Creme Brulee Pork Belly Confit

The inner workings of property tax appraisals.

Property tax appraisals are soon to arrive in your mailbox. If you are like me, then you went to your counties appraisal district website and searched for the appraisal they determined on your property. Also, if you are in Travis County, Texas, then you probably choked on seeing the value of your house going up by 50-60%. Well, a few of you know that I have been a research detective on deconstructing the appraisals and also figuring out a way to reduce my Market Value appraisal so I can protest and have a judgement in my favor. I will share with you some of my methodology… but first let me help determine whether you have a chance to significantly reduce your appraisal value…

  • If you added onto your house, then you will have a more difficult situation devaluing a new addition. It’s not impossible, but the rest of your house will have to be in shambles in order to balance out the improvement value you brought to your property with new square footage.
  • If you built a new house on the property that was not the result of a natural disaster, like tornado, flood, hurricane, wild fire, then you have what they call a single family R2 or R1 class AND a condition rating of New EYOC = Not great chance to reduce your value on something in excellent and/or brand new shape – depreciation is not on your side:

R1: Dwellings with this rating are usually unique structures featuring a high level of workmanship and high- grade materials throughout the interior and exterior of the structure. The design features exceptionally high- quality refinements and ornamentation. The workmanship, materials, and finishes throughout are of exceptionally high quality.

R2: Dwellings with this rating are often custom designed for construction on property owner’s site. Dwellings in this rating can also be found in high-quality tract developments featuring residences constructed from individual plans or highly modified plans. The design features detailed, high-quality interior refinements, exterior ornamentation and detail. The workmanship, materials, and finishes throughout are typically of high quality.

New EYOC – Improvement has been razed to the foundation and rebuilt, it is effectively a new house, or the changes to the improvement meet the “scoring” requirement in the Residential Procedure Manual. Set EYOC to current year and leave AYOC to year of original imp construction.

  • If you have previously protested your taxes successfully with an adjustment in your appraisal value last year, then you do have a very good chance to keep your adjustment in place this year, if the appraisal district CANNOTsatisfy the requirement to reasonably support by clear and convincing evidence an increase in the appraised value of the property in the next tax year in which the property is appraised by presenting evidence showing that the inequality in the appraisal of property has been corrected with regard to the properties that were considered in determining the value of the subject property.‘ Sec. 23.01(e) of Texas Tax Code. The key here is inequality that was present last year and it being corrected. It is unclear if the appraiser presenting market value data as a correction is enough, but I protested last year, got my tax appraisal reduced by 40k, ~60% of what was the original appraisal, and it was due to incorrect quality grading of my house and the lack of an appraiser physically visiting my property.

These are just a few things to consider when protesting your taxes and going full force into reducing your taxes. Stay tuned for more information on how to best reduce your property appraisal.

EROCT and the Texas Blackout

Here is a view of some data I will be commenting on.

Insanely Good Creamy Dairy Free Tuscan Garlic Salmon

I’ve been on a kick lately in cooking with less Dairy. This has been the most challenging when you want to have a dish that melts your goosebumps with a creamy sauce. What are the options… Coconut Milk and Homemade Vegan Parmesan are your answers.

Family Roadtrip – Utah 2018

The girls and I are meeting up with the Marquez and Shukla Families in Utah this summer.  We rented two houses for 7 days of Utah Fun.  We will start our road trip 5 days before we meet.  Here is our planned trip.  Watch our updates!


Fluffy Paelo Pancakes that are Actually Fluffy.

I’ve analyzed a few recipes and have hobbled together this new recipe.  Normally, paelo or gluten free pancakes are dense and not airy.  Look no further, fluffy pancakes are here to stay.

Homemade Smoked Cured Bacon

Our family goes through bacon like it’s bread.  We eat bacon almost everyday.  I’d say we go through 2-3 lbs of bacon a week.  This can add up and for the longest time I wanted to make my own.  So, I scoured through the internet, looking at some really good sites and using science and reviewing recipes, I came up with my own successful recipe.

Before curing

After curing

Now where does one grab a slab of pork belly?  Costco started selling 10lb slabs for a good price of $2.99/lb.  This means what normally is $7.99/lb of bacon at the store, can be a big savings in the pocketbook.


Good Beer Bad Beer: The Art of Describing Flavors

Vinous, isovaleric, tarry, geraniol, and mercaptan are just some of the flavors of beer that can either make or break a home brewer’s spirit. Sitting amongst my fellow peers, judging beer, we were surrounded by small glasses of eager brews waiting to be swooshed, swirled, chewed, and spit into a saliva laden coffin. I was young in the beer judging scene. (more…)

Fiber – Where It’s At In Austin

On a most recent hunt for connectivity options in our Gravitant Office, I have amassed a list of telco providers that offer fiber in Austin.  Hopefully this information would be of use for other folks in the Austin Area.

Alpheus – Fiber Schematic MapBuilding List
Zayo – Google Maps Address Search
Level3 – Map Interface
Fiberlite – PDF Map
FPL FiberNet – Map Interface
TWTelcom – PDF Map

Looking for Austin City Pool?

The Summer heat in Austin is kicking in.  Time to spend those weekends at the pool!  I’ve compiled a list and map of Austin City Pools using FusionTables from Google.

And just in case you missed my post about all the Austin Restaurants with Playscapes.