Get ready for sticker shock on your property values


Jenny Reed's home value doubled. The house belonged to her father but when he died the senior exemption and homestead exemption went away. The appraised value went from $200,000 to $400,000.

"We are trying to find out if we can get an exemption on it and hopefully we will be able to get it re-appraised," Reed said.

While not as dramatic as Reed's, nearly every home owner in Harris County is seeing an increase in value. That's why having a homestead exemption is crucial.

"With that homestead exemption, the value that they are going to be taxed at will not increase by more than 10 percent," said Jack Barnett with the Harris County Appraisal District.

Barnett says there is a reason for the spikes in value.

"It's Houston's booming economy, that is what is fueling all the value and we are really feeling it in the residential sector," he said.

If you have an exemption and your value is up, an equity protest is your best bet a reduction in taxable value.

"You see how your numbers look compared to your neighbors and if they you are too high compared to your neighbors value, then you can get a reduction," former Tax Assessor Paul Bettencourt said.

Bettencourt owns a property tax protest firm. He says lowering appraised values is critical to keeping future tax hikes in check.

You have until June 2 to file a property tax protest. You can find information on how to file a successful protest by going to the Harris County Appraisal District's website.

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