The Texas Homestead Exemption


“Can I apply for a Texas Homestead exemption?” This was the question asked of me by a recent past client after she received her 2011 property tax bill. She had purchased the home in May of 2011 so she was not eligible for the exception in 2011. The law requires that you own and occupy the home on January 1 of the tax year.

Many people think the primary benefit of the homestead exemption is a reduction in property taxes. While the savings is nice, the most important thing is that homestead laws prevent any creditor (except for the mortgage holder, a taxing authority, or the holder of a note created for a home improvement loan) from forcing the sale of the homestead to satisfy nonpayment of a debt.

On September 1, 2011 the state law was updated and applicants for a homestead exemption are required to provide a copy of their Texas Drivers License and a copy of a vehicle registration with the application. Note that the addresses on the two documents must match the property address on the application.

Links to local appraisal districts in the greater Dallas area: 

Collin County  |  Dallas County  |  Denton County  |  Rockwall County 

Applications for the 2012 exemption have to be received by the approriate appraisal district no earlier than January 1, 2012 and no later than April 30, 2012.

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

Photo: Licensed from iStockPhoto

My Property Taxes Are Delinquent

My Property Taxes Are Delinquent

I was in the office speaking to one of our agents yesterday. He was relating how a client who he had helped to purchase a new home about five years ago had lost the home to foreclosure.

It all started when the home was purchased. The taxes were based on a vacant lot so the lender set up the escrow account to collect the taxes. Typically by the end of the first year, the taxing authority has added an assessment for the dwelling and the homeowners’ escrow account has a shortfall.

This one was worse. Apparently the taxing authority never reassessed the property and caught the mistake four years later. The homeowner was faced with a $16,000 shortfall. They could not pay it, so the lender paid it and set up their escrow account to collect the shortfall and enough to cover the taxes going forward.  This added almost $1700 a month raising their payment from $1800 to $3500 a month. Talk about payment shock!

Knowing they could not make those kinds of payments, they rented an apartment and let the home go into foreclosure. This is truly sad since most lenders are willing to work with homeowners in this situation.

I recently worked a deal with Bank of America (I am an NMLS licensed MLO and Texas Law allows me to work on loan modifications), where the bank paid the taxes and allowed the homeowner to repay the bank over 5 years with no interest. I’ve also worked a deal with another lender to pay the taxes and add the balance to the end of the existing note.

If you’re behind on your property taxes, you really need to call your lender or servicer and ask for help. There’s no need to walk away from your home!  

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

Tax Information For Homeowners

As a property owner, you are required to pay property taxes. It is taxed each year by a variety of jurisdictions including the county, city and school district.


Licensed from iStockPhoto

If you purchased in 2010, you may need to notify the taxing authorities of your ownership so that the tax rolls will reflect the change. You may do this by contacting the appropriate tax appraisal district in your county from the following list:

Collin County Appraisal District – 469-742-9200 –
Dallas County Appraisal District – 214-631-0910 –
Denton County Appraisal District – 940-349-3800 –
Ellis County Appraisal District – 972-937-3552 –
Rockwall County Appraisal District – 972-771-2034 –
Tarrant County Appraisal District – 817-284-0024 –

Your property is assigned a single appraised value, which is sent to all taxing jurisdictions. The jurisdiction then applies the tax rate, as set by its governing body, to the appraised value.


On January 1, 2011, value, ownership, legal description of the property and exemption status of the taxpayer is determined. Several forms of tax relief are available which may reduce the taxable value of your property. Applying for exemptions is the taxpayer’s responsibility. Some exemptions require a new application each year. Contact your appraisal district to learn more about the following exemptions and how to file for them:

General Homestead Exemption
Over 65 Exemption
Disabled Individual Exemption
Disabled Veteran Exemption
Agriculture Land Exemption

To receive your exemption(s), you must own the property and be living in the property as of January 1st. Your application must be applied for on or before April 30, 2011 to receive the tax benefits for this year. This is a FREE service.

Remember, tax statements are generally mailed in October of each year. The taxes are payable on or after October 31, however, you may elect to pay them as late as January 31 without penalty. Taxes become delinquent February 1 and on this date penalties and interest do accrue. If you receive a Tax Statement and your mortgage company is escrowing funds for taxes from your monthly payments, forward the statement to your mortgage company so they can pay the taxes.

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

Basic information provided by Republic Title