Property Appraisal Startup Ownwell Moves HQ to Austin
Ownwell, a startup that helps property owners contest their appraisal values, has recently relocated its headquarters from Santa Monica to Austin.
The company — which will still maintain an office in Santa Monica — currently has 14 employees in Texas, six of whom work out of the Austin office. Ownwell told Built In it plans to hire an additional 10 to 15 employees over the next year.
The news comes as Austin-area homeowners are starting to receive their appraisal value notices in the mail. Most property owners can expect sticker shock, as residential property valuations increased 56 percent and commercial properties increased 54 percent year over year, according to the Travis Central Appraisal District.
Ownwell, previously known as realAppeal, analyzes millions of properties with AI and machine learning to identify which property owners are overpaying on their property taxes. With the help of technology and tax professionals, the company then helps property owners protest their valuations.
The company does not charge an upfront fee. Instead, it takes a 25 percent cut of any savings realized by the taxpayer. The company does not charge customers unless it saves them money on their property taxes.
Nine out of ten people who chose to protest their appraisal values were successful, according to Ownwell. Residential property taxpayers saw their bills reduced by an average of 12 percent, saving an average of $1,457. Commercial clients saved 16.8 percent on average.
“We are on a mission to make the costs of real estate ownership more clear and equitable,” Ownwell CEO Colton Pace said in a statement. “We believe that regardless of expertise or financial status, everyone should have access to the information, tools and resources to manage their property taxes like a professional.”
The company, which launched two years ago, told Built In its customer base has grown 4,000 percent in the past nine months. Ownwell’s employee headcount has increased by more than 700 percent during that time, too.
Ownwell said most of its customers are homeowners and real estate investors, but it has also seen dramatic growth among commercial clients, including those who own and manage multifamily residential properties.
“We’ve grown from just a dozen commercial accounts in early 2021 to more than 50 times that heading into Q2 [of] 2022, and now represent billions of dollars in commercial real estate,” Frank DiZenzo, chief revenue officer of Ownwell, said in a statement.