property on HCAD, and they have the market value at $517,000. Then I pulled some sales comps from the area, and they suggest the listing price should be somewhere in the neighborhood of $430,000. That's a pretty big difference.

Take it one further and pay someone to do a full appraisal.  

Try taxprotest.me

It fills all the required forms automatically, and it costs around $20. Way less than using a pro or ordering a full appraisal. I know of many people who used it.

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