By Bailey Buckingham
Hays County appraisals were sent to residents earlier this month and one resident is using his knowledge to help others file their protests before the July 6 deadline.
Bill Loeb, who was previously an Austin resident, has moved himself and his real estate company to Dripping Springs.
Aside from being a realtor, Loeb’s second “job” is helping residents protest their property appraisals. Loeb said he refuses to take a profit from it, as the job is his way of giving back to his community.
Loeb said he’s been helping others file appeals for at least seven years, previously helping Travis County residents and now assisting residents in both Hays and Travis counties.
“I hate what the counties are doing, jacking up the assessments in order to get money,” Loeb said.
Loeb said he began helping people years ago when he realized there was a common frustration regarding people’s property assessments.
“Most people don’t know how to do it (file a protest), what information to bring and they think it’s going to be harder than it is,” Loeb said. “They also feel the deck is against them, and it is, but that’s why I want to help.”
Many of Loeb’s “clients” come from word of mouth, and Facebook groups.
Hays County resident Joe Roldan has never met Loeb in person, but connected via Facebook this year to help with his appraisal protest process.
“Bill is a very nice person who likes to help people solve problems,” Roldan said. “The process of disputing appraisal values is best approached with a structured approach, like Bill showed me, and by researching the appraisal process and gaining a thorough understanding of how it works.”
Roldan said Loeb gave him the structure and basis of an argument to get his inflated property value assessment lowered. Roldan is currently in the midst of the protest process and does not know yet if he will be successful.
“I’ve probably talked to all of them,” Loeb said. “My phone rings all day everyday during this time frame, but I love it and I love helping people.”
Through Facebook, Loeb has been able to get in contact with many residents in need of assistance.
After several people ask for help, Loeb sets up a time and a place to hold seminars. Flores Restaurant in Dripping Springs is one of the locations he holds his seminars at, and sometimes there are 20 to 30 people in attendance.
Loeb helps with educating residents on the entire process. It helps them along the way with researching tools and arguments to bring to the table.
One thing Loeb recommends for residents considering an appeal is to get the assessments of surrounding neighbors.
Valle said once the protest is filed the property owner will receive a scheduled appointment letter with a staff appraisers name, phone number and email address so the property owner can contact them.
The deadline is July 6, but there is a way to get an extension for filing a protest.
“If property owners would still like to file an appeal after the deadline, they may submit late protests to the Appraisal Review Board before July 20 with good cause,” Valle said. “The ARB will decide where there is good cause.”
David Valle, Hays County chief appraiser, said there have been 3,168 protests filed as of June 16.
Valle said being granted an amended appraisal depends on the evidence the property owner submits or presents to the staff appraiser or ARB. He said the timeline for the entire process depends on the number of protests in the county and scheduling.
Loeb said he is open and willing to help any resident who reaches out to him.
“Anyone who is willing to fight the tax dragon, I’m more than happy to help,” Loeb said.