Here’s part of a post I wrote for our HermitsBuyHouses blog. It’s been popular over there, so I thought I would share it here and then go into more detail:
Here in Texas, and maybe where you are, too, we just got our yearly property tax bills. We’re used to them going up. In fact, the appraised value of the house we just moved out of, in Williamson County, Texas, went up by $30K! That’s quite an increase, you may be thinking.
But wait, there’s more! We bought a house last year in Milam County, Texas. It’s true; we did make improvements to the house. We painted the exterior, put down new laminate flooring, fixed some broken windows, and trimmed a tree. Sure, that probably increased the value of the house. However, it went from a $39K appraisal to $190K! I guarantee you no one in this town would pay that much for a house with ancient kitchen and bathroom on the main drag, no matter how nice the paint is! Yes, we are going to protest that! Of course, we want to pay for schools and such, so we are happy to pay, just not more than the house is worth.
What if we were on a fixed income and our house’s taxable value went up like that? As I mentioned before, it has been known to happen. If you live around Austin, it may even be happening to you or a loved one.