Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilitySticker shock at the mailbox: homeowners receive property appraisals ahead of tax deadline | KEYE
Close Alert

Sticker shock at the mailbox: homeowners receive property appraisals ahead of tax deadline

File image of an{ }Austin neighborhood. (CBS Austin)
File image of an Austin neighborhood. (CBS Austin)
Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

Property appraisals are going out in the mail -- and lots of homeowners are opening those envelopes only to find lots of sticker shock.

In Williamson County this past year, home values are way up, 48 percent on average. It is shocking, even for the county's chief appraiser, Alvin Lankford. "We're just seeing increases in prices every year. This year is probably the most extreme increase that we've ever seen," he said, adding the previous record was 18 percent, and that was last year.

Jeremy Kessler has lived in the Round Rock area for decades. He is used to seeing his property values go up. "They need to do something on the property taxes because the cost of living here is going to start skyrocketing," he said. "We were looking to retire soon but if property keeps rising the way it is, we can't keep up."

He seemed uncertain as to whether he had a homestead exemption on the parcel where his residence is located, so when Lankford told me what the average was I emailed him to let him know.

ALSO | Mustang Ridge Police officer injured after being hit by vehicle near Downtown Austin

There are some caps in place -- limits how much of an increase cities or school districts can receive. "An increase in property value does not mean an equal increase in property taxes," Lankford cautioned, although he said property taxes in general will go up.

A homestead exemption caps your assessed value at 10 percent on your taxable value. But it only applies to your primary residence. It does not apply to rental properties or undeveloped parcels. "They are likely to see large increases as well. I believe the apartment complexes are seeing a 30 percent increase in value," said Lankford. "Those additional expenses due to property taxes are going to be passed on to tenants."

If you bought your home last year you are out of luck unless you win your property tax protest.

Comment bubble

Again, if you owned and lived in your primary residence on January 1st of last year and you do not have a homestead exemption, go to your county website and apply for one. If you buy a house this year, you will be able to get a homestead exemption to cap your property taxes for next year. But those who bought last year are out of luck.

Loading ...