Jordana Sarrell, Esq., LL.M.
HOMESTEAD APPS DUE 2/1/2021
Did You Know? When you make property your permanent residence, you may be eligible to receive an exemption that keeps you from paying tax on a certain portion of your property’s assessed value. If your home is worth at least $75,000, the exemption would decrease the property’s taxable value by $50,000!
The homestead exemption qualifies the home for the Save Our Homes assessment limitation. This “cap” limits any increase to the assessed value of a homestead exempt property to a maximum of 3% or the annual change in the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less, per year. If eligible, this assessment limitation is now transferable to a new homestead in Florida if you move.
When to Apply? The deadline for filing is March 1. In order toqualify for the homestead exemption, you must be living in the property as your primary residence as of January 1 of 2021.
Below is a list of what is generally required, however, check with the property appraiser’s office before the file:
• Proof of Residence
• Property Tax Bill – if you have received one
• Florida Driver’s License or Florida Photo Identification Card
• Copy of Florida Vehicle Registration
• Social Security Number Not a U.S. Citizen? Bring your Resident Alien Card (Green Card) and your Social Security Number.
Do not forget to gather all the appropriate documents and information you need to file whether you do it in person at the tax collector's office or online - for Palm Beach County you can click this link:
*Tip Always check with the county property appraiser’s office to confirm the necessary documentation required to file.
Don't forget that if you sold your old homestead and purchased a new one you may be eligible for Portability!Portability allows Florida residents with a previous Homestead Exemption to transfer part of their tax savings to their new residential property in Florida so long as the sale and purchase fall within a two-year window. The “Save Our Homes” (SOH) amendment to the Florida Constitution, codified at Sec. 193.155, F.S. includes a provision added in 2008 allowing homestead owners to transfer the accumulated difference between assessed value and the just or market value to a new homestead. If just value of the new homestead is more than the previous home's just value, entire benefit can be transferred, subject to a $500,000 limit. If just value of the new homestead is less than the previous home's just value, a percentage of the accumulated SOH benefit can be transferred (up to $500,000 limit)
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First let us start with the basics - what is a boundary survey?
A boundary survey is, in the most basic of terms, a drawing, map of the property showing precisely where the house lies within the boundary lines, the patio and/or additions as well as the locations easements and/or encroachments, if any. The survey will confirm the legal description of the property, disclose any encroachments, easements or rights of way (drainage easements, sewer easements, etc) and pinpoint locations of fences, driveways, and other relevant information pertaining to the property being purchased. A common type of encroachment is a utility easement running through a driveway or rear of the property given to the local utility agency for maintenance of water lines, sewer lines, cable, etc. The survey also confirms legal access (ingress/egress) to the property.
Lenders, in literal terms, do not require a survey. Yes, that is true. Lenders do however, require that the title agent issuing the lender's title policy delete the survey exception which is a standard exception on all title policies and provide a Florida Form 9 / ALTA 9 endorsement to the lender's title policy issued at the closing of the loan.
Lenders are in need of more comprehensive title insurance coverage and require affirmative coverage over any matters shown on the survey that could interfere with their secured interest (the property). Such matters are protected by the issuance of the ALTA 9 endorsement. Examples of which include coverage for loss due to incorrectness of assurance that certain matters do not exist (violations of zoning laws), violations of platted setback lines, encroachments, encroachments of improvements onto easements, etc. In simple terms, should an encroachment or setback pose issue and compromise the integrity of the lender's interest in the secured property, the endorsement will allow for the lender to make a title insurance claim to protect their interest. Without the endorsement, the lender is subject to loss of part or some of their secured collateral (the property) due to an encroachment or setback violation, etc.
Even in cash transactions, a survey should always be purchased by the buyer because it provides assurances to the buyer for a variety of matters. It allows the buyer to determine if there are any title matters disclosed on a survey that render the title unmarketable, confirms that boundary lines and legal descriptions, and provides notice of any encroachments onto the property by way of easements or other rights of way that will interfere with your property lines. For example an easement in the rear of your property for a utility company that is 5 feet into your property line will prevent you from putting up a fence at the edge of your property line and require the fence be 6 feet from the property line. It helps you discover that the fence line is not the true property line.
Below is an example of a survey which shows a 6 foot easement along the western boundary line; 10 foot utility easement running through the driveway and the fence not actually within the boundary lines of the property (in the rear).