Maximizing the benefits of affordable homeownership with a homestead exemption

Blinds or shades? Will I cut the grass myself or pay someone else to do it? Which electricity provider has the best rate? There are so many things to take care of as a new homeowner that it is easy for things to slip through the cracks. Here is a friendly reminder to put signing up for a homestead exemption on your to-do list so you do not miss out on reducing your property tax burden. Unfortunately, property taxes are a necessary part of homeownership; they fund local governmental services like the police, garbage collection, and street maintenance.

What are the benefits of a homestead exemption?

A homestead exemption removes a specified percentage of your home’s value from taxation, thus reducing the amount of property taxes owed. For example, if your home is worth $250,000 and you qualify for a 20% residential homestead exemption, you pay taxes on your home as if it was worth only $200,000. There are also exemptions for veterans and residents over 65 or disabled.

The City of Houston, Harris County, Harris County Hospital District, Harris County Flood Control District, Harris County Department of Education, the Port of Houston, Houston Independent School District, and Houston Community College all offer exemptions. Combined, they result in significant tax savings for homeowners.

An added benefit of a residential homestead exemption is the homestead cap, which limits increases in the appraised value of your home to 10%, resulting in substantial tax savings if homes in your area are appreciating faster than 10%.

Property tax relief recently passed by the state legislature will provide even more savings.

Who is eligible?
To qualify, an individual must verify they own and occupy the property as their primary residence and be able to provide a valid Texas driver’s license or ID card displaying the same address as the residence.

How do I apply?

There are three options for applying for your homestead exemption.

  1. Use the Harris County Appraisal District mobile app.
  2. Submit an online application and a scanned copy of the front and back of your driver’s license here.
  3. Print and fill out the form available here. Then mail or drop the form and a copy of the front and back of your driver’s license to the Harris County Appraisal Office, 13013 Northwest Freeway.

By taking this crucial step, buyers can maximize the available financial benefits and secure a stronger future for themselves and their families.

Find out more about local homestead exemptions from the Harris County Appraisal DistrictMeet our builders and read more about the Midtown Redevelopment Authority/Center for Civic and Public Policy Improvement affordable housing program here.