Protest Property Tax in Houston Helping you navigate the process of protesting your property taxes

11Jul/13Off

3 Big Reasons Your Houston Home Might Not Sell

Selling real estate isn’t always easy, and no matter how much care and attention you might put into presenting your home beautifully for potential buyers, there are always going to be things beyond your control that make selling difficult.

Here are three big reasons that your Houston real estate might not sell.

1. Busy Street

Very few people would choose to live in a busy street.

The degree to which it affects a prospective buyer will vary—from a mild discomfort to complete revulsion. If your home is located on a busy street then it’s very likely that you will get less interest in it.

The best advice is to promote the home’s other positive attributes. Highlight a renovated kitchen, or show off a media room. Try to get people to forget about the road outside.

Another idea would be planting a hedge row or erecting a fence to visibly block the source of the noise. Lastly, you can build a water feature to create a different, more pleasing sound to drown out the unfavorable road noises.

2. Unkempt Neighboring House

It’s an unfortunate fact that if the real estate on either side of your own home isn’t very appealing, it will affect the perception of your home.

This can be a difficult hurdle to overcome.

The best approach is to try and befriend your neighbor, even offer to help out on any projects that they might not have time to complete.

Cutting your neighbor’s grass or clipping their bushes wouldn’t just be a neighborly thing to do, but it could also help sell your home!

3. Electrical Towers

Electrical towers are an interesting subject because there are usually two reasons that people avoid homes that have them nearby.

First, most people consider them to be an eyesore and who likes an eyesore?

Second, there are those that believe there are health implications when living near an electrical tower. The truth is that there simply isn’t any evidence that they pose any risk and anyone visiting should be made fully aware of this.

Call CenterPoint Energy and ask for a “reading” and they’ll send out a tech to recording different locations. What you’ll usually find is that there’s absolutely nothing to fear health-wise from an electrical tower.

If you’re really struggling to sell your real estate, and you need the process to be completed as quickly as possible, then it might be wise to avoid the traditional routes of selling and deal with a home buying company instead.

Services, such as those provided by NPT mean that you’ll get an offer on your house, even if it does have one of the issues above.

These services aren’t for everyone but they’re an option if you really must sell your Houston home fast.

 

Author: Tre Pryor is an Internet-veteran turned tech-savvy Realtor specializing in Louisville real estate. One of the top Louisville agents, you can find his work at LouisvilleHomesBlog.com and InsiderLouisville.com.

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4Mar/13Off

Appealing a Property Tax Assessment

Cory is a frequent writer for Courthouse Direct. Their website, CourthouseDirect.com, is an online tool to help people search for property tax reports, assets, sales comparables and other public documents.  Click here to search.

As property values decline, so should your property tax. The amount you pay for property tax is based on your home’s assessment, which places a value on your property. If the value of your home has fallen over time, and your property tax has not, you might consider protesting your assessment through an appeals process. Go here to calculate property taxes.

Know the Process

The process for appealing your property tax amount can be complicated. You can appeal by yourself, or you might consider hiring a property tax consultant or an attorney. Some consultants charge a flat or hourly fee while others are paid on a contingency basis, meaning they will take a percentage of the tax savings only if they succeed in getting your taxes lowered.

If you plan to protest on your own, you must become familiar with the appeals process. Call the assessor’s office for information and deadlines. Deadlines are very important. If you miss a deadline for submitting paperwork, you may have to wait another year or two to appeal your assessment.

Review Your Assessment

Your home assessment can only be appealed if there is a mistake in the most recent assessment, or if the assessment is much higher than comparable homes in the area. Review your assessment and look for discrepancies.

Many assessors don’t even visit the property to make an assessment. They use a written description of your home and data from comparable properties. Historical data can be incorrect if there have been changes to the home or surrounding property. Look for mistakes and property changes that can affect the value of your home.

Attend the Hearing

If the assessor is not allowed to meet with you, or you cannot reach an agreement, then you must attend a hearing to protest your assessment. If you are representing yourself, you must pay attention to all deadlines and procedures for the hearing. Gather and organize all evidence including photos and data.

If the hearing board does not rule in your favor, you might consider taking the matter to court. However, this could cost you a lot more than you would actually be saving if you succeed in reducing your taxes. Another option would be to protest at a state level if you are rejected at the local level. (Find out how to reduce property taxes at http://protestpropertytaxhouston.com/how-to-lower-your-property-taxes/)

Final Tips

If you feel you are paying too much in property taxes, it is possible to protest your home assessment. During the process you must be organized and professional. Keep a close eye on all deadlines and stick to the facts when presenting your case.

16Feb/13Off

The Luxury of Shaded Patio Structures

Patio shade structures shield your patio area from the sun and rain. The structures can be permanent, constructed of wood or stone. The structures can also be temporary, such as an awning that can extend from the house.

There are distinct benefits to adding a permanent shade structure to your back yard. Not only does a shade structure provide protection, it also creates additional space and adds value to your home.

A shade structure creates an entertainment space

Outdoor entertaining is at its finest when you have a shaded patio. The patio structure creates a separate room where you and your guests can enjoy the outdoors without being in the hot sun, or dripping rain. You can set up some outdoor furniture, such as chairs and tables, or even couches, for you and your guests to relax and visit.

A shade structure adds value

A permanent shade structure adds value to your home that translates into real dollars when you sell your home. Not only is "shaded" or "covered" patio something you can hype on the listing information, but it is also a real selling point for others that are looking for a home with an outdoor entertainment space.

A shade structure provides protection from the elements

The rain, wind and sun will occur whether you have a patio cover or not. But with a patio cover, you can be outside enjoying the fresh air and not worrying about the heat from the sun or dampness from the rain. Additionally, the shade structure will provide that same protection to your outdoor furniture, adding to its life. Shade structures also keep the rain and wind off of your windows and doors that lead to the patio structure, leading to less damage to the seals around your doors and windows and reduced likelihood of drafts in the winter.

A shade structure is stylish

No matter what element you choose to construct your patio cover out of, the final design adds style and beauty to your home. The cover also conveys a message about your personal taste and style preferences. Patio covers are a great way to add a personal touch to your home. Patio covers do not have to be expensive in order to have maximum impact. Research the style and prices carefully and you will be sure to find one that matches your style and budget.

This guest post was brought to you by the patio cover builders of Lone Star Patios.

18Nov/11Off

End-of-Year Tax Strategies for Small Businesses

Tax time comes but once a year and, for small businesses, it’s time to maximize those tax deductions. Your accountant can help, but you can

Change happens

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take charge of your tax savings with a few simple strategies.

Accuracy counts

Your records should be accurate and up-to-date. Understanding the financial condition of your business will help you assess the feasibility of the tax strategies that are available.

Pay yourself first

Make the maximum contribution allowed by law to a retirement plan like a 401(k), KEOGH plan, Roth IRA, or SEP. A financial planner or your accountant will be able to guide you to the best option for your business.

Share and share alike

Charitable contributions are good for the recipient, the heart, and your business. Be sure to get a receipt for your donation.

Buy, buy, buy

Stock up on office supplies, pay all of your monthly bills, and pre-pay all the business expenses that your financial position will allow. If your business is typically busy during the first quarter, buy the goods and services now that you would normally purchase after the first of the year.

Write it off

While doing year-end inventory, look for goods that have been damaged, are obsolete, or have lost market value. Depending on your accounting method, these losses can provide additional deductions.

Don’t take the money

Receipt of payments for goods and services that are deferred until after January 1st won’t be taxed until the following year. This strategy can save you tax dollars if your cash flow can weather the deferral.

As with all tax deductions, the legal structure and type of business will dictate the allowable adjustments to your bottom line. By taking advantage of available tax strategies, you can reduce your taxes and keep that money flowing in your business.

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17Nov/11Off

Go Green and Save Money

Do you know what the phrase “go green” means? This is simply taking on energy-efficient habits in order to be environmentally friendly. The

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government is now encouraging taxpayers to take on these habits by offering incentives to do so. Please see below if you are looking to take advantage of these credits and deductions.

Improvements to your home.
Upgrading your home to use solar or wind energy is not the only way to make your home green. By choosing wisely when making decisions on new appliances such as a new air-conditioning, your home can become more energy efficient and you could be eligible for a tax break.

Upgrade your vehicle.
By purchasing a more fuel-efficient car you will not only be saving money on gas, but you might be able to take advantage of a federal tax credit. To receive the top amount of the tax break, your new hybrid must be within the first 60,000 sold. There will also be a lesser tax break available until the time that the offer expires. This offer can allow you to obtain a substantial savings on your new car.

Renovate your home.
Major renovations such as installing solar energy, wind energy and geothermal heating can allow you to gain up to 30 percent in tax credits per installed item. The tax credits could be quite large, thus reducing the amount of the renovations greatly.

Building a new home.
Renovations are not the only way to obtain tax credits in a home. Home builders can receive $1,000 in credits by building a home that is over 30 percent more efficient than minimum standards, and $2,000 if the home is 50 percent more efficient.

As you can see obtaining tax credits is just a matter of making decisions that are more informed and energy conscience.

17Nov/11Off

Federal Income Tax Tips

Although everyone with a job is required to pay their taxes by April 15th, there are a few things that you can do to help with IRS tax problems. (Click here for more info on the subject)

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If you are working on student loan repayment, paying off your home mortgage, or donating to a non-profit organization, you may qualify for a tax break. If you do claim any tax write-offs upon filing your 1040 form, it is vital that you keep a copy of every document you are using as proof of a write off.

Student Loan Debt
The only part of your student loan debt that can be written off in taxes is the interest upon which you have already paid. However, you may not be able to get the tax write-off unless your gross income after paying on the student loan interest averages out at $70,000 or less. It is then added on to the rest of your Schedule A deductions if this is what you are using.

Home Debt
If you are paying off your mortgage, your lender will total up the amount of interest you have paid and provide you with a 1098 form.  This will allow you to add your paid mortgage interest to any other tax deductions you have in order to create a deduction total that is higher than the standard amount.

Charities
Donations to charitable, non-profit organizations are also tax deductible. You must file a 1040 and Schedule A form. The charity will keep a running list of the donations you make on a yearly basis.  At the end of the year, you will receive a statement summarizing all your donations so you can write them off in your tax deductions.

Teresa is an accomplished business owner. Her company assists people with help in payroll Tax Problems. To find more information on wage garnishment, audits and settling back taxes visit http://www.toptaxdefenders.com.

17Nov/11Off

How to Calculate Property Taxes

Setting aside enough money to pay your annual property taxes can sometimes be challenging. In order to know how much you need to save, you should calculate a rough estimate of your taxes ahead of time. In order to be completely accurate in your calculations, you first need some crucial information about your property and your local rate of assessment.

1. Assess Property Value

One of the most important things you need to know is how much your property is worth. That means calculating both the value of the land your property is on as well as the value of the building. This number is not based on what you paid for it but rather is based on what your tax assessor deems as its overall value. Add both the value for the land and the building together and you will get the total value.
2. Learn about Local Tax Rates

If you have access to your state’s government website you can log on to discover what the projected property tax rates are for your area.
3. Tax Exemptions

You may be able to get tax exemptions on some parts of your taxes if you are disabled, over 65 years of age, or are widowed. Of course, this does not apply in every city or state, so check with your local government for more information. Then you subtract your total tax exemptions from your overall tax number.
4. Do The Math

Multiply this new number by the annual property tax rate for each tax district. Add up all the amounts to discover the total you will need to pay that year.

It is generally a good idea to set aside more money than you think you will need to be on the safe side.

The above article was brought to you by the Lending Expert Blog

17Nov/11Off

How to Lower Your Property Taxes

Lowering your property taxes can appear to be a very daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. First, know how the taxes in your area are

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calculated. Some places take a percentage of the value of your home, others use a system based on how much it would cost to rebuild your home. Every county has their own way of calculating tax, so be sure to ask how it's done in your area. You can find out by contacting your local tax assessor's office and asking them.

Once you know how the taxes in your area are calculated, you can then ask for the evidence that they used to reach the dollar figure in your bill. Gather the evidence and then check it for errors. Make sure the lot size is right, the description of the property is correct and the square footage is accurate. When the tax assessor reassesses the value of your house, he does it from the street, so inaccuracies are a possibility.

After checking that the tax assessor's information is correct, it's time to build your case. Gather up the evidence that supports your view of how much your property is worth by comparable houses to yours. For this, you will need the help of a real estate agent. Your agent can research the comparable properties in your area, usually for a small fee.

Now you've got your case ready, it's time to contest your liability. Your specific tax office will have different procedures for how you can contest your property value. Be sure you read all the instructions carefully and if you do not understand something, ask the information desk in the tax assessor's office. Keep an eye on deadlines because some offices have very short rescheduling windows if you miss an appointment.

Remember, getting your property tax liability lowered isn't impossible and it isn't designed to confuse you. It just seems that way. Take your time reading all the information that the county provides to you and ask questions if you don't understand something.

17Nov/11Off

Property Tax Myths

No matter where you live, property tax myths seem to be a common problem. To keep the myths separate from the truths I have listed 6 of the
common myths below.

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Myth #1: The Assessor Sets your Taxes
This is false. The only job that an assessor has is to determine is the value of your property, including the land and buildings. You then multiply the value of your property by the local property tax rate to determine what you will pay. Only your city or state government has the authority to set tax rates.

Myth #2: High Assessments Equals High Prices
Property tax prices are not always high because the assessment value of your house is high. It depends more on the overall property tax rate each year. Even those with low assessment values pay high property taxes if the tax rate is high.  As the property tax rate lowers it will create a lower property tax for you. (More info)

Myth #3: State Government Raises Property Taxes to Increase Revenue
The state does not benefit from your property taxes in any way. These are only used as sources of revenue for your particular area. In fact, most of what you do pay goes to support schools.

Myth #4: My Equalization Rate can improve my Inaccurate Assessment Rate
An equalization rate is simply the number of assessed properties and their value compared with their actual market values. They make district wide assessment rates accurate, not individual ones.

Myth #5: The Current Tax Rate Determines the Future
Even if your property tax bill is high, that doesn’t mean rates are on the rise. Your bill could stay the same for many years depending on the current trend of property values.

Myth #6: An Assessment Cap Lowers Your Taxes
An assessment cap simply ensures that rates don’t increase over a certain percentage annually. However, some properties are assessed higher than others, so those with a higher assessment may pay higher taxes.

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Anastacio is an accomplished attorney and business owner. His company helps home and business owners appeal property taxes in Houston and the surrounding counties. For more information on how you can lower your property taxes visit http://www.republicpropertytax.com.

11Feb/11Off

Are Property Taxes Deductible?

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Ser...

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Service. The design is the same as the Treasury seal with an IRS inscription. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The federal government allows individuals to deduct property taxes that were paid in that year. Deductible taxes can include those that are imposed upon primary as well as secondary residences. However, in order to make these deductions, individuals must first be sure that their specific case is tax deductible.

Deducting Real Property
Taxes on real estate can be deducted if the tax is both based on the assessed value of the property, and the tax is utilized for public consumption. Deductions cannot be made if the tax is not uniform, meaning property owned by various individuals in the same jurisdiction are given different tax rates, or if the money given for the tax is used for a specific need of the taxed individual.Deductions for Newly Acquired Real Estate
When real estate is purchased, taxes are divided during that year so that the seller pays taxes on the property through the date of sale, and the buyer pays taxes for the remainder of the year. Each party may deduct only the amount of property taxes that they paid for that year.

Real Estate Tax Refunds
An individual who pays real estate taxes and received a refund in the same year as taxes are being filed must reduce the amount of real estate taxes being deducted by the amount of the refund. If the refund or rebate is for a previous year's real estate tax, that amount must be claimed as earned income and is taxable by the IRS. To learn more about the effect of rebates on property taxes, visit: http://propertytaxprotesthouston.com/

Local Benefits
Improvements made to the property that benefit the general populace, such as the building of sidewalks, streets, and sewage systems, may not be deducted if they also increase the value of the property in question. Contrarily, taxes for maintenance and repair to those improvements may be deducted with adequate proof.

Cooperatives
The IRS has special rules for owners of cooperative apartments. Most of the above rules apply, the cooperative owner can only deduct real estate taxes if the corporation has only one class of stock outstanding and if none of the stockholders receive a portion of the funds acquired. Also, if at least 80% of the corporation's gross income was paid by tenants, eighty percent or more of the property is available for use by the tenants, or at least 90% of the expenses were used for management and care of the property, real estate taxes may be deducted.