As a property owner in Houston, there will definitely come a point when you will require the services of a property tax consultant to help you evaluate your property tax bill. According to the National Taxpayers Union, as much as 60% of properties are assessed for tax purposes at a value higher than their true current value. Property tax consultants will assess your property’s value and represent you when you are ready to appeal your property tax bill. Here are four simple steps to help you find the right property tax consultant.
Prepare Your Paperwork
Before you even consider seeing a consultant, you need to get all your ducks in a row to minimize the chance of having to make multiple visits and wasting money on additional fees as a result. Having all the relevant information available to the consultant at your first meeting will better enable them to give you an accurate picture of your situation and the ways in which they can help.
The types of information that you will need to gather include all relevant paperwork about the building itself, previous years’ property tax bills, and your current property tax bill. A bit of research is also recommended such as looking up similar properties in your area and checking their values so that you have some knowledge of the market in advance of your first meeting.
Take Your Time
It will be worth your while to meet several different property tax consultants before you choose which one to work with. Talk with people you know who have used one and get their opinions as well as using options such as Tax Reduction Services in Houston. Property tax consultants come in all shapes and sizes, with some companies offering a full in-house service consisting of their own Property Assessors and Cost Segregation Consultants, whereas others will subcontract this work. Ask if they offer a questionnaire for you to fill out to gather a lot of the details before you have your first meeting.
Inquire About Clients
Another key factor when assessing a potential property tax consultant is their clients. Be sure to find out if they have clients with similar needs to yours and whether they have a lot of long term clients. Property tax consultants, like most consultants, tend to operate in niches within their industry. Of course, you want to find someone who is used to dealing with cases like yours and that they had clients in the past who were satisfied enough to keep coming back.
Evaluate Payment Alternatives
Comparing the different fees charged by property tax consultants is not necessarily the best way to approach your choice. For a start, there are various different ways in which they can reduce property tax in Texas, and there are also various ways they can charge for their services. Some will offer a flat fee while most will work on a contingency basis. Contingency fees can vary in percentage and can apply to different measures. A fee of 10% of the net tax savings achieved will be significantly lower than 10% of the gross tax savings, so it is important that you ask and understand exactly how they are calculating their fees and what other costs may apply. Make sure that you have full documentation of the relevant fees before you finish the meeting.
Once you have finished meeting with your short list of property tax consultants, take some time to review the good and bad points of each of them before choosing. Although price is important, the other factors such as their client lists and any recommendations you have received should play an equally important part in your final decision.
If you need help with your property taxes in the Texas area, contact O’Connor & Associates today!