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Real Estate Broker Offers Protest Property Valuation Seminars

WACO, Texas (KWTX) – Property values ​​are up more than 30% over last year on average in McLennan County, which also means higher property taxes.

Homeowners can protest their property taxes, and Mike Berlanga, a San Antonio-area realtor, has been giving seminars on how to do just that in the state for the past six years.

Recently, he led a seminar with Roughneck 2 Real Estate in Waco. In the past, he hosted a seminar with the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Berlanga’s seminars guide owners through the steps of filing a protest, what to ask for and what to expect. The process begins with the filing of the protest form, which must be done by May 15 in McLennan County. When filling out the protest, Berlanga said it was important to ask for evidence.

The county will need to provide you with the documentation used to determine the value of your home. This is based on measurements of the land and structure, the value of neighboring properties and market sales. Landlords can also request an informal hearing.

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If the owners are unhappy with the informal offer, Berlanga said they can move on to a formal hearing. In the event of a formal hearing, Berlanga said it’s important to gather evidence as to why you believe your property value is incorrect, including photos.

Berlanga said statistically speaking, in his experience, less than 20% of people file a complaint, but he said more should look into the matter.

“You have nothing to worry about trying and you just need to be a bit tough,” Berlanga said. “Don’t get attached to the outcome until we’ve gone through the process, and you won’t necessarily be disappointed but you might be surprised.”

The McLennan County Assessment District said last year that 15,000 protests were filed and most protesters got some reduction in their assessments.

If you want help protesting property taxes, there are two workshops in Waco this week. The first is May 2 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Carver Park Baptist Church. Bring your assessment letter from the current tax year. Representatives from the Assessment District will make a presentation and there will be time for questions.

Another event will be held May 5 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the South Waco Recreation Center. The workshop will be in English and Spanish.

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