Property tax bills will be hitting mailboxes this month, and if you’re like many homeowners in Texas, you might experience a bit of sticker shock.
And you might even think about protesting that valuation to get a lower bill, but where do you start? After all, the deadline to file a protest is May 15 — which is not too far away.
Luckily, one local business has made it quite easy to gather the evidence and file a protest — PropertyTax.io.
We first told you about PropertyTax.io last year, but for the uninitiated, it’s a web-based product developed by Goodrich Realty Consulting, first as a tool for their tax consultants to use in the company’s property tax division. Last year, they released the tool to the general public, and it is really shaking up the way people appeal their property tax bills.
So how does it work? In just a few seconds, you can log on to the website, put in your address, and register. The next screen will tell you if, based on the algorithms that factor in comparable properties using several data sets, including MLS data and appraisal district data, you’d have success in appealing your taxes this year.
You get all that information, and then you can decide whether you’d like to pay the $75 fee to generate a report you can use to defend your appeal. You can also customize the report if you feel you have more evidence (like photos), or choose the express option.
“Each property is $75, and we’ll tell you before you pay if it’s worth it,” said Glenn Goodrich, GRC’s Director of Technology & Property Tax.
Last year, more than 2,000 DFW homeowners purchased an evidence packet, and cumulatively they saved almost $1 million in property taxes. Most obtained a reduction 80 percent of the time, saving $400-$500 in taxes, with some saving more than $1,000.
“We had an 80 percent success rate overall, but when people used the customized option, it was almost 90 percent,” Goodrich said.
And while some companies might be fine with those kinds of numbers, Goodrich was not. They rebuilt the website to make it even more user-friendly and improved several metrics as well.
For one, they noticed that their success rate in Dallas County was lower — 74 percent.
“The main reason for this is because Dallas does not make condition adjustments in a market value analysis,” Goodrich said. “The PropertyTax.io model does make condition adjustments for a property. As an example, when a recent sale is assigned a depreciation (a figure Dallas County uses to rate the condition of a property) of 20 percent and your property has a depreciation of 30 percent, our model will make a condition adjustment to reflect that Dallas says your condition is worse than the comp’s condition.”
However, when customers used the customize mode (which was in beta last year), customers had a success rate in Dallas County closer to 84 percent.
“We have fully built out the Customize mode for 2019,” Goodrich said. They have also weighted condition heavier in the algorithm so that the site’s automated analysis will prioritize properties in similar condition to the homeowners better.
They’ve also created a new product that will help homeowners explain the condition issues related to their property (we’ll take a look at that next week).
Goodrich said his company is dedicated to being transparent with how the product works — and whether a homeowner even needs to pay for an evidence report.
“We’re in it for the long haul,” he said. “We’re not saying you’ll even use it every year — in fact, if you used us last year, it’s possible we’ll even recommend that you don’t make a purchase this year. It all depends on what the current data tells us is best for you.”
If you’re sitting back wondering, “What kind of company will tell you not to buy their product?” Goodrich has an answer for that, too.
“We want to build relationships,” he said. “My goal is not to make money on every site visitor, it’s to add value and sometimes that means saving you time instead of money.”