HCAD appraisal manager Erika Nettles describes the advantages of an informal meeting with an HCAD appraiser before a formal hearing with the Appraisal Review Board. She explains the definition of market value and reviews how to get evidence concerning your property's value. (2:49 mins.)
Hi, I'm Erika Nettles, and I work for Harris County Appraisal District.
When you file a protest, the Appraisal Review Board is going to schedule it for a formal hearing. Before they do so, HCAD will schedule your case for an informal meeting with one of our appraisers. You'll receive notice of the appointment by mail. If the day and time is not convenient, you can reschedule.
You're not required to attend the informal meeting, but most property owners find it to their advantage to do so. This is an opportunity for you to sit down with a trained appraiser one on one to review your appraisal.
Under the law, we must appraise your property at its January 1 market value. Market value is the price a willing buyer would pay a willing seller, if both parties know of all of the uses for the property and the restrictions on its use, the property is on the market for a reasonable period of time, and neither party can take advantage of the other. So, any evidence you bring should show that your property would sell for less than its appraisal.
The appraiser has the authority to change the appraised value if the evidence supports the value change. To make the best of this, you need to be prepared. You should review the HCAD evidence packet. It's available to you on the Internet, or you can pick one up in person at the HCAD offices before your informal meeting. As you go through the evidence packet, highlight items that support your request for a value change. There are many other types of evidence you can bring, depending on the issues with your property.
In a perfect world, your evidence will be exactly what the appraiser needs to change the value of your property. Literally thousands of property value protests are resolved every year with value changes for property owners. But even if you don't prevail at the informal meeting, you will leave it better prepared and more knowledgeable for the time you will have in a formal ARB hearing, if you choose to pursue that option.
The informal is a win-win situation for you. Even if you do not receive a value change, you will leave it knowing how to better present your case to an ARB panel in a formal hearing.
And, most importantly, you'll be treated with the respect, dignity, and the professionalism you deserve. Thank you for watching.