Home prices falling, but appraisal values going up? Hmm...

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It's the time of year when homeowners receive appraisal notices in the mail. With the economy the way it is and falling home prices, you may expect a decrease in home value, or at least for it to remain the same. But we've already gotten calls from some East Texans, alarmed at a jump in their appraisal value.

Notices are in the mail as we speak to some 40,000 Smith County property owners. Many of you in other counties have already received yours. A chief appraiser, Michael Barnett, broke down how data is collected to determine your value.

"We do a lot of our work by computers [and] computer modeling," said Barnett. "The data that we have, we've been reviewing that over the years. So, we feel like in this point of time, most instances, that data is going to be pretty reliable."

With reduced for sale signs across the country, some East Texans are hoping for a little relief this time around.

"I would like to see our taxes go down because if the property is going down, it only makes sense that your taxes should go down," said Debbie Martin, a homeowner.

But Barnett says on average, values have increased here in East Texas, unlike harder hit areas.

"Phoenix, California, east coast and those areas certainly are showing significant reductions," said Barnett.

You can view your appraisal, even now online. Barnett says Smith County as a whole is seeing a slight increase. It is less than two percent, but still a bit higher.

"We had substantial new construction that primarily contributed to that," said Barnett. "Now we're leaving out of this equation that we also have a lot of properties that we have reduced."

You do have a right to protest your appraisal, if you disagree or have concerns. But Barnett encourages, before you do that, consider the trends in your own backyard as they vary.

"Drive around your neighborhood, think of what homes have sold [and] maybe visit with some of your neighbors," suggested Barnett. "Try to get a sense of what property is actually selling for."

Once you receive your notice, you have 30 days to protest it. Barnett says appraisal review boards try to finish up hearings by July 25th.

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