Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Well Was It Just A Penny?

Earlier this year, we filed a protest regarding the value of our home as it's appraised for tax purposes.


In an economy where all I hear is "housing values are dropping", our had gone up. Gone up considerably. It didn't make sense.

I had asked a neighbor if theirs had gone up. "Nope." So I started researching and found that our house was 'valued' at over $8 per square foot more than the average around us. Most houses around us had gone down an average of $3.24 per square foot over the past two years while ours had gone UP almost $4 per square foot.

I knew we had to protest. When Dave Lieber, watchdog reporter for the Ft Worth Star-Telegram said on May 26 that the deadline was May 31, I got busy. I filed an online protest form. 

Then I waited.

Finally we got the notice that our hearing with the appraisal review board was scheduled for Monday August 8.

And I prepared. I pulled the comps for my neighborhood. I calculated comparisons for based on square feet. I ensured some had a pool like we do. I practiced what I wanted to say. I prepared a printed presentation to share with the board. I arrived early. I was polite. I thanked them for taking the time to hear me. I did a lot of things right.

But the most important things I did right were....

1) I prayed. I prayed leading up to the meeting. Prayed for the board panel members. I prayed for the county representative. Prayed that I would stay calm and represent my family well. (I had to go alone as the hubby had to work. Some people actually hire lawyers to go to these things for them.)

2) Remember that penny from the other day? That was a 'little thing' that had to be done right. It was one little thing I could be faithful in.

I presented my case, our case, and asked for our appraised value to be lowered to be in line with my neighborhood. My request would have reduced it by $5.99 per square foot.

The leader of the board asked the representative from the county for his side of the protest. His first words were "I'm not ready yet" which brought a chuckle. It was clear that our Loving Lord had allowed me to present our case in such a manner that he had to consider our data.

After a long, long, long silence and a bit of clarifying chatter, the county guy looked at the leader of the board and said...

(I love this by the way...love hearing these words from a-n-y-o-n-e)

...he said...

"She's right"

My how I wish I could have seen my face. :-)

Then he gave a market value that was even less than what I had asked for! It even surprised the panel members. Thankfully they all agreed and voted to accept the county's new value.

I know it's crazy to get excited about the value of your house going down .... but come on ... this value is what determines how much we have to pay in property taxes ... and property taxes ain't cheap here in Texas.

My first thought, I'm ashamed to say, was "Yay! I fought City Hall and won!"

Then I came back down from the cloud I was on and realized that two things had happened.

1) God had answered my earlier prayers for calmness on my part and open ears on the part of the county and board.

2) God had honored my faithfulness over one penny with a monetary savings on taxes of tens of thousands of pennies.

Little Lesson Life Expression
What do you need to place in our Loving Lord's hands today? What are you trying to do in your own strength instead of His? Are you being faithful with what He has already given you?

Luke 6:38b (Amplified Bible)
For with the measure you deal out [with the measure you use when you confer benefits on others], it will be measured back to you.

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