You can always protest your taxes with the accessed values come out in March from the appraisal district. With a Realtors help, you can quickly determine if they have your home overvalued and protest to try and get that assigned value lowered. You will see commercials for companies that do this, but a home owner can do it easily and for FREE. Takes about an hour or two out of your day to visit the appraisal district on Highway 290 (for Harris County/Houston).
A more important question might be how much updating should you do? You need to keep in mind the values and what are the typical updates in the community. If you do too much, you will likely not get any of those investment dollars back. Again, a Realtor can best advise based on the neighborhood your look to purchase in.
Bernstein Realty, Inc.
The realistic answer is ... if the property is in Harris County and the property sells, there is a pretty good chance the property value will EVENTUALLY be adjusted to fit within valuation models and many times get individual attention by an individual appraiser working at the appraisal district.
Side note: if the home does not maintain a homestead exemption, the odds are higher that the value will be increased because no valuation cap is in place. Keep in mind, you have the opportunity to protest the value each year. While April 30 is the early deadline to file a residence homestead protest and May 31 usually is the last day to file other protests, a different deadline may apply (http://hcad.org/pdf/forms/41-44.pdf).
If there is any confusion, feel free to call.
Do you plan on doing the improvements yourself, or hiring contractors? Be aware that "self-renovation" or using individuals who work without pulling necessary permits can come back to bite you. There's a place to reveal such information on the Seller's Disclosure, so when it comes time to put the home on the market, you must note that information. If you fail to do so, you open yourself to all kinds of litigation, which can cost you dearly. Personally, I would never recommend such a property to a buyer.
We all want to save on taxes ... but there are legitimate ways to go about it. Houston's system of protest (you can do so online at the HCAD website) is quite taxpayer-friendly. Sooner or later, they'll get around to your neighborhood ... just when that will be is a crapshoot. One way or the other, you'll be paying your fair share.
Best of luck ... I get the feeling you'll need it.
If you fix it up, you will likely see the county increase the assessed value regardless....
There is no loophole to escape the tax man.
Frankly 77082 is between Westheimer/Harwin (east/west streets) and Beltway 8 to a little passed Hwy. 6 (north/south streets) and homes in this area have a few varible decades for ages as well as size. You're going to need a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) of any of these subdivisions to decide appropriate investment and renovations.
Willing to help with neighbor comps.
Brenda Peavy, Broker
Depending on how busy HCAD is, you may never see a sharp increase in your taxes unless the entire neighborhood is undergoing renovations and the number of permits increase.
If you dont have time to protest your taxes in person, you can go to HCAD.ORG for instructions on protesting via mail. Your Realtor can give you up to date Comparative properties to use.