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Sinton man calls out appraisal district on 'For Sale' sign

Clarence Janota said the San Patricio Appraisal District appraises homes at a value much higher than they're worth.
Sinton 'For Sale' sign
Posted at 8:10 PM, Jul 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-18 21:10:55-04

CORPUS CHRISTI — A Sinton man has received lots of attention after he posted a sign in front of a house listing it $100,000 cheaper than it was appraised for.

Clarence Janota, 88, said he's trying to sell a property on the 500 block of Hugh Street for a fair price so it doesn’t continue to drain his bank account.

Janota said he bought a property in 1980 for just $8,000.

He said it’s a far cry from what the San Patricio County Appraisal District said it’s worth in 2023.

“Property value on the land is outrageous,” Janota said. “It used to be $5,000. Now it’s $33,000.”

Clarence Janota said the San Patricio Appraisal District appraises homes at a value much more than they're worth.

The San Patricio Appraisal District appraised the Hugh property, which has two of Janota’s rentals on it, at $211,000.

Janota posted a sign on the front of one of the houses on Hugh, which reads:





The sign also listed his number and his wife’s.
“I can’t afford $5,000 in property tax,” Janota said. “That’s out of this world.”

Robert Cenci, the San Patricio Chief Appraisal Officer, said homeowners have the right to question their appraisal and protest it.

Cenci said 90 percent of protests are settled informally before a hearing in front of the appraisal board.

“We look at other homes in the neighborhood that are similar to the protestor’s home and we look at how we raised those other houses,” Cenci said. “Even though we have the aerials, we don’t rely solely on that. So, they’re still going out in the field and doing their personal inspections.”

Janota said he’s asked an appraiser to come out to his home but was told no and he never saw anyone from the appraisal district check in person.

He said he was told that appraisers take the mean of houses in the neighborhood.

“Some sell for $150,000,” Janota said. “Some sell for $125,000. Mean is in the middle and that’s what you’re going at. That’s not fair.”

Cenci said that’s not necessarily the case.

“(We) take a reasonable number of properties that are similar and comparable, and we’ll calculate the median and the median figure would become the value of the protestor’s property,” Cenci said.”

“If you’ve got serious damage on your foundation or structure or what have you, we do recognize that and make adjustments for that,” Cenci said. “If they have some extraordinary issues, damage, deferred maintenance (or) repair estimates from legitimate contractors.”

Janota said he’s protested his appraisal three times and they lowered the value, but not to the number he believes it’s worth.

He said his insurance company did find damage and necessary repairs.

“They came by the property and said, ‘Oh this house isn’t worth 100,000 dollars. We’re cancelling ya,” Janota said.

Cenci said the other option is arbitration or going to the state which would cost a fee.

Janota said he wouldn’t do it.

“It’s a losing battle,” Janota said. “They say it’s this. I say it’s that.”

Cenci said homeowners can sue but the costs would likely be more expensive than the difference in home value.

He said he welcomes homeowners to come to his office if they have any questions or issues with their appraisal.

The San Patricio County Appraisal District is located at 1301 East Sinton Street Unit B.

For more information visit their website or call their number at 361-364-5402.

“You get people that are just not going to be satisfied no matter what and so that’s why they have the choice of going to arbitration or even a lawsuit if they wanted to,” Cenci said.

Janota said he’d only received one phone call since the sign went up in May.

The caller wanted owner financing but Janota said he had to decline because he’s looking for a quick sale.