Mistakes in Bexar County tax records.
Mistakes in the Bexar County Appraisal District’s records are not all that uncommon. Quite often while looking at public tax data, we find incorrect information. These mistakes could lead to trouble down the road for homeowners if they chose to sell their homes, particularly if they don’t notice them in a timely fashion. In Bexar County, our property tax (also know as ad valorem tax) data is available to the public via the Bexar Appraisal District website and your San Antonio real estate agent uses it to help determine many things (one of which should not be the fair market value of your home). Check out these two real life examples of what can happen with incorrect information in Bexar County Appraisal District (BCAD).
Case #1: Who owns the home?
In the first example of incorrect information, the homeowner is improperly listed. The Bexar County Appraisal District records show that the property transferred from the seller to the buyer and then back to the seller once again a few days later. The BCAD records clearly show the former seller as the owner of the home.
Solution? The homeowners will have to contact the Bexar County Appraisal District and get them to correct the owner’s information. Unfortunately, data entry is not top priority on the tax man’s list. We often see cases of bad data entry in the appraisal district’s property tax information.
On a side note, BCAD had also sent someone out to this client’s home and took some measurements. Bexar County has been increasing their research on homes recently; looking for mistakes, miscalculations, and home improvements or additions. The better their data collection, the more their tax appraised valuations will be inline with the true value of the home (ie, there are some homes that haven’t been checked in so long, their taxes are way out of line with what they should be).
Case #2: That doesn’t describe my home.
In the second example, the home described in the Bexar County Appraisal District does not match the home’s details. The client’s home is listed with the wrong amount of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as being almost 1,000 square feet off the mark. As we base part of our pricing and determination of fair market value on square footage and recently sold home comparisons, this can make a huge difference – particularly to the buyer’s agent when they are running comps to see what they believe the value of the home to be. Imagine if homes in your area are selling for $80/square foot and data publicly available shows your home is 1,000 square feet less than it truly is. That’s $80,000 in value that would be missing from your home because of a data entry area.
Solution? We would use a form called a “Notice of Information From Other Sources” to show that the data is incorrect and we have supporting evidence of the correct information. We researched the problem and it looks like the builder initially entered the wrong information into the MLS and that information spread to BCAD. We will provide builder plans and other information to show that the home is indeed almost 1,000 square feet larger than the tax valuation shows it is.
Check your information on BCAD.
You should check your information and tax valuation on the Bexar County Appraisal District’s website at least once a year to be sure that the data is correct, as well as looking at any fluctuations in the tax valuation of your home. As Texas is a non-disclosure state, these fluctuations can at times seem arbitrary and flat out wrong. You have a right to protest your property taxes in San Antonio and Bexar County and it’s something a lot of homeowners don’t know.
image courtesy of Corey Leopold