What to Look for in a Property Tax Lender

Getting a property tax loan in Texas can be a simple process completed in just a few days–if you’re working with the right lender. Property tax loans are different than many loan products on the market. Home mortgage loans, for example, require endless requests for documents, numerous inspections and appraisals, and long wait times for closing. Property tax loans normally require none of those. The hardest part is taking the first step and choosing the right property tax lender.

Do Your Homework: Property Tax Options in Texas Vary by County

So, you’ve decided to dive in and begin the property tax loan process. Where to start? Before even calling a lender, learn what your options are within your county. It is possible that you are eligible for a deferral (most often for those over 65 or those with a disability.) Your county may also offer payment plans of their own. Each county has their own payment options and potential for property tax repayment plans. Be sure to compare your choices, but also make sure you ask a few questions. County plans may only last a year or two, which often creates monthly payments too large to realistically pay. They may also send you straight to foreclosure if you are just a few days late on one payment. The county-offered plans often do work well for those who owe less than a few thousand dollars because the monthly payments remain manageable. For those who owe more, you may find yourself cash-strapped when those large payments are due. Or worse, find yourself in the foreclosure that you were trying so hard to avoid.

One thing to consider – although it can be a difficult conversation to have, if you owe a smaller amount of money you could ask family or friends for a loan to avoid penalties and late fees.

Contact a Property Tax Lender

Once you understand your property tax bill and your county’s expectations for payment, it’s time to look for the right lender if the county options aren’t right for you. A good lender will be readily available to guide you through the loan process from start to finish. They should also be willing to discuss all your options, including repayment plans directly with the county. Be sure to ask lots of questions and be clear with the lender about what you can afford and what your goals are. A good property tax loan is designed to help keep you and your family in your home without breaking the bank.  

While the basic terms of a loan (interest rate, length of the loan) are important, it may be more important whether your lender actually has your best interests at heart. Here is a list of questions to help guide you when first talking with a property tax lender in Texas:

  • What are my options to get these taxes paid?
  • What is my monthly payment going to be?
  • How long will it take for the loan to close? 
  • What happens if I miss a payment?
  • Under what conditions would you send my account to collections? How much gets added to my account if it gets sent to collections?
  • If I need help paying my taxes again next year, are you going to increase my interest rate?
  • What percentage of your clients end up getting foreclosed on and losing their properties?
  • What is the interest rate and closing costs on my loan?
  • How long are the terms of the loan?

How to Tell if You Found the Right Texas Property Tax Lender

The answers to those questions will go a long way towards helping you select the right property tax lender. Beyond the financial bottom line for you and your family though, you should also consider some of the following criteria before being sure the lender is right for you.

  • Did they try to understand my tax and personal situation?
  • Did they seem to care about me and resolving my concerns or were they trying to get me off the phone as quickly as possible?
  • Was I speaking to someone that I am comfortable working with for the next few years?
  • Were they trying to use sales gimmicks that actually hurt me in the long run? For example, no payments for twelve months but with interest continuing to accrue
  • Were they actively helping me create a payment plan to fit my needs?
  • Are there any incentives to working with this lender? For example, not adding any extra fees or being able to skip payments
  • Will they be willing to continue helping me if I miss a payment?

At Johnson & Starr, our goal is to keep families in their homes, and sometimes that means advising you of better options than a loan with us. We also know sometimes life happens, and you may have difficulty making payments. Our property tax loans are customized to fit your unique situation and can be flexible to adapt to nearly any loan requirement. Find out how we can help save your home – give us a call today at 800-203-9157.