Homeowners in Bell County might be surprised to learn that their property has been subjected to a new appraisal, which can lead to an increase in property taxes they owe.
What can you do?
Most appraisals result in a higher assessed home value because of upward trends in the real estate market (hello 2020!) or major improvements you’ve made to your property (remodeled kitchen, new swimming pool, added bedrooms or bathrooms, for instance).
Think your recent assessment isn’t justified? You’ve got options:
#1: Talk to an assessor in person
Go to the Bell County Tax Appraisal website to find walk-in times to meet an appraiser (first-come, first-served) or to schedule a virtual meeting online.
Tip: A non-confrontational attitude and polite respect for the appraiser will give you the best shot at making your case.
Take with you:
- Documents showing comparable homes near yours that have sold within the last month-ish, to prove the value of your home. Pick homes that have a similar square footage, age, and location.
- Documents that prove the age and condition of your home.
#2: Apply for a tax exemption
This could save you up to 20% on your property taxes. There are several types of property tax exemptions.
Homestead exemptions apply to any Central Texas homeowner’s primary residence – investment properties do not count. Your homestead exception does not automatically show up on your tax bill, you must apply for it. Once you’ve applied, it will remain for the life of your loan with the property.
Other tax exceptions are available to those who are 65 or older, disabled, disabled veterans or their surviving family, or surviving family of first-responders killed in the line of duty.
Tip: If you’ve been granted an exemption, check your tax bill to make sure it was applied.
#3: Seek professional help
Property tax consultants can help you navigate the system and lower your property tax. Some companies charge a flat fee plus a percentage of the tax savings they generate.
Tip: Need up-to-date comparables for homes like yours that sold recently in your neighborhood? Contact a Sojourn REALTOR® for help.