According to SmartAsset, the national median property tax paid is roughly $2,839.00. That’s about 1.192 percent of a home valued at $238,200.00. If you’re able to reduce your assessed value by 15 percent to $202,470.00 and consequently save 15 percent on your tax bill, your new tax bill will be about 2,413.00. That’s a savings of $426.00!
However, we all know that property taxes are MUCH higher than 1.192% in Harris County, Texas, which means the potential savings can be MUCH higher, too. For example, the median property tax paid in 2015 in Bridgeland in Cypress, TX was $12,416 (not including homestead exemption) based on a $334,768 median assessed value. If you were able to reduce that assessed value by 15% to $284,552, your new tax bill would be about $10,500 which would be a savings of $1916.00!
To get started protesting your property tax, read your assessment letter. Your assessment letter will list data about your property and the assessed value of your house and land. Make sure your assessment letter has the correct information about your property.
Understanding that assessors can make mistakes assessing your home value will help you with your appeal. There are three key mistakes assessor make when assessing property. These mistakes include:
Outdated Historic Sales Data: Sometimes assessors will use sales data from previous years. Because the real estate market is fluid, this data changes quickly, as a result; this data can over value your home.
Mass Appraisal Methods: Also, when assessors use mass appraisal methods, they do not take into account all the market adjustments that occurred over time. Consequently, there sales data can’t always produce useful comparable properties to set future sales.
Living Area: Assessors notoriously make mistakes about the living area of your house. This is especially true if you live in a 1.5 or 2 story home. Check any previous appraisals to ensure correct measurements and description of our home. Does the assessment letter show the right number of bathrooms and bedrooms? Does it report the correct size of your lot? .5 acres differs greatly than 5.0 acres.
After reading your assessment letter, consult a Realtor. We can find three to five approximate values of comparable properties similar to yours, and these comps can then be used to support your claim that your home is overvalued. This is especially useful if the assessor used poor historical sales data.
You’ll have 30 days to file an appeal of your assessment, so you’ll want to get the comps as soon as your assessment arrives. You can speak with an assessor on the phone or request a formal review.
You’ll then need to fill out a form and follow specific instructions regarding your supporting evidence. Typically, it’s not necessary for you to appear at the review. The review can take one to three months to complete, and you’ll receive a decision in writing.
The majority of assessment appeals are successful. However, if at first you don’t succeed, appeal. You’ll need to pay a small filing fee for an independent appeals board to hear your second appeal. This process could take up to a year to complete, so you’ll need to decide whether it’s truly worth it.
Home Improvement Tax Deduction
You spend so much of your time at home, and you try to make it as comfortable a place to live as possible. If your home needs some upgrades, consider improvements that will help foot the bill for themselves.
You can get an energy-efficient tax credit of up to $500 for installing storm doors and energy-efficient insulation and air-conditioning and heating systems. Switching out your old windows for energy-efficient ones could earn you $200. This credit expires this year on December 31st. So, this year will be your last chance to take advantage of getting tax credit for making your home more energy efficient.
Also, installing equipment that uses renewable sources of energy makes you eligible for the Renewable Energy Efficiency Property Credit. The credit covers 30 percent of the cost of equipment and installation. This credit also expires this year on December 31st.
Mortgage Interest and Refinancing
If your mortgage payment makes you cringe each month, you’ll be glad to know you can deduct taxes on the following:
* Interest towards mortgage
* Mortgage payments for additional property
* Rental properties
* Refinancing and home equity lines of credit (HELOC) up to $100,000 of debt.
If you own multiple properties, the mortgage interest on additional property is deductible as well. The cool thing is that it doesn’t have to be a house. It can be a boat or RV; as long as it has cooking, sleeping, and bathroom facilities, it counts as additional property.
Regarding using your second home as a rental, you need to vacation at least 14 days at the property or spend more than 10 percent of the number of days you rent it out.
Furthermore, you can claim points on your mortgage the year you paid them if the following happened:
* The loan was to purchase or build your main home
* Payment of points is an established business practice in your area and the points were within the usual range
As a homeowner, you have plenty of options available to decrease your tax burden. The benefit is that you can use your tax savings for major life events such as weddings, vacations, and home improvements.
To find out more about your tax saving options as a homeowner, check out tax information for homeownerson the IRS website. You can also contact me (Jim) directly at 713-446-1018 and I’ll gladly lead you in the right direction towards saving you money on your taxes.
This is great news for those in the Cypress area who work in The Woodlands. Commute times will drop from about 50 minutes (without traffic) to about 30 minutes once the new toll road is open.
With this new road, Cypress will be about equidistant to all of the main business districts in the Houston area: The Woodlands, The Energy Corridor (I-10 @ Eldridge), Downtown Houston, and The Galleria.
Only 2 more years (Late 2017) until the Hwy 290 expansion project is scheduled to be complete! There will be some huge parties over in Cypress once that happens!