McKINNEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The clock is ticking for homeowners who plan to protest their property appraisals. A lower valuation equals lower taxes, so tens of thousands of property owners are lining up hoping to save some money.

CBS 11 found a steady stream of people coming to the Collin County Appraisal District for informal or formal protests.

Collin County Appraisal District (credit: CBS 11)

But real estate agent Sean Nance says you may be able to shave thousands off that number without walking through the door.

“Call them and just ask for comps,” said Nance. “People have been telling me, ‘hey, I called and they reduced my appraisal just from the phone call’.”

He says when his clients ask the appraisal district for the comparables used in their cases, the district decreases their valuation about half the time, no protest necessary. It makes him question the process in the first place. “The face that 50% of them, they admit are wrong immediately? It just says that it’s a completely flawed system.”

Chief appraiser Bo Daffin admits the first number isn’t always right. “It’s not an absolute science; it’s an opinion of value based on supportable evidence.” That’s why he says every time a homeowner calls for comps, someone takes a second look. “I’ve always asked that my appraiser review the comps and determine if there should be a change at that point.”

By his estimate, about one-third of the people who have only requested comps received a lower valuation. “From the time we mail notices a lot of the data is going to come in that may be supporting data or additional information,” said Daffin.

The only way to find out is to pick up the phone. It’s a numbers game Nance says no one should have to play. “It should match up in the first place. There should be no reason to make this phone call.”

The deadline to file for a protest is May 15.

Property owners can call the Collin County Appraisal District and ask for comps, but with the deadline approaching, Daffin suggests filing for a protest as a protective measure.

So far less than 10% of Collin County homeowners have taken steps to lower their valuations.