For just about every homeowner in Texas, it is a huge, aggravating, infuriating problem.
We’re talking about your property taxes, which just keep soaring higher and higher.
In Austin, state lawmakers have been hammering out two big property tax reduction bills aimed at using $12.3 billion dollars in state money to reduce your property taxes.
They are titled simply House Bill One and Senate Bill One.
KPRC 2 asked licensed, senior property tax consultant Sylvie Novotny with Novotny And Company to explain the difference between the two bills in simple, easy-to-understand language.
“So Sylvie, break it down for me. What is the difference between the House bill and the Senate bill on property taxes?” KPRC 2 Bill Spencer asked.
Sylvie said, “The House bill offers equal tax relief for business owners and homeowners, whereas the Senate bill provides mostly the relief for homeowners.”
The problem is neither proposed bill has yet to be passed into law, so at this point we have nothing, but the promise of relief and nothing more.
So to help homeowners right now, Spencer By Zip is working with Sylvie Novotny, a licensed senior property tax consultant, to help you lower your property taxes.
And we’re going to do it in an unusual way.
By just walking up to regular people having lunch at Ciro’s Italian Grill in the Memorial area, known for its incredible homestyle Italian dishes.
Sylvie gave them three expert tips on what they can do right now to lower their property taxes.
We begin with couple number one, Steve Sloat and Susan Hemminger who owns a 2-bedroom townhome in the Energy Corridor, zip code 77079.
Sylvie asks the couple straight out, ” Have you ever protested your property tax, ever?
Susan responds, “No.”
And Sylvie sounds shocked at the answer.
Sylvie: “No, and you don’t do that because why?”
Tip number one, especially for folks like Steve and Susan, is to protest your property valuation every single year and hire an expert to do it to make sure it’s done the right way.
“I am telling you to hire a company to protest because then you’re not having to do all the extra legwork, right? Someone is doing it for you, and you can at least make sure you’re getting the lowest possible value that you can. It is the single most important thing I think you can do to lower your property taxes,” Sylvie said.
Up next, it’s Patty Serna who owns a 1900-sq foot home in Spring Valley, zip code 77024.
Bill Spencer asks, “Do you own your own home?”
Patty: “I do. I paid $14,000 last year. I couldn’t believe it for what I have.”
Patty, who is in her 60s, is fed up with the high property taxes she is paying on her rather small home.
Which prompts our expert Sylvie to ask her an important question.
“So, do you know if you have the over 65 exemption?” Sylvie asks.
Expert tip #2. For seniors 65 and over, you can get a big reduction on your property taxes if you apply for the over 65 property tax exemption.
“Harris County has one of the best reductions in my opinion. Most jurisdictions will subtract $160,000 off of your value before you are taxed and that’s a lot,” Sylvie said.
And finally, Darron and Velma Lachausse live in a 5100-sq foot home in Cypress, zip code 77433, and are sick of the high property taxes they are paying.
This year, their property taxes rose to over $20,000.
Expert tip #3 for Darron and Velma is to apply for every single exemption you can possibly qualify for and hire a consultant to help you if you don’t want to do the research yourself.
In the Lachausse’s situation, the veteran’s exemption, disability exemption, homestead exemption, and solar panel exemption may apply.
And in the end, how do these homeowners feel having gotten a free consultation with a property tax guru?
Darron says, “Thank you, absolutely good advice and I’ll take it.”
Patty Serna says, “Oh yes, thank you very much. This really helped.”
Steve Sloat and Susan are grateful as well, saying, “Yeah, we appreciate it, Bill. Thank you so much.”