The county tax record does not classify properties as Rural, Suburban or Urban. This designation is left up to the appraiser’s judgment. The issue is complicated by the fact that Fannie Mae has no definitions for these three words. Thus, this is one of the most debated topics in appraisal classes.
For example, a home on 10 acres can be located in an unincorporated part of Collin County north of Frisco but south of 380 and have a Frisco mailing address, located in the Prosper ISD, have a septic sewer and the owners work in McKinney. The arguments can be made for both Rural and Suburban based on location, proximity to major employment, view, and surrounding land use, septic vs. public sewer, distance to nearest Dairy Queen, etc.
However, I do not know any appraisers that would not label a property inside the Frisco, Prosper or McKinney city limits as anything other than Suburban. Also, land size alone does not automatically determine a designation.
Rural is probably the designation that I have used least often. I usually designate a property Rural when on the fringes of the outlying counties, on unincorporated land with vacant (agriculture) being the predominant surrounding land use. It’s usually obvious and rarely contested.
Urban is usually saved for the large metropolitan areas. But even in Dallas my guideline is that inside Loop 12 is Urban, and outside is Suburban. Addison Circle is a nice area but isn't exactly like West Village and Knox-Henderson.
I hear this sometimes:
If you walk out to get the morning paper naked and nobody complains, that’s Urban; if a neighbor complains, that’s Suburban; if nobody can see you, that’s Rural.
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