Preparing for Binding Arbitration- By: Patrick Oconnor
For many homeowners, the property tax appeal process can seem too difficult and therefore only about 8% appeal even though 70% of those who do appeal are successful. Most homeowners also do not realize that their appeal can be resolved at the informal hearing.
If the appraisal district overstates either the quantity or quality of improvements to your property, this is an excellent means to reduce your property taxes both for the current year and subsequent years.
At the hearing you will first meet with the appraiser. Spend three to five minutes of polite conversation developing a level of rapport. The appraiser is not opposed to reducing your property taxes, so think of the meeting as a bridge. You need to provide the appraiser a basis for adjusting your assessed value. The appraiser does not mind adjusting the assessed value; he just does not want to get fired or reprimanded for making an inappropriate adjustment. Act as though the appraiser is your friend and not an enemy.
You will quickly learn the lowest value the appraiser is willing to accept. At this point, you need to either agree to that value or proceed to the formal ARB hearing. If you settle the appeal at the informal level, you will not be able to pursue an ARB hearing, binding arbitration or a judicial appeal. However, it does resolve the issue in a timely manner.
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