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Homeowners Hiring Professionals To Fight Rising Property Tax Assessments

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DALLAS (CBS11) - Property tax assessments are in the mail, and Julie Cooper of Dallas wasn't happy to get hers.

The value of her house is going up more than $76,000 this year. "I think it's crazy high, and I want to fight it."

The Dallas County Central Appraisal District says residential property tax assessments are rising 12-13% this year.

DCAD community relations officer Cheryl Jordan says they've haven't seen home sales like this in 20-30 years, and have never seen property tax assessment increases like this.

Home prices and consequently assessed values are rising in North Texas because there are few homes for sale, yet a lot of demand thanks to new companies and employees moving here.

So to fight the increasing assessments, Cooper hired a property tax consultant two years ago after she tried unsuccessfully on her own. "They just kept denying my requests to fight it."

Cooper hired property tax consultant Evan Fetter of Lower My Texas Property Taxes LLC.

He says he's seen the assessments rise up to 40% in some areas.

His client-base has risen along with the property tax assessments.

When he began eight years ago, he had 15 customers.

That grew to 600 last year, and he expects 800 clients this year.

About one in four he says live near Brentfield Elementary and Park Hill Middle schools in Far North Dallas.

Fetter says, "I think this is one of the worst neighborhoods this year. You also have issues in Lakewood, Highland Park, Preston Hollow in Dallas County and also Frisco has gotten hit hard in Collin County."

Homestead exemptions cap tax increases at ten percent.

But even so, Fetter says homeowners will still pay more unless they fight. "It just keeps going up until you hit the market value."

For the past two years, Cooper says she's saved $600 each year. "I would absolutely hire someone to fight your taxes. They get you results you need that you can't do on your own."

Fetter's fee amounts to a third of the savings he obtains for clients. He says homeowners should avoid consultants who charge fees up front.

There's no telling how long property tax assessments will continue to rise.

Last week, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick testified before a State Senate committee in Arlington that he wants to lower property taxes again as in last session, and wants to reform the process.

Property owners have until May 31st to challenge their property tax assessments.

If you don't hire a consultant, Fetter says the worst thing you can do is challenge your assessment in an email.

He says it's easy for the appraisal office to reject it.

Fetter suggests fighting it in person.

(©2016 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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