Thursday, June 7, 2012

Assessed values based on little reality of estate

Appraiser fights for lower tax valuation

Waco- Mr. Wilson looks a whole lot like his counterpart from the funnies, depicted in episodes of “Dennis the Menace.”

He says he's the oldest real estate appraiser in Waco, Texas.

A silver-haired gentleman with 40 years of experience as a real estate professional, he gave up last year after three hours of waiting for his hearing before a citizen review board while McLennan Appraisal District staffers took their time about scanning his evidence into the computer system.

“I have a business to run,” he said. Three hours was all the time he could devote to waiting to see about his land's assessed valuation.

“At some point, you've got to get back to work.”

That was then. This is now. Appraisal district officials are in a mad scramble to help McLennan County make ends meet in a sagging economy. Appraisals are up across the board - often in the absence of any land sales in immediate adjacency.(click here for a report about voters angrily confronting County Commissioner Kelly Snel about the problem of rising valuations and his efforts to place new faces on the McLennan Appraisal District board)

This year, it was a different story. One unimproved residential parcel owned by his company, Slick, Inc., was valued by a real estate valuation contractor acting on the behalf of the district at about 27% more I value than it was last year.

“There have been no land sales anywhere within two miles of this property,” he told the peer review committee.

After hearing his side of the story, he persuaded the board to return the valuation to its amount from last year, $48,000.

During the hearing, he exclaimed, “There is this company they (the appraisal district) hired to go around and re-evaluate all the property in McLennan County!”

Asked privately to characterize the actions of the appraisal district, which has raised property valuations pretty much across the board, he said, “They're f___ing the public is what they're doing.”

Appellants must first exhaust their administrative remedies in informal conferences and hearings before they are allowed to seek relief in court.(click here for a report on a thorny tax dispute caused by a mislaid application made to the appraisal district)

Mr. Wilson advised all property owners who have found their real property assessed at higher values by leaps and bounds to stick to their guns, appeal the decision of the McLennan County Appraisal District, and arrive for their hearings with evidence such as records of local land transactions within a reasonable mileage from the questioned property.

If there have been no improvements to a parcel, and the property is not used as a home site, there should be no reason for exponential raises in its value, he said.

The citizen review boards are made up of 4 members. In the case of the board before which Mr. Wilson pleaded, the chairman is a Hispanic female with a professional backgroud in real estate dealings, two WASP males, and an elderly Hispanic man. They voted unanimously to lower the valuation of 6 parcels of home building sites Mr. Wilson's corporation owns that are located south of Highway 6, and one parcel owned by a client, which is located in a wooded area just to the north of The Spa At Canyon Oaks, located off Highway 6.

In the end, the board settled for a reduction from more than $6 thousand per acre to $2,200 on Mr. Wilson's bid at $1,500.

As Mr. Wilson left, a full house of people waiting in line to challenge new valuations of their property stood by in the lobby.

His real estate tax burden is substantially lower as a result of his efforts.

1 comment:

  1. Great article Mr Parks. How the elected ones raise taxes without raising taxes. The members of the apraisal district should be elected. Jim Hix