Humble vet: Mortgage spikes 327% after bad tax assessment

A Houston couple got a huge unaffordable surprise from their bank a few weeks ago.

It was going to turn their new Humble home from the American dream to an unaffordable nightmare. The couple, both Army veterans, turned to our investigative team for help.

He worked with his bank for weeks and got nowhere before he called ABC13 Investigates.

One of the best parts of a new home is being able to put nails in the wall to hang pictures whenever you want, Mark Fowler told us. You can't do that in a rented apartment - and Mark and his wife Daisy spent the better part of the last ten years living in one.
He loves his new house in Humble, but when faced with a brand new bill he couldn't pay and the possibility of a problem with his first ever house, he was upset.

"When we finally got a chance to get something of our own, it was amazing," Fowler said.

A few months later, their daughter Melanie was born and the new house was the family home.

Then July 10, a letter showed up. Citi Mortgage was explaining their taxes were coming due and their brand new monthly payment would be nearly $5,000 a month, a 327 percent increase.

"We had no clue," Fowler said.

Citi Mortgage kept telling Mark the taxman caught up with the new construction, upped their assessed value and wouldn't budge on the bill. The new taxes, Citi said, would be $26,000 per year.

"The amount they were trying to charge us was as if my home was a multimillion dollar home," Fowler said.

He sent letters to every taxing entity and called Citi for weeks. No luck.

He called us and we couldn't wait to jump on it - and Citi moved on the issue.

"[It was] less than five business days" and things got fixed, Fowler said.

Citi agreed to make a new tax estimate. It's a $500 increase, instead of a $3,000 one.

That's a payment he can make and fill the walls of his own home with as many baby pictures as will fit.

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