When it comes to real estate, I am the nosiest. Especially on Dallas County property taxes.
Last week, we looked at Dallas County Tax Assessor John Ames. I noticed he had a dramatically lowered value on his DeSoto home. He had, of course, a perfectly good (really, a terrible) excuse for having that lower value: he and his wife had a house fire in 2015. Thank God, no one was injured. By the way, I’m told the same thing happened to the victims of the Rowlett day-after-Christmas tornado. Come Jan. 1, the condition of your property is what the your taxes are based on. But we continue to look at what our fearless leaders are doing with their taxes during this time when residents are seeing the biggest increase in property values in Dallas history: how are our leaders coping?
By hiring tax consultants! Today we check on Mayor Mike Rawlings, City Manager (soon to be former City Manager) A.C. Gonzalez, and one-time Dallas mayoral candidate Marcos Ronquillo.
First of all, remember whose fault it is that our values are going up: prosperity.
“Let’s put the blame on the fact that the Dallas/Fort Worth area is a great place to live and the rest of the world has figured that out and are moving here in droves,” says our Tax Doctor Rob Wheelock of Property Tax Managers. “Blame Toyota, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, and FedEx.”
Those guys are in Frisco, but whatever.
We work hard, says Rob, to make sure clients don’t pay more than their fair share when it comes to property taxes, but the fact is, values are up and our investment in our homes is likely doing better than any of our other investments.
Can’t blame anyone who would try to get their appraised values hammered down, as are Mayor Mike and A.C. It’s like not taking a tax deduction. But Rob says this is going to be a tough year.
“I’d be willing to bet not more than one will end up with any kind of reduction, and double down that none will. This is proving to be a difficult year in Dallas County with our continued growth,” says Rob. “Remember the Appraisal District by law has to value properties at market value and if they fall outside of plus or minus 5% they get in trouble with the State Controller’s office. Good luck.”
A.C. and his wife, Melinda, live in a lovely North Dallas contemporary off Arapaho with an appraised value of $570,170. The land value has gone up, improvement down, but I’m guessing that’s because it shot up a whopping $138,630 from 2013 to 2014. You and I would be fighting an increase that big, too. Their home was purchased in 2013, and it’s 29 years old.
By the way, A.C.’s tax appraisal this year is almost identical to what he paid for his house. His taxes: $13,199.94.
Mayor Mike lives near Strait Lane, where they really should consider a Property Tax Consultant as a fixed monthly expense. His improvement has gone down somewhat, to $1,235,350 from a high of $1,599,480 in 2012 (the Rawlings bought their home in 2005) but land value shows $1,077,000 for the acreage which is spot on. (Maybe even a bit low.) I can see the value going down on the home with aging of the structure. Likely he will push on the value, because that land price is pretty spot on for an acre, and they have 1.07. His taxes: $53,364.77
Former Dallas mayoral candidate Marcos Ronquillo: lives in Highland Meadows, near Plano Road north of East Northwest Highway. His 3311 square foot property is appraised for $302, 970 in a home he and his wife have lived in since forever — 1992. He is not appealing his appraisal this year. Get this: Zillow’s AVM has it “zestimated” at $431,969 ha! His taxes: $6857.03.