Property tax rates vary significantly across Austin and the many communities that make up Austin and surround Austin. When you are purchasing a home, investment property, or lot in Austin, it’s important to consider property taxes. We do not have a state income tax in Austin, but we do have property taxes. Often, I am asked, “what’s the property tax rate in Austin ?”. My response is usually, “what’s the exact address of property ?”. Within the same zip code, school district, or even street, Austin property taxes can vary significantly.
I was recently hosting an open house at a duplex on Spyglass Drive in the 78746 zipcode- great property, fully remodeled, right next to the greenbelt, and only one exit from downtown via Mopac. The property also happened to be in EANES ISD. A guest at the open house asked me what the tax rate was for Austin. I explained that rates vary significantly, and when I got home, I decided to do a little more research. This duplex had a total tax rate of 2.25% in 2016 (the latest available values provided by the Travis County Appraisal District). It is located within the taxing jurisdiction of the City of Austin, Travis County, EANES ISD, Travis County Healthcare District, and the Austin Community College (ACC) District.
A property on the other side of Mopac, less than 1 mile from this property, also in the 78746 zip code and also in the EANES ISD school district has a property tax rate of 1.98%. This property is located in the City of Rollingwood, and is not a part of the City of Austin or ACC taxing jurisdiction.
Approximately two miles from the duplex on Spyglass Drive is a hidden gem of a neighborhood called Westwood Terrace. This neighborhood is also in the 78746 zip code and in EANES ISD. However, this neighborhood is not in the City of Austin, the City of Rollingwood or the City of Westlake Hills. The property tax rate for Westwood Terrace according to the Travis County Appraisal District for 2016 was 1.8465%.
It is important to understand the taxing jurisdictions when you are considering buying or selling a property. As a buyer, you want to understand how much you will actually be paying in property taxes. As a seller, it is important to be able to tell prospective buyers what they will likely be paying. Usually the estimated taxes provided in the MLS, on Zillow and by the listing real estate agent are from the previous year. These estimates may or may not be close to the figures a new purchaser will pay. It is important to consider what exemptions the current owner takes and what the appraised value of the property is. The appraised value takes in to account the characteristics of the neighborhood and the physical conditions of the subject property. In Travis County, the appraised value of the property can be contested.
Another important concept to highlight is the fact that Texas is a non-sales disclosure state. What this means is that the appraised value is not necessarily the same figure as the sales price. The Travis County Appraisal District does work to determine the sales price of properties by contacting real estate agents and brokers as well as buyers and sellers. Through this process they receive some of the sales information, but not all.
If you are considering purchasing a property in the Austin area or selling your Austin home, please give me a call today. I’d be happy to walk you through the intricacies of taxing jurisdictions in the Austin area among other things.
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