San Antonio/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on April 24, 2024
San Antonio Council Ups Home Tax Exemption to Max, Historic Owners Reap Rehab RewardsSource: Google Street View

In a move to ease the tax burden on homeowners in San Antonio, the City Council has voted to crank up the city’s property tax exemption to the Texas legal max. Following a unanimous vote this past Thursday, homeowners will now see a spike from 10 to 20 percent in the portion of their home's value that’s off the hook for taxation. For a property worth a cool $200,000, that puts an extra $109 back in the owner's pocket, contributing to a savings of $216, as reported by Express News.

With a hefty $134.1 million expected to lift the civic tax load in 2024 — a beefy increase from almost $95 million in 2023 — homeowners might breathe a little easier. But, the savings won't just land in laps; residents need to clamor for these exemptions, echoing the sentiments of District 3 Councilwoman Phyllis Viagran, who, in urging other tax entities to follow suit, stoked a fire for action, “[the city is] doing what we can,” she suggests, “Now it's time to demand that they follow,” according to a council meeting covered by Express News.

Meanwhile, historic property owners in San Antonio are not just sitting on potential gold mines but are actually cashing in on a city program that netted tax breaks for major home repairs. One house on Claudia Street, once a wreck and now a million-dollar treasure, is a sterling example of the rewards up for grabs through this program. Thanks to the substantial rehab tax incentive program birthed by the city in 2002, homeowners who play ball can lock their city property taxes at pre-refurbishment value, according to San Antonio Report.

The beauty — and perhaps the catch — of this treasure hunt lies in the process. Real estate investor Elaine Lutton, who has flipped the script on 50 historic homes in two decades, touted the process, albeit a "little time-consuming", yet unarguably worthwhile. And for homeowners looking to take a stab at the program, repairs must be significant, hitting at least 30% of the assessed value. After muscling through renovations, homeowners like Hoda Cummings enjoyed a tax holiday, no city taxes due for the first five years post-inspection and approval. The cherry on top? Tax brakes are eligible to stay with the property even after a sale, tossing in a sparkly selling point for savvy investors. Cummings, who took a fixer-upper by the horns alongside her husband, Scott, claimed, “It's really a nice way to help reward a property owner for making that investment and being a good steward of our historic properties,” as she told the San Antonio Report.