The county’s appraisal district is reassessing homes and businesses damaged during Hurricane Harvey before sending out April notices of property valuations, officials said.
Appraisers for the Galveston Central Appraisal District have so far visited about 4,500 homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey, Chief Appraiser Tommy Watson said. The district also been using mapping and data provided by cities to predict how much damage a property might have from the storm to adjust its appraisal, he said.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas Coast on Aug. 25, causing days of heavy rain and flooding across the region, which damaged an estimated 21,000 homes and businesses, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
After the storm, some elected officials rallied for reappraisals before the start of the new year when appraisals would typically be completed.
But hard-hit cities and the county commissioners court declined to take up disaster reappraisals in the fall, arguing it would be too expensive and wouldn’t make sense when the district planned to reappraise properties in the new year.
Watson had quoted reappraisals before the end of the year at about $22 per property. Reappraisals this year will not cost local governments additional money, Watson said.
The decision to wait to appraise the homes became a hot issue in already contentious county primaries.
Appraisers are reassessing demolished properties at about 25 percent of their previous value, Watson said. The land value does not change in most areas, Watson said.
The district also was looking at sales prices, Watson said. Many property owners listed their homes “as is” out of necessity or to avoid dealing with insurance or expenses and the stress of rebuilding, he said.
“We have a lot of houses going ‘as is’ and those are about a 40 percent reduction,” Watson said.
The district has used maps of and visits to neighborhoods as tools to decide what kind of damage people likely had at their properties, Watson said. If a house had water in the yard up to the door but not inside, the valuation will not be reduced, Watson said.
The appraisal district would reassess properties that had been damaged, but residents who had started rebuilding would get credit for the prior damage, Watson said.
“If they’ve rebuilt and got it all fixed up, we’re still going to give them credit,” Watson said.
As of Thursday, the district had received about 1,000 damage reports from residents, Watson said. The district established an email address to take in damage reports, which Watson recommended residents with Harvey damage do.
The district expected to have new appraisals done in early April, he said.