Q: Will the fact that homes are being sold off the MLS have an affect on the availability of sales data, and therefore my tax appraisal?
A: This is a great question. It is a common misconception that the Travis County Tax Appraisal District has access to sales data through the Multiple Listing Service, and that is the information they utilize to determine our property values. This, in fact, is not the case – at least the part about them having unrestricted access to MLS data.
Texas is a non-disclosure state, meaning that home sales prices are not publicly recorded and therefore, accessible. This includes the Tax Appraisal District. So, unless folks in their office have their Real Estate license, and therefore the ability to access the MLS, sales prices are not readily available to them. One of the ways they obtain their data is from homeowners who are protesting their property taxes and have been able to access sales data from a friendly Realtor. All of the evidence that is presented to the Appraisal District is then added to their records seeming as though they have unrestricted access to these numbers.
So, back to the original question, the fact that homes are being sold off-MLS shouldn’t have a direct effect on appraised values if they don’t technically have access to this information anyway but we can present the evidence (particularly if it helps our case). When protesting our taxes, we can present HUD Settlement Statements for sales that haven’t taken place through the MLS – this is actually a really common method for protesting in new home communities, like Mueller. A majority of the sales through the builders never made it on to the MLS in the first place. Similarly, off-MLS resale HUDs are also valid to use when protesting taxes – you just might have to do a little more digging to get this information!