You might think I’m jumping the gun here, as Travis County Appraisal District won’t be releasing their guesstimates of Mueller home values until Spring 2012. And my guess is that they’ll take a look at the 2011 resale market and hike the assessed values up by an alarming percentage. I can already anticipate the uproar.
The time to start preparing for the march to TCAD with bundles of MLS data, blazing torches and the odd pitchfork is now. Quite simply as the sales that happen in the latter half of 2011 are the most relevant for the valuation of your property as of 1/1/2012. While TCAD appraisers can certainly elect to use data from the first half of the year, the closest sales to the end of the year are the most significant.
So, how do you find out the sold price of a home in Mueller?As you probably know, Texas is a non-disclosure State, meaning that no-one has the right to know about the sales price of your home, unless you choose to tell them. I can imagine the IRS has a right, but for all intents and purposes, members of the public and TCAD themselves are not party to sold price data. Of course, TCAD hires appraisers, and appraisers have access to MLS data, so you can see that they do have an indirect route to the data, and so should you.
If you’re going to dispute values, you’re going to have an unfair advantage if you don’t have access to data. So there are a couple of ways you can go about the dispute:
- Hire a professional to dispute your valuation. Such firms either charge a flat fee, or take a percentage of whatever they save.
- Hire an appraiser – to get a current value for your home.
- Talk to a neighborhood Mueller Realtor, and get them on your team.
- Do it yourself. Collect sales data from a website, and start to collect data now. Most websites will only give you so much historical data, so you’ll want to tap into that data before it goes away. “Hang on,” I hear you cry, “isn’t Texas a non-disclosure State? How can I get sold data from a website?” Good point. To do so you have to pose as a seller (see box labelled “I am The Owner” in the diagram), and Realtors are allowed to disclose such data to you to better understand the market. Follow this Mueller Sales Data link to get a report emailed to you instantly, without ever even talking to an agent. I know I don’t like talking to real estate agents if I don’t have to.
Of course, this is only part of the story. Keeping abreast of the market and recent sales is important but not enough. You also need to be ready to ask for your evidence packet when the time comes, and get together with a bunch of like-minded neighbors and agents to discuss tactics and to sharpen those pitch-forks.