For most homeowners, a Residential Homestead Exemption can significantly reduce property taxes.  If you have not already done so, January is the time to apply for this exemption.  The necessary application form #11.13 is provided by the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD).  This application covers all of the most common exemptions, including the residential exemption, the disabled exemption, the over 65 exemption and the surviving spouse exemption.

Be aware that the exemption application will need to be notarized.  In addition, the Texas Legislature now requires proof of residency (a copy of a valid Texas Drivers License or Texas ID card).  In addition, the address on the license must now exactly match the address on your exemption application.

Equitable and Fair

By law, your property tax assessment must be both equitable and fair.  In practice, this means that similar houses should be appraised with similar values.  It can therefore be helpful to compare your assessed value with those of your neighbors.  If your home is over-valued on the tax roles, a protest may be in order.

Tech Tools for Tax Protests

Some of our clients use professional tax services to protest their taxes; others do it themselves.  Roger Martin Properties offers two free real estate technology tools which can assist a homeowner in assembling the facts and figures needed for a successful tax protest. 

  • Current Listings - this website (www.rogermartinproperties.com) is designed to provide fast, accurate information about homes currently on the market.  Just set up and save a search for homes like yours, and the reports will be emailed to you regularly.

  • Sold Listings - For information on homes that have recently closed, use our mobile app.  Again, you can search, save, and send the resulting reports.  Homes sold within a year (or even better, within six months) are best to establish comparable values.  Our mobile app can be found by searching for "Roger Martin Properties" or "West University Real Estate" in your Apple or Android app store.

Just remember, we must all pay our property taxes -- but we are never required to pay more than our fair share.  Good luck!

Roger Martin