Dallas Fort Worth real estate news, local home price trends, statistics, and profitable insights written by Chandler Crouch Realtors.

April 5, 2021

How you can help permanently improve property taxes


Scroll down to see a video overview of this info 

Step 1

Send an email and call Morgan Meyer, the chairperson for the Ways and Means Committee (contact info below).

Say this: Please schedule a hearing on House Bill 2403 and House Bill 2311. 

HB 2403 What it does: Eliminates loophole used to rig elections for the appraisal district board of directors election

HB 2311 What it does: Creates a better homestead exemption so values can only be increased by 5%


Morgan Meyer




Ph 1: (512) 463-0367

Ph 1: 469-554-0428

3131 McKinney Avenue #649, Dallas, TX 75204


Step 2

Send an email and call Harold Dutton, the chairperson for the Education Committee (contact info below).

Say this: Please schedule a hearing on House Bill 2944

HB 2944 What it does: Curtails State pressure on appraisal districts to artificially inflate values


Harold Dutton Jr


Ph 1: (512) 463-0510

Ph 2: (713) 692-9192

8799 N. Loop East, Suite 200, Houston, TX 77029


Posted in How-to, Property Tax
Feb. 23, 2021

Will my property value increase by installing emergency preparedness items such as a generator, solar panels with Tesla battery bank, private water well, storm cellar?

How emergency preparedness features in your house affect your property value.

After last week's crazy-snow-apocalypse without water and electricity for days on end, we’re all asking ourselves what can we do differently to prepare so we can avoid or mitigate against those kinds of situations in the future? The price tags for some of these features are really really high. So the question is “If we can spend money on these emergency preparedness items, will it increase the property value? For how much?”


3 Factors That Influence Your Property Value:


1 - How people make purchase decisions

  • First I want to explain a dynamic which most everybody can understand. It's a dynamic of how a swimming pool adds value to your property.
  • Ex. You have spent $80k to install a really awesome swimming pool. However, most everybody understands that the entire $80k is not going to be recouped whenever you go resell the house. You might only get $20k out of the value of the swimming pool - the cost of installing the swimming pool exceeds the amount of value that's added to the property by adding the swimming pool.
  • On the same level, that same dynamic exists for a lot of these emergency preparedness items such as a storm cellar, solar panels with batteries, private water wells, or a whole house generator, or the same kind of item will apply to those.
  • You probably won't have as much bank for your buck for these emergency preparedness items as you would in a swimming pool and it all comes down to how people make decisions whenever they buy a house.
  • People, in general, make decisions emotionally, and then they justify logically.
  • Most everybody will begin the home purchase process by setting some parameters in just a simple form. 
  • Ex. They may say they are looking for a house between $350k-$400k, then see all the homes that fit inside the price range. This is the logical process. After that, they will start scrolling through looking at nice photos and when you see a pretty house you say “Oh my gosh, I want that one! Let’s go set up a viewing!”
  • It's the 13 different shower heads, the really nice upgraded countertops, the awesome hardwood floors, and the thing that makes you (from the emotional level) say ooh that is an awesome house! - then you go through and justify it logically.
  • Unfortunately, people are not going to stop and go crazy about solar panels, energy-efficient features. We wanted to work that way but it just doesn't

2 - How real estate is valued in general.

  • Real Estate is valued on a Sales Comparison approach.
  • Appraisers will look at homes and compare what a house sold for vs another house sold for that is similar in some basic features, geographic location, lot area, etc. 
  • Appraisers will then start considering other small details like solar panels, storm cellars, etc. these items will make a difference with the price value and may go up and down within that set of homes.
  • Appraisers are not going to look at the total cost and features installed in a home but will look at the sales prices of the home.
  • If there’s a lot of demand for a house for a certain set of features then the price of that house will be driven up.
  • The demand comes from the people's buying decisions and that doesn't come from solar panels, storm cellars, and that sort of thing.  It comes from nice and pretty, and is an attractive home.

You will get a little more out of your home. It will increase the property value but just wouldn't be as much as what you spend on your home. This is just something to justify the decision-making process like preparing for the next emergency. 

"This is not the only factor you should consider. Family safety has to come above profit."

3 - Time

  • The demand for houses right now is off the charts. It is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Whenever we went through the 2008 financial crisis - the housing bubble issue, we won't hit that hard except for certain little pockets here in DFW metro where builders build way too much and get stuck with inventory and become trigger shot and quit building so many houses.
  • That is the reason why the real estate market is going insane because there’s a lack of inventory and demand is increasing like crazy.
  • Interest rates are super low and so people can afford more houses than ever. And so they are just gobbling up the inventory and that's causing prices to shoot to the roof even if your homes are not fixed up to the 9’s or even if you don't have the features that make people want to buy.
  • The mere fact of the timing of how the market is going to increase property values more than anything ever could.  And so, that is going to weigh much heavier than any of these things that we’re talking about



Q&A with Chandler Crouch

  • How about being on the hospital part of the power grid?

Power is never going to be shut off if a property is near a hospital. House values near hospitals are going to increase tremendously this week because we are all driven emotionally from the pain of last week. People will do whatever they can to avoid that and if we can avoid that by making some simple decisions then we’re going to do that. And the emotion of that is really high. I just have a feeling that 3 or 4 weeks of 7-degree weather is not going to have the same emotional impact to drive that decision-making power that will increase your home value substantially. Buying a home near a hospital is a good decision for you and your family. Stay in the logical zone and make sure that you're making logical decisions in your next home purchase.

  • Why does Houston have a huge property tax discount?

It goes to the decisions that the City Municipalities are making. They got pretty good tax exemptions themselves. It's just what they voted in, what their city decided that they could survive off. That's going to depend really more on the budgets for the little areas that received that property tax revenue. If they can survive on less then they don't have to generate as much property tax revenue.

Feb. 22, 2021

Fact Check: Power Outage Misinformation and Unbiased Answers To Tough Electricity Customer Questions

Chandler found this article through our electricity partner and thought it was vital information to share.


There is a lot of misinformation out there about what happened during the recent Texas freeze with power outages and what is happening now.


Misinformation examples include:


(Don’t use automatic payments with your provider, she was on a wholesale pricing plan, those on fixed-pricing don’t need to worry)



(ERCOT controlling power)


While we understand the frustration and confusion, Energy Ogre CEO Jesson Bradshaw who has been in the electricity industry for over 20 years can share his unbiased thoughts, what actually transpired and what consumers need to know.


Below are some answers he has directly addressed for Energy Ogre members and others asking for answers. He is available to your audience either live or online should you like to have a conversation. We have a blog post addressing many of these questions here.


Feel free to use clips from Jesson’s interview here as we have provided unedited footage for your use: https://drive.google.com/file/d/10XQX-Na0GnN8ONRid-71c6njaluAtegh/view?usp=sharing



  1. Can the fixed rate in my contract be changed by my provider, ERCOT, or the PUCT? Are my bills going to skyrocket because of the storm?
    • No, your fixed-rate energy charge cannot be changed during the term of your contract and you should not expect a drastic increase in your bill. The terms of service allow for minor administrative changes in TDSP fees but your energy charge is locked into a fixed price. Energy Ogre enrolls members in fixed-rate plans ONLY. You are not subject to wholesale market prices and your bill will only increase when your usage increases.
  2. Who or what is to blame for the electric grid failure in Texas?
    • Energy Ogre CEO Jesson Bradshaw explains that no one thing or entity, in particular, is to blame for the electric grid failure that left millions of Texans without electricity for hours and/or days. There were several problems, and he asks people consider them all—especially how rare this weather storm was. According to Jesson, the storm broke some records dating back to the 1800s. 
  3. What happens if my provider goes out of business? What is a POLR?
    • When a provider is forced to shut its doors, a regulated process enforced by the PUC transfers its customers to a POLR or Provider of Last Resort. Online disinformation has reported that while on a POLR you could pay extraordinarily high prices as high as $9.00/kWh. This is completely FALSE. In the past, POLR rates have been slightly higher but tended to stay around 18c to 20c/kWh. If you are transferred to a POLR you may incur slightly higher charges for a short amount of time, while Energy Ogre works to immediately transfer you to a new provider and put you in the lowest rate available in the market. If you are not an Energy Ogre member, we strongly recommend you look for a new and less expensive provider. 
  4. Should I take my card off of autopay before I get an outrageous bill?
    • If you are an Energy Ogre member and are on autopay, you can rest assured that you will not see drastic price increases in your bill since you are in a fixed-rate contract. If you are not an Energy Ogre member and are currently in a variable, index, or wholesale rate, you will want to call your provider to determine what options are available to you. Removing a payment method has the potential to leave someone without power, and unable to get power from a new provider if money is still owed to the former provider! Of course, Energy Ogre members can depend on us to figure this stuff out for them and do most of the work necessary to undo the switch hold. 
  5. My contract expires in March/April/May, how will the freeze affect my new contract rate?
    • Currently, rates for March/April/May don't seem materially impacted by this short-term and outlier weather event as the power grid has already returned to normal market operations. If you are an Energy Ogre member, we are confident we will be able to find new or renewal rates that are as market competitive as possible. It is the same adage that we cannot control market prices, but we surely can work to place folks in the lowest ones available. For now, the wholesale market looks to have stabilized, but there we can anticipate investigations/ bankruptcies/ potential rule changes ahead. 


About Our Relationship with Energy Ogre:

Energy Ogre uses an advanced algorithm to help people find the lowest electricity cost for only $10/mo. When you sign up through our this link, you get a free month. Chandler personal uses Energy Ogre to save hundreds on his electric bill. 


Posted in Community
Jan. 27, 2021

Property Tax Legislation Bills Being Proposed in 2021

Watch Chandler's disclaimer video


  • Schwertner R, et al: SB 725
    • Effective on 9/1/21
    • Relating to the qualification of land for appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes as agricultural land and the liability for the additional tax imposed on such land if the use of the land changes as a result of a condemnation.


  • Meyer R: HB 2429
    • HRO Bill Analysis
    • Effective immediately.
    • Relating to the alternate provisions for ad valorem tax rate notices when the de minimis rate of a taxing unit exceeds the voter-approval tax rate.


View More
Posted in Property Tax
Jan. 26, 2021

14 Property Tax Warts that Should be ILLEGAL

14 Property Tax Code Proposed Solutions

  1. 0:46 Exemption Improvements
    • Cap taxable value growth on homesteads to 5% maximum increase per year
    • Create a single-family residential exemption capping taxable value growth at 10% per year
  2. 6:23 Improve accessibility to free help
    • Turn "may" into "shall"
    • Sec. 6.16.  RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY OWNER ASSISTANCE. (a) The chief appraiser of an appraisal district may maintain a list of the following individuals who have designated themselves as an individual who will provide free assistance
  3. 7:44 Define permissible grounds to recall a CAD board member
    • Amend section 6.03 L to include a provision that says: Must provide "permissible grounds for a recall."
    • For reference. Commentary on the bill when it was passed in 1985. See the section on pg 2 "Opponents say". #1 concern is that no reasons are given. 
  4. 10:19 Require Tax Entities to provide accurate contact info to CAD's
    • When Tax Entities report tax data to the county website as required by the new statutes, require them to provide accurate contact information for voting members of the Tax Entity
  5. 11:54 Protect homeowners from tax deferral revocation. If a homeowner's mortgage is sold from one lender to the next, the new lender may revoke the owner's property tax deferral. Protect them with one of these options:
    • Prohibit a homeowner from getting a deferral if they have a mortgage
    • Create a "Truth in Deferral" statement clearly disclosing the danger in getting the deferral to the owner
    • Prohibit a lender from revoking a tax deferral if it was approved by the previous lender
    • Prohibit assessor from foreclosing if the owner of the property was previou7sly granted a deferral
  6. 16:27 Encourage/allow CAD's to use the common terminology
    • Terminology is used by CAD's that don't align with the common usage of the terms. A law needs to be passed to allow/encourage appraisal districts to use terminology that doesn't match the tax code for clarification purposes. Terminology in conflict: Market value, appraised value, taxable value, assessed value
  7. 19:48 Eliminate loopholes in CAD board of director voting system
    • When electing a new CAD board of directors, the largest entities must vote at their 2nd meeting after the voting window opens
  8. 22:17 Create term limits for CAD board of directors
    • Appraisal District board of directors must have a maximum term limit of      years
  9. 23:28 Make it easier for notices to be sent electronically. I will have specific suggestions soon.
  10. 25:11 Make it so that property owners and the CAD can go back the same number of years to correct an error. Currently, CAD's can correct an error over the past 5 years and owners can only correct an error over the past 2 years.
  11. 26:09 VALUE RATIO STUDY INTRODUCTION     27:17 Value Study Ratio: Window of sales
    • Currently, the window of sales that CAD's are held accountable to are from July of the previous year to July of the current year, however, they must produce their report in January of the current year. This forces them to project high. The window of sales should be adjusted to be from January of the previous year to January of the current year.
  12. 29:16 Value Study Ratio: Improve tolerance levels
    • Currently, the tolerance level that CAD's are held to is 5% +/- the market value. This tolerance level should be adjusted to be 5% over or 10% under.
  13. 31:14 Value Study Ratio: Eliminate Alternative Sales Test 
    • The "Alternative Sales Test" tolerance is currently set at 3%. This criterion should be removed.
  14. 34:32 Agricultural exemption Change from 5 to 1 year
    • Require agricultural use only for one of the preceding years instead of 5 of 7
    • Article VIII, Section 1-s-1, Texas Constitution, and Chapter 23, Subchapter D, Texas Property Tax Code

CONCLUSION 36:14 How I can afford to do this

Posted in Property Tax
Jan. 19, 2021

Secret Taxes and Shifty Ways You're Getting Gouged by the Tax Man

There are little nuances and loopholes in the law that politicians and taxing entities use to increase your taxes. 

This blog post is a compilation of different concerns people bring to me (in their own words) identifying these issues.

I cannot vouch for the validity of these comments. I just feel that this is an important conversation and these concerns need to be brought to light and affirmed then fought or debunked and dismissed.

Here you go:


Anticipation Notes are the new product for getting around the Voter-Approval Tax rate.

Contribution by JH: 

The Voter-Approval Rate is figured using this calculation: (No-New-Revenue Maintenance and Operations Rate x 1.035) + (current Debt Service Tax Rate). Increases in the Debt Service Rate are not applied towards the Voter-Approval Rate calculation.  

In light of the restrictions placed on local government entities by the recent passing of legislation, bond counsels and bond dealers have discovered a new way of using Anticipation notes to fill local government entities need to fund expanding government.  Bond counsel, like Bickerstaff’s David Mendez, are advising local government entities to forego the traditional pay-as-you-go approach to budgeting and begin using M&O funds -Anticipation notes- to pay for items that Mendez calls "routine capital items." According to him, these are things like "law enforcement vehicles," "gravel and road base material," "computers, or office equipment." This clever loophole allows local entities the ability to spend over the Voter-Approval rate and not be subject to a rollback election. Here is an article in the August 2020 Texas County Progress, titled ‘Using Anticipation Notes to Finance Capital Expenditures’ by David Mendez explaining it. https://dashboard.mazsystems.com/webreader/68481?page=20

Because the Voter-Approval rate does not take the Debt Service rate into account, entities can borrow as much money as the want each year as long as the financial market sees fit. And because Anticipation notes repayments can be back-end loaded, governing bodies can issue notes that do not hit taxpayers’ pocketbooks until years after they are passed. Or in the case of Aransas County, 5 years. How can taxpayers be expected to hold elected officials accountable for their actions when the actions took place 5 years prior, and the required notification was an agenda item on a 72-hour meeting announcement?    

The Legislature tried to help local citizens get government spending under control. Instead, I fear, what it really did was lead us more down the path of debt slavery.


MUD's PID's and MMD's

Contributed by FT:

I have some issues with all the Special Local Law districts, created legislatively with little or no accountability to residents or the Counties and Municipalities they were created within.

They are another way to hide true costs of taxes from homeowners. Some of these assessments are as high as $5000/year to an individual homeowner. Additionally administrative costs can be increased each year.  http://www.texas-statutes.com/special-district-local-laws-code

Municipal Management District  (MMD)

Can be funded by an ad valorem tax (MUD) or assessment (PID). Usually created by State Legislature or Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

They are usually administered by law firms.

At issue is assessment and notification of buyers at contract, and cost controls in future years.

Take a look at this MMD document that “shall be” attached to home purchase contracts. This is from the MMD I just got out of. It contains a decent explanation. Many don’t see it until Title/Closing, which is typically too late. If used as designed and specified buyers would be fully aware and there would be NO issue with notification. Approximately 70% of buyers don’t recall being informed.

It’s still a government COST to buyers with little to no accountability or control of increases. It’s also lien-able if not paid.

Homebuyers who sell to others MUST disclose, but builders and developers typically don’t.

That’s the primer, 30,00 foot view.

Posted in Property Tax
Jan. 12, 2021

Legislative Preview: Addressing Citizens’ Painful Property Tax Bills

Our broken property tax system affects everybody - no matter income level, political party, homeowner, tenant or landlord.

The Texas legislature isn't going to pass anything to help unless you and I let our representatives know what we care about. Everything except property tax is getting attention this year. Thank God Robert Montoya is bringing property tax issues to the forefront. He just published an interview with Chandler in this article and does a great job revealing the massive problem we're up against.


Posted in Property Tax
Aug. 28, 2020

I Can't Afford My House Payment. What are my options?


My tax bill is too high. I can’t afford the house!!!

Here is a list of options to consider...

  1. Reduce your insurance cost. Your house payment likely includes taxes, insurance, principle, and mortgage interest. If your payment has increased, there is a good chance your insurance rates have increased. Many people are significantly overpaying. We have expert insurance agents on staff that shop A-rated insurance carriers and get them to compete to provide the best quote… for free. We save some clients a ton of money. Just send us an email and we’ll be happy to get you a free quote.  
  2. Reduce your utility cost. This company is saving Chandler over $250/mo on average (and it only costs $10/mo!!!). It’s borderline magical. We wanted to offer the same service to you, so we partnered with them. Use this link to sign up, and you get the exact same service paying the exact same as you would if you went directly to them. The only difference is by using our link they agree to contribute $2 to help fund our free tax protest service for every person that signs up. Go here to see how much you can save. 
  3. Drop your PMI. Ask your lender if they are charging you mortgage insurance (or PMI). This is a cost that lenders charge if you have less than 20% equity. With house prices increasing so rapidly, there's a good chance you already have enough equity to force the lender to drop PMI even if you purchased your house last year. All you have to do is call them and ask what documentation they need. It may be much easier thank you think. 
  4. Reduce your utility consumption. Here are 50 ideas that can help reduce your electricity consumption. 
  5. Ask your mortgage company to spread out your escrow shortage over 24 months. If you have a mortgage and your monthly payment has increased in the past year or so, it is likely due to an escrow shortage because your taxes and/or insurance have gone up. Your mortgage company likely uses a 12-month payment plan by default to pay off your escrow shortage, but they usually don't tell you that you have additional options. To help lower your payment just call your mortgage company and simply ask them if you can pay out the escrow shortage over 2-3 years. Most of the time they just say yes without any issue or push back. A 10-minute phone call could drop your payment by hundreds. I’m keeping track of which companies agree to this and which ones won’t. Please let me know if your mortgage company agrees to spread out your escrow shortage or refuses. It will help me help others. Here’s what I have so far: Status on Mtg co’s
  6. Triple check to make sure your exemptions are in place. The appraisal district can actually cancel your exemptions anytime without a great reason, such as, if mail they send you is returned undeliverable. This video shows how to verify your homestead exemption is in place in Tarrant County.  If you find out you need to file, this page provides the form you need, step-by-step instructions, and a video to that answers all your questions.  Go here to get the form you'll need and a tutorial video that will answer all your questions and demonstrate how to fill out the form. 
  7. Buy a smaller house - Obvious, but it's still an option. Hard times call for hard decisions.
  8. Moving far enough away so you would be in a different tax district. Either a…
    • Different county
    • Different school district
    • Move out of your neighborhood if it has a PID (public improvement district)
  9. Move to a rural area so you avoid city tax all together
  10. Rent. Would it help if I had a list of every rent house and every apartment in the area that fits your price range?
  11. Move into a house that doesn’t have an HOA
  12. Move-in with a friend/family
  13. Buy bigger so you can rent out rooms
  14. Buy a house with a garage apartment and rent out the apartment
  15. Live in an RV (sounds crazy, but I routinely sell houses because people are doing this more and more)
  16. Consider a condo or townhouse
  17. Buy a barndominium
  18. Move into a tiny house
  19. Build a shipping container house
  20. Buy with land so you can raise animals, crops, eggs, and sell stuff to offset housing expenses.
  21. Rent out your current house and move into another home to create extra income.
  22. Biggest issue: Solve the cash-flow crunch by making extra income
    • This article & video covers at-home in-quarantine ideas
    • Sell your possessions (garage sales / online classifieds etc)
    • Eliminate debt
    • Cut down on luxury items
    • Rent out space in your garage to allow (item or vehicle) storage for other people
    • Rent out an extra bedroom on Airbnb 
    • Start an in-home business - childcare, adult care (skilled nurses/caretakers), pet care (boarding, walking), sell home-baked goods, make crafts to sell on Etsy, volunteer to host parties for MLM friends
    • Profit from your yard: Plant berries, vegetables, flowers to sell, make compost from worms
    • Provide fulfillment (boxing and shipping) services for other home-based entrepreneurs
    • Allow people to shoot movies/film at your house: https://gov.texas.gov/film/page/your_property_in_films

Have more ideas? We want to share them. Please email them to us at chandler@chandlercrouch.net

  • Options we’re trying to avoid, but are still viable options to consider
    • Stop making payments… forbearance, bankruptcy, foreclosure
Aug. 13, 2020

Tax Protest Update

We are at the final stage of this year's tax protest. Everybody's tax protest results will be available soon.

TAD's sent a little yellow postcard with a web address and it means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! It has caused unnecessary stress and concern to everybody. It was part of the SP2 bill that was passed. 

TAD was required to provide transparency into who receives the money when you pay your tax bill. That website is an attempt to give you an idea of where you're money is going to and what you can do if you want to protest the tax rate. 

I've got videos here that explain how you can go about protesting the tax rate. 

There's nothing to be concerned about. The website they made is good but they just need to work on the bugs out of it. It seems to be changing every now and then.

We will get your protest results soon and just watch your email. We should have it on your inbox in about a week.

Posted in Property Tax
June 10, 2020

Why So Many Protests in Tarrant County

Why So Many Protests in Tarrant County

The number of protests per county have increased dramatically, but why has Tarrant increased so much more than other counties? The issue is gaining attention.

Here are the numbers. This is the percentage increase per county since 2015:


"Harris County 11%

Bexar County 27%

Travis County 36%

Dallas County 50%

Tarrant County 265%!!!

Seriously? What's up with that?"

(Posted on Facebook by TAD Board Member Rich DeOtte)

Here is a link to his research


I've been trying to objectively consider this. 

Increased protests may be an indication of a good thing or bad thing. 

Regardless, I wholeheartedly agree that answering the question about the cause of increased protests is among the most important tasks that TAD can focus on, and it is of high public interest. TAD is considering an audit to reveal the cause.


Positive Perspective:

TAD has received glowing reports/audits of various kinds (eg financial, cyber security). If TAD's increased protests are an indication of uniquely good appraisal practices, they should be proud and wear their protest numbers as a badge of honor because they are doing a public service by helping owners that are being mistreated because of the flawed property tax code that TAD is forced to abide by. 


Negative Perspective:

If you believe the Tidwell Weaver audit, the increase could be evidence of a persisting significant dysfunction that cannot be ignored. 


These are the theories I've heard that people have used to explain the increase. I can easily dismiss many, however until someone seeks to find the answer, nobody will really know:


  1. Instant answer/automated protest made available by TAD
  2. More Agents protesting significantly more than other counties
  3. Chandler Crouch protesting for free
  4. More advertising/advocating promoting protesting
  5. Tarrant starting earlier contributes to more attention
  6. More properties are valued incorrectly compared to other counties 
  7. Residual effects of 2014/15 software debacle (perhaps people lost trust causing a spike)
  8. Its easier to win in Tarrant so the success of reductions attract more protesters
  9. ARB panels are friendlier
  10. TAD does a great job being more organized, accessible, and educational
  11. It's not actually higher in Tarrant, we just count them differently
  12. 2015/16 low values caused TAD to overcorrect which created a shock effect that motivated property owners (if true, watch out in 2021. ouch)
  13. Property values have increased more in Tarrant than other places

Why do you think so many more people protest in Tarrant County than anywhere else?

Posted in Property Tax