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Clock Is Ticking To Fight County Property Appraisals

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - The clock is ticking to combat property appraisal sticker shock this year. Homeowners must file a 'Notice of Protest' by midnight.

"I was scared," admitted Maria Pericad, while standing at the Dallas Central Appraisal District office. "I'm not going to lie."

Pericad said that she was more than a little intimidated by the thought of fighting her home's appraised value.

"I almost said 'no,'" she recalled. "I brought some pictures of my home, its condition, and they were more than helpful."

By the time Pericad left the office, she was almost skipping—having lowered her home's appraised value and with it her tax bill by almost $500. "Ecstatic!" she beamed. "That's kids' money for books next year."

The first step to challenge the appraised value is to file a "Notice of Protest." Then, start gathering evidence to support what you believe is a more appropriate value.

"Pictures! Bring pictures," suggested Dallas Central Appraisal District employee Cheryl Jordan. "Show problems with the structure… the cracks. Get a professional estimate. Those are the types of things you need to bring in to show us our values are incorrect."

The protest paid off for Paul Skillern. "Based on the information… he [the CAD appraiser] lowered the taxes from $88,000 to $55,000. That's a good jump," he said excitedly.

There is no charge to file a protest. After filing the protest, homeowners can meet with an appraiser informally to present evidence and argue for a lowered value. Evidence to support an appeal can include a closing statement for a recent purchase, an appraisal completed for a refinance, or sales data on comparable homes.

And yes, healthy home sales quickly lead to higher property values for the homeowners that stay put. "With the boom, we've seen a great surge in property tax appeals," said Wade Carlson, "my client base has almost doubled."

Carlson's company charges a fee to fight for lower appraisals. He said many clients just don't have the time or the confidence in navigating the process. "They want me to take the ball and handle it for them… I do like to review a case up front with them to make sure it makes sense to move forward."

Fighting the appraised value certainly made sense, and lots of dollars for the Pericad family.

"My husband's going to be happy, too," said a gleeful Maria, "he's going to take me to dinner!"

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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