Disputing the tax appraisal was actually quite easy - and I did most of it online. It was nice to get a chunk of money back for a little bit of work. This year I got to file for homestead as well - which should help a little bit also Last year we bought in February so we couldn't file homestead exemption for last year - you have to be actually living on the property on the first of the year in my state to claim it.
I'm not at all bothered that they are leaving some in escrow - it actually makes me sleep a little better at night knowing I've got a cushion and won't necessarily have to come up with an unexpected chunk of money down the line. Because they have decreased my monthly payment to account for the change in taxes, I'm now putting the difference into savings and living like we are still making the same payment.
Very smart, putting that difference in Savings.
Out of curiousity, what is filing homestead exemption? What does that mean? Thanks!
Regarding disputing your tax appraisal: I recieved my county tax appraisal in the mail probably some time in May or April last year. On the form they mailed me it contained the information on how to dispute the appraisal. In my county I can go online to the county appraisal district's website and dispute it online. They ask a series of questions and ask for documentation to be scanned and uploaded to their system. The dispute goes before a panel and they either accept it or decline it. If they decline it you can physically go before a review board and plead your case, however, they just accepted my appraisal. I just used the appraisal that was done by the mortgage company when I bought the house at the beginning of the year.
Homestead exemption is basically a reduction in the property taxes you are paying because the property is your home. To be able to claim the exemption you have to be living in the home on the first day of the year for the year you are claiming the exemption. Again, it was very easy to claim the exemption because I could go online to the tax appraisal district for my county, print off a form and mail it in before the filing date. Our county has several different exemptions you can apply for if you qualify, such as exemptions for those who are over 65 or those who have a disability.
Here is a link to my county's tax appraisal district in Texas, it may help answer your questions in a clear fashion:
Hope that helps!
The place to start is with the lender.
Show them your tax statement.