Clint Morse introduces our guest Mark Bettencourt.
Mark received a Masters of Business Administration in Finance and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting & Economics from Texas A&M University. He is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant and Real Estate Broker in the State of Texas. In his spare time Mark is actively involved in community service having chaired or been on the board of many prominent organizations including The Gladney Fund The Gladney Center for Adoption The Gladney Cup the Texas A&M University, Lowry Mays College & Graduate School of Business and Chapelwood United Methodist Church, Boy Scout Troop 641, one the largest troops in the nation and Holy Spirit Episcopal School.
 Mr. Bettencourt spent his career in the financial and real estate industries initially as a vice president with Texas Commerce Bancshares, then vice president of a national real estate investment services and consulting firm. With the wealth of experience and knowledge gained through his employment in the banking and real estate investment industries, Mark opened his own firm, Bettencourt & Associates, providing real estate investment and consulting services to private, corporate, and institutional concerns. His career has allowed Mark to get involved in many aspects of the commercial real estate business, including new business development, property evaluations, investment analysis, market analysis, marketing and contract negotiations for the acquisition, sale, and financing of office, retail, industrial, multi-family residential, and other commercial property projects. In addition he was involved in asset management of commercial real estate portfolios negotiation of loan restructurings (individually and as a team leader handling portfolios up to and in excess of $500 million) property due diligence the preparation of investment offerings and the project management and resolution of complex real estate litigation involving environmental issues.
 Mark talked about how to go about protesting property tax increase's. In Texas there are 254 counties and 253 appraisal districts.
The appraisal district will access your property on Jan 1. Then let you know around June and your may have 6 months to come forth with info disputing their assessment. He recommends that you should protest your taxes every year. This will give your 
valuable insight on how to get all your info that you need. 
 Its a three step process.
1.  Go see them and discuss the reason you think your property tax does not need to increase. You will need 
to get info on similar properties. The more info you can bring to the table the better your chances are. In this phase your can negotiate and they may work with you. It was noted that if you agree to what was stated then you have no recourse and cannot appeal.
2. Formal Hearing. You will present your info to a 3 person panel from the appraisal district. Again the more info you can bring to show what is selling in your area like yours. Marketing info works well. If they do not think you have presented info that proves your case then they can tell you your property taxes will increase. At this time you may appeal.
3. Judicial or Arbitration. Again the more information you provide the better your chances are. After this your either get your taxes lowered or not. 
Several members ask questions. It was noted by Janelle Peralt that even if your not paying taxes on your property, you may sell it one day and the buyer sees the taxes way out of whack and go look at different property.
I have a story about this. My Brother in law and Sister own a place in south Texas. Some business was built near their property. This business gathered things like raw fertilizer and let it dry. So it was spread over the property. Well the flies came to their house and for a couple of years they put up with it. When appraisal district went up on the assessment, My brother-in-law took one of those fly traps loaded with flies and walked in the office and put on his desk. He had all the proof he needed to not get his taxes raised.