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Port Aransas land owners frustrated over appraised value increases

Residents in Port Aransas looking for answers to why their property appraisal values are so high
Posted at 6:56 PM, Apr 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-18 08:37:36-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Property owners are shocked as they head to the mailbox and find their notice of appraisal value.

With the massive increase to valuations across the nation, Texas is one of the top ten states that has the highest jump of property values and taxes.

The first thing many property owners think of when they see their 2023 valuations is, "This can't be right." When you receive your appraisal, the first thing you want to do is check it for accuracy, make sure your local appraisal district has documented all of the correct information, including number of bathrooms, bedrooms, square footage, etc.

KRIS 6 News has been following coverage on the increase of appraised values for homeowner and business owners across the Coastal Bend.

For many people in Port Aransas, they saw the shock earlier this month when they received their appraisal values. Some of them use Port Aransas as a beachfront location for their secondary home during retirement.

Other people like Dan Labruzzo, are long term residents. He and his wife have lived in Port Aransas for 18 years. When they moved to the area, they built their own home, purchasing the lot that it sits on for only $50,000.

"Our home is now appraised at $627,000 and they almost tripled our land valuation," Labruzzo said. "Our neighbor, who is just four homes down from us on the same street and the value of his lot is doubled the value of my lot. It makes no sense that they would raise the value of our lot almost three times in one year."

Labruzzo is also a real estate broker. He said he researched previous sales in the area to other homes on the same street he lives on. He said two of them sold for $327,000 or less. He believes nothing in his neighborhood has even sold for the amount his appraised value is documented as.

But Labruzzo is not the only Port Aransas resident that is seeing this issue.

Rachelle McCan saw her appraised value increased more than 200% for the land where her home sits, despite having lived in the home for only six years. She moved to the area to be closer to her family as she is building a family of her own with her husband.

McCan said she's had issues with her including flooding issues to the lower-level structure. Her appraisal valuation was estimated at more than $1.1 million. McCan argues that her home is not worth anywhere near $1 million.

I think it's a grab for money," McCan said. "I don't think they should be doing with the average person that's just trying to create a good life. Especially for a young families like mine or even people who have lived here their entire lives and they're retiring."

Some people say it's becoming hard for them to afford their already existing financial responsibilities with their homes. Now, they feel their tackled with the worry of affording their new valuations, which could send their property taxes through the roof in the future.

Due to the rise in prices, at least 42% of people living in the area have thought of moving out.

Lorenza Sandusky is from San Antonio and has a secondary home in Port Aransas. She inherited it from family and said she's afraid that she's not going to be able to keep up with the increases. Not only for herself, but for her grandchildren, who she planned to give the home to when they're older.

"My lot value went from $60,000 to $160,000," Sandusky said. "This is supposed to be my home away from home. I've dreamed of this home for years and it's getting harder and harder, especially for us with retirement income. This could not only impact people me, but the local businesses and other people with properties."

Residents across Port Aransas have signed a petition against the high increase of property valuations in Nueces County. Many of them say they're going to appeal their appraisals in hopes to see a large drop in their valuations.

If you are looking to appeal your property value, just go to your local tax appraisal district. Before you go, experts advise to be sure to gather evidence, including photographs. It takes two years retroactively to get that homestead approved so if you forgot last year, you’re not out of it. You can go back, you can apply now, and you can have your homestead exemption for the last two years if you need."

Click the link for more information on Texas property taxes and exemptions.

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